Kelvin Fletcher - 'There's nothing like theatre. It's pure escapism'

Virgin Radio

10 Jul 2022, 14:49


The former Andy Sugden swung by this weekend.

Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher popped into The Graham Norton Show With Waitrose this weekend to tell us about Jack Absolute Flies Again, a new comedy by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors) and Oliver Chris (Twelfth Night), which he's starring in at the National Theatre from July 11th until August 20th. Cinema screenings will begin on October 6th.

Featuring a cast including Caroline Quentin (Jonathan Creek), Laurie Davidson (Guilty Party) and Natalie Simpson (Three Sisters), Kelvin believes the play is exactly what Britain needs right now.

"I play a character called Dudley Scunthorpe," he says, twirling the new bushy moustache he grew for the role. "The play is set during The Battle of Britain and so it does delve into the tragedy of war. It's poignant and it's very touching and it's very moving. But I think it's absolutely heartwarming too. What we're aiming to do with it is put a spring in your step."

Though the former Strictly Come Dancing winner has been acting since childhood, he says that whenever he appears in the theatre, he feels like "the new kid."

"I've been in this industry for 30 years now," says Kelvin, who left Emmerdale in 2019, "but I feel like I'm on a bit of a rebirth really. There's people in this production who are massively experienced, like Caroline [Quentin], who has done the West End, she's done massive comedy sitcoms, she's done everything and she is a legend. And then we've got people in the production who are just about to graduate from acting school. So you've got absolutely opposites spectrum really, and that's the best thing about this show."

He continues; "I consider myself very much a newbie even though I've been acting for many years. It's inspiring working with people like Carolyn, but at the same time with the absolute newcomers. We're all galvanised by each other. We're all on a journey together."

Kelvin told Andi Peters, who is standing in for Graham this weekend, that he hopes the play will help convince people to get back to the theatre, after COVID and lockdowns reaped havoc on said industry.

"I think this play is coming along at the right time," he says. "Theatres have changed in many ways and I think there's still some people feeling a little bit of reluctance to be in those types of spaces. But I think with the summer we're having at the minute, this play really can encourage people to get out and get to the theatres.

"There's nothing like theatre," continues Kelvin. "You can't help feeling better, feeling uplifted and inspired, when you come away from it. It's escapism, and hopefully our play will take you away to somewhere happy, fun, and loving. You'll definitely come away feeling much better.

"Theatres have changed, but I think they'll change for the better and hopefully, they're gonna get busier and busier."

Jack Absolute Flies Again is at the National Theatre from July 11th until August 20th. Cinema screenings start on October 6th.

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