Arts + Entertainment

insideKENT’s Exclusive Interview with Ruth Madoc, Star of The Wedding Singer at The Orchard Theatre

You’ll enjoy The Wedding Singer, it’s wonderful. 

So says the incomparable Ruth Madoc who stars in this exciting musical that is coming to The Orchard Theatre in Dartford on 21st March. And, after speaking with her about it, and about her life, I have no doubt that what she says is completely right – it will be wonderful.

Pic 1 Darren Bell

credit: Darren Bell

The Wedding Singer is a film that many people love. Is the show very different to the film or does it stay true to the story? 

There’s more backstory in the show about the characters. For instance, my character is a friend that Robbie, the wedding singer, gives singing lessons to. In the show she is his grandmother, Grandma Rosie, and the backstory is that his parents died when Robbie was young, so the grandmother has looked after him and been a surrogate mother. She isn’t half as gaga as the one in the film!

Really, the whole thing is just a love story.

And that’s the best kind of story, isn’t it? 

Oh, it’s fabulous!

What is the music like in the show? 

The music that these guys in America have done is phenomenal! At the end of act one there’s this wonderful ensemble number called Saturday Night In The City and you think well, what’s going to top that? And that’s just the end of act one! The beginning of act two gets even better! It is quite amazing.

The trailer’s great, but it’s just a snippet of what’s there. It’s fab.

I take my hat off to these young people… the ensemble is just amazing. The choreography is terrific. It’s done by Nick Winston who’s done an awful lot of stuff, and he directed it as well.

The audience are literally on their feet at the curtain call.

It sounds like the perfect kind of uplifting show. 

It is. The story is so simple, and so easily told that cynicism goes out of the window as soon as you set foot in the theatre that night. It’s just a joyous thing. And I’m so thrilled because we’ve had so many shows out, but not one that’s as joyous as this.

Pic 3 Darren Bell

credit: Darren Bell

I’m just thrilled to be in it. You know, I’m in my mid 70s and you just don’t think theres a part for you in a full blown musical which is very high energy from the very beginning. You think that’s not for me at my age! But honestly, I’m really enjoying it!

So the story is great, the songs are fantastic… what is the cast like? 

I have to say the cast is fab. The man playing the wedding singer, Jon Robyns, is just wonderful in it. Very good actor, very good singer, very good dancer, he’s got the lot!   

Obviously everyone is going to fall in love with Grandma Rosie! 

She is lovely, she’s really camp, she’s really fun to play. And all the youngsters (because I am old enough to be their grandmother!) are fabulous with me. They really look after me and always asking if I’m all right. And when I bounce around they say, ‘Dear God, how old did you say you were?’.

So the show’s keeping you on your toes? 

It’s really good fun, I’m delighted to be associated with it, delighted to have been asked to do the part.

And it goes on until October!

That’s a long tour! And it’s going well? 

Oh, yes. I do have to say the people who have been into see it have come to the stage door and said it should be in the West End. The production value is amazing.

That’s the lovely thing about local theatres and nationwide tours. You can get those big value productions but it’s bringing theatre to those who might not otherwise get to see it. 

Absolutely. Or afford it, let’s face it! This is what it’s all about. When I first started, would you believe only 12 years after the Second World War, it was so depleted. The production values weren’t that good – no one had any money to spend on things that make a show today. Technology in the theatre has literally turned on its head and it is superb. The things you can do on a stage these days are wonderful!

I started off in stage management at that very early age, at 15. And I loved it. In fact, I really didn’t want to take the scholarship that I’d won to RADA, I wanted to stay where I was. I’d have been quite happy to be a stage manager sweeping the stage, you know!

There is certainly something about the backstage area that is special. 

There is nothing like it, especially in theatre. It’s very special. I’ve been in it since I was very young. And I brought my two children up backstage. I’ve got one of 50 now and one of 42. Both of them were in carrycots in my dressing room – this was long before health and safety!

My daughter ran the Lyceum in London. My son is an executive director of an international accountancy firm out of St Katherine’s Dock, and they say it was their background in the theatre that made them so good at their jobs. It’s all formed at such an early age.

It’s a great, great education when it comes to learning discipline. Not necessarily by watching me, but by watching other people!

I’ve got high hopes that one of my five grandchildren might want to work in the theatre too!

Are you looking forward to coming to Dartford? 

I am, I love The Orchard. It’s a beautiful theatre. The last time I was there it was going to be refurbished and there were sheets all over the place, so I’m really looking forward to seeing it all done up now. The community deserves it. The council certainly stepped up there.

And there’s a knock on effect to the community – they will take pride in the theatre.

Pic 2 Darren Bell

credit: Darren Bell

And there are workshops that take place there too, so we’ve got a whole new generation learning about the theatre. 

That’s wonderful. Going back to the Wedding Singer, it’s great to think that the young people I’m on stage with will be the future names in the business. I’ve got very high hopes for the cast in this ensemble. They’re multi-talented, all of them. This choreography is not easy! All of them can play instruments, can act, they’re fab! Well-equipped to come into the business.

 

The Wedding Singer plays at The Orchard Theatre from 21st to 25th March. Get your tickets here: https://orchardtheatre.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=AC060197-88BB-4DF8-90C6-2FCA3CFB1DB4

 

 

 

 

 

 

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