Chicago, Hairspray, Legally Blonde... Les Dennis just loves ringing the changes on stage, not least with his latest role, Uncle Fester in the new musical comedy The Addams Family heading to Southampton’s Mayflower from July 18–29.
“I keep doing different things,” he laughs. “It’s a need to do something that scares me. But I think you have got to keep pushing yourself. I have been very lucky. It has been a good career. The Guardian said something about the ‘long and strange stage career of Les Dennis.’ I think it was supposed to be a compliment! But I suppose sometimes people don’t realise you sing or do theatre or just associate you with Family Fortunes or with the Dustin years. And people will say ‘I never realised you have done so much theatre.’ I used to say that I am a jack of all trades and master of none. I like to think I can now say that I am a jack of all trades and master of some!’”
And he’s on very new territory again: “It’s just great, and what is really great about it is that it is the first musical where I have created the character. It has been done in America, but usually when they come over here and I have done Hairspray or Chicago or whatever, I have been taking over. To actually be creating the role means that you are freer. You don’t go into rehearsals and get told ‘This is where you stand to say this’ and ‘This is where you move to now.’ There is no one saying ‘This is the way it is done’ because you are actually creating it. You have got the book and you have got the score, and that is it, but it does mean that you have to think about it a lot more beforehand. But I was lucky that I had worked with our director before doing this show now.”
The piece comes from the writers of multi award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys and stars Samantha Womack as Morticia, Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday and Cameron Blakely as Gomez.
Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, is all grown up and has a shocking secret that only Gomez knows. She’s fallen in love with a sweet, young man from a respectable family. With his cherished Morticia in the dark, will Gomez manage to keep his daughter’s secret until the two families meet for a fateful dinner with hilarious consequences?
“I was born in 53 and I think The Addams Family came on television in 64. It was the first American series I had watched. It was great. It was just so out there! It was quirky and funny. I loved it.
“But for anyone who doesn’t know what The Addams Family are, they just need to know that they are going to watch this Gothic ghoul-like family created from the history of horror films.”
You’ve got a character inspired by Frankenstein’s monster, you’ve got a character who is Nosferatu like.
“And they are just so dysfunctional!”
Tickets for The Addams Family (Tuesday 18 – Saturday 29 July 2017) are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at mayflower.org.uk.
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