Saturday, 24 July 2021

COMING HOME: Alistair So, just opened in Anything Goes at the Barbican

Pocket Size Theatre and Liza Heinrichs (Captured by Liz) have teamed up again and created our new series 'Coming Home'. In this new piece, we look at the reopening of Theatres in London and around the country and celebrate our industry coming back. We got together some performers who will be some of the first to return to theatres and created this piece to bring some positivity to the theatre industry which has been through one of the toughest years in our lifetime. Whilst it is important to acknowledge the hardships we've all gone through, it's important we pull together as a community and celebrate our beloved industry finally coming back! 

Alistair So has managed to almost bookend the pandemic with two major shows. Before theatres shut back in March 2020, he was appearing in the West End production of The Phantom of the Opera, covering the role of Raoul. He is currently appearing in the London revival of Anything Goes at the Barbican. But Alistair is under no illusion of how lucky he has been to have been employed and to be going into employment again, “Some of us are fortunate enough to be going back to a job or starting a new one; many of us will not be. Additionally, no doubt there are performers who may be leaving performing behind entirely for all sorts of reasons related to Covid. To get back on stage while the UK heals and the rest of the world continues to fight off the virus, is a very special blessing.” 

Having only graduated in 2017, he has racked up a very impressive CV. He made his professional debut in the UK touring production of Miss Saigon covering the role of Thuy, made his West End debut in the Broadway revival transfer of The King and I at the London Palladium covering Lun Tha, played Jimmy Winter in Nice Work if You Can Get It at Upstairs at the Gatehouse and also appeared in Amour at the Charing Cross Theatre. 

When talking about some of the issues that have been raised about the theatre industry over the past year, Alistair mentions how social media profiles have influenced peoples chances of working or being involved in projects over the pandemic and he reflects on how this might affect the future of our industry: “Adapting theatre for online and streamed performances has further concentrated the spotlight on the ‘big names’ with online clout and massive followings. With or without Covid 19, I suspect that this shift is here to stay to some degree. I hope that producers endeavour to keep the business as a space where working actors – graduates, veterans and everyone in-between – all have a reasonable chance to succeed and progress without having to be some kind of internet icon.” 

We spoke to him about some of the things he misses about performing and of course, he misses being able to do what he loves to do but he also highlights some of the really mundane things that you really take for granted, like “fighting for a spot in the queue to use a mouldy microwave in the green-room; finding awkward spaces to sleep in one’s dressing room between shows; fighting to contain giggles when things go wrong onstage; glaring at fellow castmates who thought they could get away with a quick fart in the wings.” His light and positive attitude is actually a breath of fresh air in a year that has been very taxing for everyone. 

Alistair has taken on such a wonderful attitude, filled with humour and optimism that we must remind ourselves to take on. It's important to understand and learn from the hard year we’ve had, but also we mustn’t take life too seriously. If you can take one thing from the past 12 months, it is that life is too short not to enjoy every day. 

Talking to him about the upcoming re-opening of theatre he comes across as very excited but humbled to be coming back, having a nice featured role in Anything Goes is a welcome job for him. He also mentions his love for the film Back to the Future and how he cannot wait to see and hear it be brought to life on stage. Back to the Future opens at the Adelphi Theatre on the 20th of August 2021.  

Anything Goes is definitely one of the shows we need in our lives right now, this classic musical will bring so much joy to those who see it and we can’t wait to see Alistair in this absolutely wonderful show. The show officially opened yesterday at the Barbican Centre and runs until the 17th October 2021. 

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