BWW Interview: Choreographer Matt Flint Talks GUYS AND DOLLS at Crucible Theatre
Matt Flint has choreographed for many popular musicals and television shows, including Strictly Come Dancing and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. His most recent work sees him return to Sheffield's Crucible Theatre to choreograph Guys and Dolls.
What interested you to work on this production of Guys and Dolls?
Guys and Dolls has always been one of my favourite shows, and I jumped at the chance to do it at the Crucible. After working at the theatre in 2018 on Kiss Me, Kate, I was really keen on getting back there.
What's it been like to work with the cast?
The cast have been wonderful, so much talent. I really enjoyed the rehearsal period - we managed to have a good laugh whilst still getting the job done.
How long does it take you to create and teach the choreography for an entire cast?
A lot of prep work always goes in prior to the rehearsal process. In my first phase of prep, I make sure I'm thinking about the 'ideas' and the 'narrative', and get my head round how everything should flow.
Phase two: I get into the studio for some prep days. I had five weeks of rehearsal time with the cast.
What's been the hardest thing about choreographing this show?
The trickiest part of this production was choreographing on a moving stage. Big dance sequences set across a double revolve, whilst pushing set pieces, can prove quite a headache.
What part of the show are you proudest of?
I'm probably most proud of the Havana sequence. Working with the wonderful Will Stewart [Musical Director], we built it up from ground - researching Latin rhythms and feels. It was really great, as Will crafted the music around the ideas.
What can audiences expect from your choreography in Guys and Dolls?
They can expect to feel part of it. As the audience is wrapped right around the thrust stage, you really feel part of the action. For those on the first few rows, you're literally 2ft away from the dancers flying past.
You've worked on a huge variety of projects. What are the biggest differences and challenges of choreographing for the stage versus screen?
Creating choreography for theatre is incredibly different to TV. When creating for TV, the most important thing is what the camera is seeing. Sometimes when you watch it live it feels underwhelming, but what comes through the TV is completely different.
In theatre, you've got to create the bigger picture, the narrative beats all over the stage that anyone could spot at any time. I like this production of Guys and Dolls - because of the revolve, it sometimes feels like it's a mix of theatre and TV, as you get to see things from different perspectives.
What's the best thing about being a choreographer?
For me, it's the variety. I love getting to travel and meet interesting people. No day is the same and it never feels like work!
And what's the most challenging thing?
The turnaround time in TV can be quite intense - you're sometimes expected to produce magic in minutes, and it can be quite high-pressured.
What advice would you give anyone who aspires to be a choreographer?
You've got to be passionate about it. I have choreographed all my life. Every time I hear music I am forming the picture in my head. Always have solutions, and if you get asked to do something you've never done, just say 'Yes' and then make it work.
Why should people come and see Guys and Dolls?
It is a cracking show. It has a bit of everything. It's a classic musical but it feels fresh and exciting. The run's nearly finished, so get your tickets quick!
Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
I'm about to start some work on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway for ITV, which should be a real laugh!
Also, the 2020 Can You Dance? season will be starting soon, and I'll be touring the dance conventions around the UK.