BWW Interview: Blake Harrison Chats WAITRESS at Adelphi Theatre
Stage and screen actor Blake Harrison was most recently seen in the BBC drama A Very English Scandal.
He is well known for his role as Neil Sutherland in The Inbetweeners, and is currently back on a West End stage in Waitress at the Adelphi Theatre. Blake spoke to BroadwayWorld about playing Ogie in the show.
Who inspired you most growing up?
I don't know that I could pick one person. As a kid, I loved watching Robin Williams and Jim Carey. As I got older, I became more aware of the sacrifices my mum made to help me achieve my dreams, and for that, I'll be forever grateful.
How did you get involved in this production of Waitress?
I was asked to audition. I went to see the show to see if it was something I'd be interested in doing and, after watching and really enjoying it, I prepared as best I could and fortunately they liked my audition.
Were you familiar with the show or Sara Bareilles's music before the show came to London?
My kids have a toy keyboard that plays "Love Song", so I've been aware of Sara's work for a while!
What's your favourite thing about playing Ogie?
He's a lot of fun. He's very goofy and is immediately someone the audience has a great response to. The laughter from the audience really energises you throughout the show.
Have you ever dabbled in online dating or poetry yourself, like Ogie?
I luckily met my wife 10 years ago and thankfully missed the whole "Tinder movement". I did write poetry and songs in my teens and early twenties, but they've all been locked away in an underground vault never to be heard again!
Do you have any particular favourite moments in the show?
Yes, I love "Bad Idea (Reprise)". It comes very early in the second act and really gets the audience laughing and in the mood for the rest of the show.
How do you find being on stage compares to film/TV projects?
I've done a lot of stage work, so both feel very familiar to me. The thing I prefer about the stage is the rehearsal period. It can really feel like a luxury to have time to really play around and explore different aspects of a character. I've found that time rare in TV/film.
Any tips for aspiring performers?
I heard something great regarding auditions recently: don't see it as an audition. Think of it as doing a five/ten-minute play. Be happy that you get to act that day, even though it may only be to an audience of two or three people. Then afterwards try your best to forget about it and move on to the next five-minute play.
Any other projects coming up that you can tell us about?
I will be in a few episodes of an upcoming WW2 drama for the BBC called World On Fire. I've been in to do the overdubbing recently, and it's looking fantastic.
Why should people come to see your take on Ogie in Waitress?
I've been told I'm funny in it and people seem positively surprised by my singing.
But ultimately, people should come for the show as a whole. It's a very funny show and incredibly heart-warming with great music.
Photo credit: Dan Ross and Johan Persson