INTERVIEW: John Partridge speaks about rehearsing for Chicago in just four days after leaving Celebrity Big Brother
PUBLISHED: 09:51 22 February 2016 | UPDATED: 17:12 23 February 2016
“I think it was great for me to get out of there and go straight into work and get back to doing what I do.”
Many people would be daunted by the idea of having just a few days to prepare for the UK tour of a hit musical.
But John Partridge - who trained in musical theatre from a young age and has had a career spanning three decades - says it’s what is ‘in his blood’.
After taking part in Channel 5’s reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother, finishing in sixth place, Mr Partridge began to rehearse for the role of lawyer Billy Flynn in Chicago.
The production will be in Dartford next week, and he will be performing alongside X Factor winner Sam Bailey and Emmerdale actress Hayley Tamaddon.
“I was exhausted but there was no time to be exhausted, we had to crack on,” he told KoS.
“I had four days. The company I’m working with are fantastic, they are amazing performers and I have an amazing ensemble of dancers, some of which I’ve worked with before.
“We have been blown away by the audiences so far. I think the appetite for the show has really returned.
“I think it was great for me to get out of there and go straight into work and get back to doing what I do.
“It’s what I have done for 30 years. It’s my passion, it’s in my blood. That’s not to say it wasn’t a huge undertaking, and I wouldn’t recommend it.”
And he said that he admires the show a great deal.
“Chicago is an amazing show. As a musical theatre performer it’s one of the ones you want to do, it’s one of the boxes you want to tick,” he said.
“Doing something like Celebrity Big Brother and coming into Chicago, there is a huge irony in that. Chicago is all about how you manipulate the media, it’s about your 15 minutes of fame. I have a beautiful line that I say to Roxie - ‘You’re a phoney celebrity kid. In a couple of weeks nobody will even know your name’.”
So what was it like taking part in Celebrity Big Brother?
“I’m an actor, I know how the media works and how TV works but I haven’t done reality TV. In some ways I was quite naive about it,” he said. “It was great to take that experience and bring it into the theatre. The timing of it has been amazing for me.
“I had no idea what it would be like, but I didn’t really think too much about it. I didn’t have any preconceived idea about what it was. I watched the show but watching the show and appearing in it are two very different things. But I am grateful for it, I am grateful for everything.”
Mr Partridge has had a number of musical theatre roles and is well-known for playing Christian Clarke in BBC soap EastEnders.
“I like stage, I like TV, I like doing it all,” he said.
“The one thing you don’t have as an actor is job security, if you want that you’ll never become an actor. This time next year I could be talking to you about something I have no notion of right now.
“As a performer I am quite diverse in that way. I dance, I sing, I like to perform. I have been really lucky throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to do all of those things.”
And he is looking forward to returning to Dartford, where he has performed a number of times before.
“One of the colleges I trained at was the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts, and they do their annual show in Dartford. I choreographed a piece for one of their end of year show and was in the theatre quite a lot last year. I was the guest speaker at their graduation,” he said.
“My friends Bradley Walsh and Craig Revel Horwood have performed there and I have been down there to support them.
“It’s a very slick theatre, they know what they’re doing down there.”
Chicago will be running from February 29 to March 5, with performances at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
For more details visit www.orchardtheatre.co.uk or call the ticket office on 01322 220000.