BWW Interviews: TOP HAT's Alex Gaumond - About Canada Day & MATILDA!
Alex Gaumond, originally from Canada, has been invited to sing the Canadian national anthem at the Canada Day celebrations in London's Trafalgar Square on 1 July 2013 (scheduled for 10.30am and 6pm). He will also open the evening concert which will feature some of Canada's top bands and musical artists, including The Tragically Hip.
He may be Canadian - but he's an adopted Londoner currently playing an Italian in Top Hat, so we thought it was about time we caught up with him to find out what this is all about...
Hi Alex! Congratulations on the Canada Day honour. How did it come about?
Thank you! My manager had been talking to the organisers to discuss slots for performing; and I had recently met with the High Commissioner of Canada, so I'm not sure exactly what happened, but they asked, and I jumped at the chance! It's such a huge honour.
Yes, but there's more pressure to do the national anthem brilliantly than there is performing your own set...
Yes! Back when I was a kid, I only sang it in French, so I'll be doing the bilingual version - it's high pressure, so I'll be channeling my patriotism. We don't have a show in Top Hat on Monday, so that's very fortunate that's all worked out that way.
Will you be hanging around and seeing what else is on over the course of the day, then?
Definitely after the 10.30 performance I'll have a look around - I've been invited to breakfast, and then I'll see what's happening. I may need to go home and have a rest for a few hours before 6pm - and I hear there's a party in the evening! I've never managed to go to any of the Canada Day celebrations before - although I've seen the aftermath in town! - so I'm going to use this opportunity to have some fun.
And how is Top Hat going?
I'm loving it. It's a great role, something completely different, and I get to do an Italian accent, which I've never done before. Actually, some audience members from Italy thought I was Italian, so that was good, I was really happy with that. I've only got a few weeks left, so I intend to make the most of it.
Talking of something completely different, I have to say I was gobsmacked when I saw that you'd been cast as Miss Trunchbull in Matilda - not in a bad way, but it was just so unexpected!
[laughs uproariously] Quite a few people have said that! It's such a great role, and very different in terms of what people have seen me do before. I can't wait. I saw it with the original cast, and I fell in love with it; it's a gem of a part, so it's so amazing to get it. It's also a very physical part, so I've been doing yoga and Pilates to prepare.
No, no hammer-throwing - I can't get into the Olympic Park, it's all under lock and key. I did watch some on YouTube before the audition to prepare. I think that I'll wait before I start throwing children around - wait until I'm in a safe and secure environment on stage...
Alex Gaumond sings the Canadian national anthem in Trafalgar Square on Monday July 1; he stars in Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre until August 5, and then stars in Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre from September 3.
From This Author Carrie Dunn