The walk in hit show
it because he has these difficult parents, poor and religiously strict. And he works in a paint shop.
“He’s a really unhappy guy, until he gets to the disco. Then he meets with Stephanie whom we learn treats him in the way he treats other people.
Richard adds, smiling: “It’s a crowd-pleasing show. You have the grittiness of the drama, the fantastic dance and the music of the Bee Gees thrown in as well.”
The theatre musical uses the device of having three “Bee Gees” in the cast to perform the likes of Stayin’ Alive and How Deep Is Your Love.
“These guys perform the songs so well. It really feels like the soundtrack to the film is being played out as well.
“And the theatre floor lights up so it all it looks like an amazing dance floor. It’s really a dancing in the aisles show.”
Richard, who has also appeared in Hollyoaks, reveals how he came up with the very unique Brooklyn accent.
“I go to America a talking in a Brooklyn accent. Thankfully, Jade was fantastic. She’s a dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet so she understands what I need to do.”
His holiday as Tony paid off. “By the time I got to rehearsals I was in.”
But what of the relevance of Saturday Night Fever? Does the story still stand up today?
“Very much so,” he maintains. “This is a story of a young guy struggling, working in a paint store. It’s so relevant today with so many people on zero hours contracts. With Trump threatening to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out and people with split families striving for a better life, it’s interesting to look at it and think “How far have we come?
“Forty years on, and similar families are talking about not being employed and trying to break free. It’s all still there.”
He adds: “And this period really heralds the beginning of a strong women’s movement, when misogyny and elements of racism are beginning to be tackled.”
Does having the Casualty profile help land roles such as this?
“Yes, I guess it does. And I’ve really enjoyed the move into acting.”
Richard made his stage acting debut in 2008 with his performance of the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at The Royal Playhouse Northampton, which earned fabulous reviews for his athletic and emotional portrayal.
“When I was dancing with Matthew Bourne I always wanted to act. In fact, Casualty wrote that role for me and when offered I just jumped on it.”
His TV character was killed off. But Richard is sanguine about the decision.
“It’s a great honour when they feel a character is big enough to deserve that sort of impact. I loved the show, for the experience and the great time. And it does help with the profile.”
Now, here he is acting out one of the coolest screen characters ever. And displaying his dancing skills to packed audiences.
“I really have the best of both worlds,” he says in grateful voice.
• Saturday Night Fever, King’s Theatre, October 16-20
‘‘ He’s a really unhappy guy... until he gets to the disco