Thursday, 29 January 2015

Interview - Brendan Cole

FRESH from the glitter and glamour of the hit TV show Strictly Come Dancing, Brendan Cole will be shimmying down to the New Wimbledon Theatre with his new show.

IT may have been six weeks since the 12th series of hit TV show Strictly Come Dancing finished but Brendan Cole hasn’t put away his dancing shoes.
Far from it. In fact even before the series ended just before Christmas the 38-year-old New Zealander was busy preparing for his new live stage show A Night To Remember.
The production which he began touring this week, follows on from his previous two hugely successful shows, Live and Unjudged and Licence To Thrill which dazzled audiences across the country.
A Night To Remember features a six-strong cast of dancers and a 14-strong orchestra and as part of the nationwide tour will include a night at the New Wimbledon Theatre on Sunday, February 8.
We chat just as the last series of Strictly was finishing and if he was knackered after the gruelling schedule of rehearsals, he wasn't letting on.
Indeed, he was incredibly chirpy.
"Let's just say life is ridiculously mental at the moment," he says cheerfully. "The rehearsal for the tour is going very well and we've just done Strictly which was amazing. We had a fantastic competition this year with a great cast. Trying to juggle it all is tricky but life is good."
And so it appears. For not only has he got the tour and enjoying all the opportunities he has had since he found fame with his Strictly appearances, he is happily settled with a wife and two year old daughter.
But he is keen to talk about A Night To Remember which will showcase Brendan's not inconsiderable talent in an odyssey of music and dance, blending his expert choreography with his own unique charisma. It promises to be a sensational show with Brendan very much at the helm.
“I like being in control,” he says simply. “With Strictly we work from August to Christmas often 14 hour days. It is very controlled in that we have about 40 seconds for each dance to wow the audience and judges and show what we can do.
"With this I'm in charge and I get to do what I want."
Given that he is a Ballroom and Latin specialist, it is no surprise that these disciplines will features strongly. However, he promises there will be a real mix and with his "super talented professional dancers" who will be on stage with him, expect Waltzes and Foxtrots, Quicksteps and Tangos.
As well as choreographing the whole production he has control over every last detail including the costumes and music and says there will be "plenty of banter with the audience" to keep them entertained as well as a Q&A.
"The show is not just put on by a production company," He says. "I do the whole thing. It's hard work but I really enjoy it and get a real kick out of it.
"I love doing it - particularly the choreography aspect as I get to be as creative as I want which is very liberating - and I'm very proud of it."
And it’s clear from our chat that he means every word.
"It’s a very fulfilling feeling," he says. "We have got a 14 piece band behind us at the back of the stage who are very involved and I work closely with the dancers, who are phenomenally talented. I want them to be happy and do stuff they feel comfortable with.
"My over-riding feeling though is that when I go to watch theatre I don't want to have a snooze so we chop and change things throughout.
"We'll have the passion of the Argentine Tango before a soft beautiful Rumba, a sexy Samba and then change to Ballroom.
"There will be something for everyone - it’s a fast flowing, full on show and there's never a dull moment - and I hope the crowd will get to see the real me."
So who is the real Brendan Cole I ask.
“I’m cheeky and naughty, a performer and an entertainer,” he chuckles. "I like to think I'm myself. I'm on stage for at least 80 per cent of the time which I love - it's where I'm most at home - but I do have a banter with everyone.
"I love seeing the audience smiling back and enjoying themselves - there's nothing better. It's a great feeling."
But what of the future I ask. Will he get a well-earned rest at the end of the three month tour?
"Yes, I'm hoping to take some time off," he laughs. "Strictly is the hard bit because it's six days a week over four months so it’s tricky for family life.
"Then I go straight out on tour although as it's my show I say how it’s done.
"I have five days on and two days off. Your body crumbles otherwise and it's important to have a bit of recovery time for your body so I get to spend two days with my family which is fantastic."
Despite this it's clear he loves working and says he hopes to be back on the Strictly ballroom this autumn.
"Each series is different and I've had a great time doing all of them so I hope we are back again this year," he says.
He laughs when I ask if it's possible for anyone to be taught how to dance.
"Some people are beyond help,” he says. "Every person is different but you make sure you play to their strengths and give them a good time in the show.
"Scott Mills was painfully terrible but did entertaining stuff. The chemistry with your partner is incredibly important."
But for now his attention is focused on the tour.
"I'm really excited about it," he says. "The Wimbledon Theatre is a great venue and just the right size for the show. I went down there for the first time two months ago and it's a beautiful stage. There is a nice piano bar too so I’m looking forward to it!"

Brendan Cole’s A Night To Remember is on at The New Wimbledon Theatre on Sunday, February 8. Visit or call the box office on 0844 871 7646 for tickets.

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