Thursday, 3 December 2015

INTERVIEW Marcus Brigstocke who plays Captain Hook in Peter Pan at the New Wimbledon Theatre

Marcus Brigstocke and Verne Troyer in Peter Pan. Credit Craig Sugden.

THINK Captain Hook is bad? Marcus Brigstocke certainly thinks so and is on a mission to make his version the baddest, meanest man around.
The actor, panellist, satirist, avid snowboarder and award-winning comedian is bringing his take on Hook to the New Wimbledon Theatre's production of Peter Pan.
The show, which opens tonight, will be Marcus's panto debut and far from having any nerves about it the 42-year-old says he can't wait to bring this arch villain to life.
"I'm so excited," he says cheerfully. "I genuinely can't wait. I think Hook is one of the great baddies of all time and I want to show him in all his nasty, horrible glory."
But given his pedigree as a stand up and entertainer for the past 20 years, what was it that persuaded Marcus to do panto in the first place? It seems a combination of the story, which he describes as one of his favourites, and the role itself were the draws.
"My agent called and asked if I'd ever do a panto," he says. "The first one I was offered wasn’t right so I said would only do one if I could play Captain Hook.
"When she found out that Wimbledon was doing Peter Pan I said yes.
"The lure of the part was the main thing for me. I have done a lot of TV and radio and stand up is amazing, but playing a proper baddie who poisons a child, stabs him, bombs him and generally tries to kill him, and is just unapologetically bad, that’s pretty wild.
"I would like all the children watching it to be just on the edge of being frightened of me. Not proper terrified but just on the edge."
And I can confirm that during our chat, when he does the voice he really does sound scary so watch out kids - this could be the scariest Captain Hook you’ll ever see!
"You can't have a show without baddies though," he adds. "How do you fall in love with Peter Pan without someone who's horrible to him?
"I poison him and attack him and do whatever I can to kill him but I still lose. That's the great thing.
"There's a great bit which I adore where we are in the middle of a fight and I ask him 'who are you?' and he says 'I'm youth and joy!' and then he defeats me - that's brilliant."
And in true panto style Hook does eventually get his comeuppance.
"It's going to be quite painful," admits Marcus. "Lowering myself into the croc's mouth is quite difficult. I'll be fully consumed. But when I'm eaten by the croc I really want the kids to be so relieved and elated that this terrible man has been dealt with and Peter has won. It'll be great theatre."
Marcus will be joined on stage by American actor Verne Troyer, fellow comedian and Wimbledon panto returnee Jarred Christmas and dance group Flawless.
And he promises the usual heady mix of dancing, singing, gags-a-plenty and an amazing array of costumes all hanging on "a cracking story".
"This show will have everything," says Marcus warmly. "We’ve got such an amazing cast – there’s Verne Troyer and Jarred Christmas who are very funny and Flawless who are just jaw droppingly good - it's got it all going on.
"But it’s a brilliant story and one I love. I remember going to see panto as a kid. It was a real family event with me, my sister, parents and grandparents and I remember this being one of my favourites.
"Funnily enough I'm not sure whether Peter Pan is a panto in the traditional sense as it hasn't got a Dame but it has got all the best elements of it including where good triumphs over evil, so for that reason it's my favourite."
And he says although he gets to do a bit of dancing and singing, he's glad the pressure is off to be funny - and is leaving that to his friend Jarred who will play Hook's sidekick Smee.
"Jarred's got the most pressure as he has to be funny and make everyone in the audience laugh, but I just get to be mean and nasty," he laughs. "I just have to swing my sword a bit.
"But I'm actually really excited. I have a worrying thing that nothing makes me nervous.
"The first couple of shows will be seat of your pants stuff and there will be a lot of adrenaline flying about but after that it gets more and more fun."
Marcus promises his Hook will not only sound and be nasty he will look the part too.
"I've got the full King Charles II curled hair, skulls on the costume, a big sword and a huge hat - proper traditional and scary looking," he chuckles.
"I have also grown a big and rather impressive curly ended moustache – it’s creepy and mean to suit the part.
"It's going to be brilliant!"

Peter Pan is on at the New Wimbledon Theatre until January 10. Tickets from £10. Visit or call the box office on 0844 871 7646.

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