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Answer Me Yes: Gareth Bretherton Q&A  

Gareth Bretherton, who plays Electra in the popular German production of Starlight Express, is one of a group of cast members organising the upcoming charity gala “Zeitlos – Eine Musical-Reise,” which takes place at the Starlighthalle – the specially-built theatre that is home to Starlight Express in Bochum – on Sunday, 20th November 2011. The gala event, a wonderful musical journey through the 20th century, will include performances of musical classics like “Memory” (Cats) and “Let the Sunshine In” (Hair), as well as highlights from The Rocky Horror Show and the musical Spring Awakening. All proceeds from the gala will be donated to the ProSiebenSat1 charity project”RED NOSE DAY, among other notable projects.

We caught up with Gareth to find out more about the gala and ask him a few quickfire questions…

Gareth, how is it going with the charity gala?
Some of our actors, David Moore (Papa), Ben Draper (Flat Top), myself and the Musical Director Steve White are organising the running order and all the rehearsals for the gala. We’ve invited some special guest stars – Anna Montanaro, Carolin Fortenbacher and Alex Melcher – and have been driving to different theatres to get all the costumes and wigs, so everything is pretty well organised. We’re looking forward to November 20th!

Moving on to our Q&A… how long have you been in the show in Bochum?
I’ve been in the show four years and four months now.

Had you seen Starlight Express before appearing in the show?
Yes, I did and I loved it!

How does playing in Bochum differ to playing the show elsewhere in the world?
Well, we sing the show in German in a really big theatre! German isn’t my first language, and it was hard at first to learn phonetically and then understand the text from an acting point of view. But it keeps it interesting.

What is it like playing in the specially-built Starlighthalle?
Amazing! Lots of fun!

What are the Bochum audiences like?
Great! They love Starlight Express over here.

How far does the skating element of the show make Starlight Express different from performing in other musical theatre productions?
It is a world apart from any other production, I’m sure! It’s like singing a musical whilst running a marathon – in a heavy shiny costume.

Did you know how to skate before you appeared in Starlight?
No, so I had to take part in the usual skate school – which was very hard, very funny and very painful!

What are you like on your roller skates now?
Like a glittery whirling dervish.

Have you experienced any skating-related injuries?
Surprisingly no – just general pain!

How do you get about offstage during the show – do you keep your skates on?
Yes, it’s so much quicker to get around.

Have you any disasters onstage – skating-related or otherwise?
I’ve been involved in many – skating related, technically related, musically related…

What is your favourite song of the show?
‘Hilf mir versteh’n’ (‘Make Up My Heart’).

What is your favourite part of the show?
The Act 1 skate-around.

What do you like most and least about performing this role?
I love feeling like an 80’s rockstar every day but I worry in all three races, every show, that my wheels might fall-off…

Are there any other roles in the show that you would like to play?
I would like to play Ashley (the smoking car)

What inspired you to pursue a career in musical theatre?
The musical The Phantom of the Opera.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Betty Laine.

What would your dream role be?
Rum Tum Tugger in Cats.

Do you miss anything about home when you are performing in Bochum?
Yes. I miss my family, friends and food.

How would you spend your perfect day off?
Making music, art and food – but at the moment I’m totally involved in arranging the Charity Gala. We plan to perform a lot of famous songs as a journey through musical history. It’s a lot of fun, but also hard work! We a lot to practise, and I’m sure it will be a great night!

For more information on Starlight Express in Bochum, visit the official show website.

Posted on: 26th October 2011

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