Sunday, 13 August 2017

INTERVIEW: Charlie Stemp, currently starring as Arthur Kipps in HALF A SIXPENCE at the Noël Coward Theatre

How much of the original Tommy Steele film and stage adaptation inspired your portrayal of Kipps?
I’m afraid nothing at all – I have still not seen it to this day. I didn’t want it to interrupt with creating the role.

How do you feel your training at Laine aided your ascension to a leading man of the West End?
It gave me the foundation on which to build my career – their solid values of respect, patience and determination have formed the way I approach my work.

How long did it take you to master the banjo? 
8 weeks – it takes longer than you think!

You’re quickly gaining a reputation as a “proper gentleman” (I-thank-you) of the British theatre industry. What are your top tips for staying humble in this crazy business we all love so much?

Stay happy – and don’t take yourself to seriously!

In a show as physically demanding as Half A Sixpence, how does one go about keeping themselves energised and show-ready night after night? 
I eat 5 meals a day and sleep A LOT!

How grateful are you when the interval arrives? You must be exhausted even by the half-way point! 
Very! Everyone looks after me so I’m ready and raring to go for Act 2.

There are some incredible set pieces in this show and a wonderfully utilised revolve. Have you had any mishaps?
Well, I had a brilliant show – where I managed to drive the motorbike into the set – that was pretty spectacular…

If you had “money to burn”, what’s the first thing you’d do?
Why – I’d buy me a banjo of course!

Which member of the cast and/or crew makes you laugh the most and
Callum Train (Pierce) – he’s my best friend in every way. Also Bookie and Ron, my dressers – they are both hilarious and keep me entertained all the time.

If you could cover one other role in the show for one-night-only, which will you choose and why? 
Sid – it was the original part I was being considered as the understudy for. It really appealed to me when going through the audition process.

When people leave the Noel Coward after a show, how do you want them to feel?
Entertained, happy – and not able to stop smiling!
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