BWW Interview: Alex Bourne Talks West End ANNIE
Actor Alex Bourne's past musical work ranges from Kiss Me, Kate to Chicago and We Will Rock You. After playing Daddy Warbucks on tour, he's now back in the role for the West End run of Annie, which begins previews at the Piccadilly Theatre on May 23.
What was the first musical that inspired you?
I used watch the movie of Half A Sixpence every Christmas and I loved Tommy Steele's performance. Also, I saw Anthony Head as Joseph at the Cheltenham Everyman in the late Seventies and that really inspired me.
When did you realise you wanted to pursue acting seriously?
When I left school I became an engineering apprentice. I soon realised that it wasn't for me and so I then pursued an acting career.
Where did you train?
I didn't get round to that, so I've spent the last 30 years learning from great people.
What was your first professional acting job?
The RSC/Opera North's Showboat at London Palladium, 1991.
You've played a range of roles in your career - how do you maintain that variety?
I've been very lucky that fantastic roles that I have been right for have come along at the right time throughout my career.
Did you know Annie well before coming into the show?
Not well. I'd seen the film, but I had no idea about the stage show.
How did you approach the character of Daddy Warbucks?
I guess you have to bring those elements of the character that relate to you, initially. I have a nine-year-old daughter, which I think really helped me to connect with our Annies. Then, you realise just how well written Annie is. Put all these things together with Nikolai Foster's brilliant direction and the characters come to life. I've always tried to make him as real as possible.
The production features both children and animals - any funny incidents to report?!
The kids are such professionals, they're always amazing. And Amber, the wonderful Labradoodle that plays Sandy, has never missed a show.
Has the show changed much coming into the West End?
Nikolai and Nick Winston have continued to work their magic on the scenes and the choreography, so I have to say that it feels like a brand new show!
Every Miss Hannigan brings their own interpretation to the role. Miranda Hart is such an adorable lady and so incredibly funny, on and off the stage. And she can sing and dance too! Perfect casting.
What's your favourite number in the show?
"Anything But You".
What kind of resonance do you think today's audience can find in Annie?
I believe this is a very different production of Annie: reimagined and designed for a new audience, whilst retaining all the elements that die-hard Annie fans will want to see. We all need a bit of Annie's optimism and outlook on life in these uncertain times.