Do­ing Strictly was a real game changer for me

Danny Mac tells MAR­ION McMULLEN why he ini­tially turned down Strictly Come Danc­ing and why he’s now head over heels about new mu­si­cal Amélie

Llanelli Star - - SPOTLIGHT -

What was it like reach­ing the fi­nals of Strictly Come Danc­ing?

I DIDN’T re­ally know the show be­fore­hand. I had never watched it be­cause Satur­day was usu­ally a work night for me ... and I did turn it down a few times.

Then when I told peo­ple I was go­ing on ev­ery­one was just ‘Oh, my god.’ It was just a game changer, a real life changer, for me and they were re­ally good on the show and looked after me.

I would get whole fam­i­lies com­ing up to me, from young­sters to el­derly grand­par­ents, and some would say ‘I’ve had a re­ally tough time and the only thing that made me smile this week was Strictly’.

It makes me tear up just say­ing it. You never for­get do­ing that show that you are do­ing it for the pub­lic. It is a won­der­ful thing.

What at­tracted you to the role of ro­man­tic day­dreamer Nino in Amélie The Mu­si­cal?

I DIDN’T know if I wanted to do the show at first.

It’s six months out of the city, on the road and another mu­si­cal. I was not sure if it would stretch me or if was some­thing I wanted to do, but then I read it and fell in love with the script.

I’ve never been so pas­sion­ate about a script and I just phoned my agent right back. It’s like noth­ing else I’ve ever done. It’s com­pletely out of the box.

The pro­duc­tion is based on the Os­car nom­i­nated film about a young woman with a gift for help­ing oth­ers. How does it work as a mu­si­cal?

IT is just so quirky and beau­ti­ful and the words of the songs are won­der­ful.

Direc­tor Michael Fen­ti­man was given free reign and I feel lucky and hon­oured to be able to take this on the road.

It’s not a mu­si­cal ver­sion of the film. It’s t’s more an al­ter­na­tive way of telling the story.

There are 16 peo­ple on stage all play­ing in­stru­ments. I play a lit­tle bit t in the show, a lit­tle bit of pi­ano, no, but if I’m not play­ing gui­tar by the end of the tour I’ll be livid. I’ll be after some of the guys for some lessons.

It’s a real priv­i­lege. They are an amaz­ing group of peo­ple.

What do you miss most when you are on tour?

I MISS my wife (ac­tress Car­ley Sten­son) and our mad cock­apoo dogs Bar­ney and Bai­ley, but I’ll try to get back home ev­ery week­end.

When Car­ley and I are both in shows we try and make time to have a cou­ple of hours in the evening to wind down and chat, play mu­sic and catch up.

It’s re­ally im­por­tant to switch off. I find one of the best ways is to put on a pod­cast and go for a run.

Does it help that you are both in show­busi­ness?

DEF­I­NITELY. Es­pe­cially with some­thing like Strictly when you are not around a lot. It can be re­ally hard to ex­plain some­times when you are forced to miss fam­ily events be­cause of the job. That’s re­ally tough. It’s the worst part of it.

What was the first show you ever saw?

GREASE at the Do­min­ion back in early 90s when I was five or six. I loved the film and my mum and dad quickly re­alised if there was any­thing per­for­mance-based on the telly like Grease or Bugsy Malone I would sit there and watch it all day.

When I saw these guys did this for a liv­ing, this was their job, and the fun they were hav­ing, I knew then there was noth­ing else I felt more pas­sion­ate about.

My first big gig was play­ing the young Gavroche in Les Mis­er­ables. That show changed my life. It was a big deal for me.

What did your par­ents think of your ca­reer choice?

THEY’VE al­ways been sup­port­ive and come and see all the shows I’m in. Mum works in a hospice and my fa­ther has a fruit and veg busi­ness.

They used to come with lots of cards and flow­ers at the stage door on press night and I would say to my mum ‘You work with peo­ple who are dy­ing. I should be buying you a bunch of flow­ers ev­ery day.’

Amélie The Mu­si­cal tours un­til Oc­to­ber 19 (ameli­ethe­mu­si­cal.com) and Danny will also be ap­pear­ing in White Christ­mas (whitechris­t­mas­the­mu­si­cal.co.uk) London’s Do­min­ion Theatre from Novem­ber 15.

Pe Per­former his wife Car­ley, Danny above Mac and rh left, with and Strictly S part­ner Oti Mabuse, left

Danny as Nino in Amélie The Mu­si­cal

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