Mamma Mia in Blackpool is a homecoming party for two cast members
PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 August 2014
Two super-troupers from Lancashire are starring in one of the musicals of all time in Blackpool this summer
After months on tour in Korea and Switzerland, Ashley Luke Lloyd is pleased to be on stage in his home town. ‘We were in Korea for five months and the audiences out there were always polite but you can’t beat a Blackpool crowd,’ he said. ‘You don’t get a better audience than one that wants to party – and they always do in Blackpool. The people here are really up for a laugh and a great night out.
‘Also, it’s great being back home because it means I can call my mum and ask her to put the kettle on for when I’m back after the show.’
Ashley’s family were partly responsible for him landing the role in Mamma Mia – in the final stages of the audition when the last ten or so contenders were asked why they should get the part and the others listed their song and dance credentials, he said it would be great for his nan to be able to nip down the road to see him perform when the show reached Blackpool Opera House. ‘She saw the show a couple of times in the first couple of weeks. She’s a massive fan of musical theatre,’ added 23-year-old Ashley, a former pupil at Bispham High School who plays the role of Eddie.
And Ashley’s nan isn’t alone in loving musicals. The show attracts audiences of all ages and is perhaps surprisingly popular with people born long after the Swedish Fab Four split up in 1982. Mamma Mia was in the vanguard of the musical theatre revival and has been getting crowds dancing in the aisles since 1999.
And Keiron Crook, who takes the part of Harry Bright – the role played by Colin Firth in the film version – says the reasons are for Mamma Mia’s success are simple. ‘It’s really well-written music for a start,’ he said. ‘You know the songs and you know they are going to be brilliant, you know you’re not going to be challenged – this isn’t Chekov, it’s fun, it’s a bit kitsch and you’re guaranteed a good night.’
The 42-year-old from Walton-le-Dale has appeared in all manner of stage shows – everything from Dracula to Jerry Springer the Opera – and added: ‘Sometimes actors can get a bit serious but we are employed to entertain and it is a real privilege for us to do the job we do.
‘When you look out at the audience for Mamma Mia and see them having such a great time it’s a reminder of what we do it for and how lucky we are. We get to have that fun every time we go on stage.’
The summer season of the Mamma Mia international tour runs at the Blackpool Opera House until September 14.