VIVA interviews Doctor Dolittle’s Mark Williams
| 1st December 2018
Doctor Dolittle The Musical, brought to you by the producers of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, is coming to The Lowry in Salford on December 11th.
The show will take audiences on a captivating adventure to find the giant pink snail- the keeper of the secret to happiness.
Doctor Dolittle (Mark Williams- Harry Potter, Father Brown) will be joined by a host of companions, human and animals alike.
Vicky Entwistle (Coronation Street, Les Misérables) will be playing the doctor’s loyal and hilarious sidekick Polynesia the parrot. Accompanying her is Brian Capron (Coronation Street, Where The Heart Is) who plays the carefree Albert Blossom and the fearsome Straight Arrow.
Leslie Bricusse, the award-winning lyricist and songwriter, has returned to create the musical’s soundtrack. Alongside the beloved Talk to the Animals, from the original film, Mr Bricusse has created a host of new songs including You’ve Never Seen Anything Like It– that includes a two-headed Lama!
VIVA caught up with Mark Williams to talk about all things Doctor Dolittle.
The puppets are incredible! Do they come in on day one of the rehearsals?
Yes. It’s in an early stage of development in terms of articulation but it’s looking good already.
With a show like this that has so many different elements to it, rehearsals are just the bringing together of all the work that been done in design, costume, in music, in signing, in script… it’s very much a collection of people.
What about singing, are you nervous?
I was a chorister as a kid, my dad was a jazz guitarist and Adrian, a friend of mine, and I had a band; clean vest… you had to be there haha.
So, I look forward to it and they’re great songs. Leslie Bricusse is the greatest living songwriter really, in terms of musical theatre and film. You’d be amazed by the songs he wrote, like Willy Wonka’s Pure Imagination.
Do you feel pressure from that, since his songs are so huge?
You’re supposed to feel pressure. I mean that’s what gets us going really.
There’s a lot of negative press about pressure like its some kind of illness and no it’s not, it’s being human!
We don’t function without having goals and we don’t function without being pushed. People talk about pressure and then go and time themselves relentlessly to run a marathon… well, what’s that then?
It’s still pressure it’s just the pressure you’ve chosen.
You’re here for four weeks in December. How are you going to manage with the family at Christmas?
It’s a bit tricky but none of my lot know any different. There are other benefits to that because when I’m home I’m properly home. It’s not as if I go to work every day and I’m tired at the weekends. When I’m back, I’m there all the time.
Also, they get to go to loads of places and get to see exciting things. There’s a song there…
There’s a lot of excitement from the family about the show then?
Oh yeah. I asked them first and said ‘’What do you think?’’ and everybody said ‘’Yeah you must do it!’’ They told me to do it and here I am.
Are you excited to perform this over the Christmas period?
Yeah. It’s great!
It will be such an uplifting show and there’s so much in it. I’m really looking forward to it. I love when you hear different responses from different people.
I remember as a kid I went to the circus and it was the first time I saw clowns. There was this one clown that was really slow, and the clever clown said ‘’Ay come here lightning’’ and I just thought it was brilliant! It’s a joke! He’s not fast! I love all that.
You’ve been an actor for a long time. Does it get easier?
No. Who said it was going to be easy? You just push it. You push the terms of what easy is.
I wouldn’t ever want it to be easy at all, I can think of nothing worse.
Is being in Theatre different to film?
Quite but it’s like playing the same notes but different versions, like playing jazz or popular song. If you play the instrument you should be able to play all the genres really, I think.
Some people don’t want to do that. Some people have a classic style and they do not want to do anything that doesn’t reinforce that. I respect that, but I can’t do it. I find that constricting.
You don’t mind flitting in between?
I think it’s vital to do that because that’s how you learn. Also, you are asked to do different things because people see different things in you and people want you to be able to contribute something different.
That’s very much part of the job
Have you had lessons flying on the Moth yet?
I’ve done a lot of flying. I’ve always really relished the physical part of film and theatre work so I actually made some specifications aha! I suggested a way to do it that I think will be brilliant.
Why should people come and see the show?
It only exists when you come to see it. You can’t buy the DVD, you can’t rewind it, you can’t play catch up, you’ve gotta come and see this show.
There’s nothing more exciting than seeing the audience waiting for the curtain.
The musical opens up at the Lowry on December 11th and will run until January 5th.
To book tickets click here.
Find out more about the musical visit the website here.