Alex Beaumont discusses his experience playing the lead role in smash hit touring production DREAMBOATS AND MINISKIRTS
When former Windsor Boys’ School pupil Alex Beaumont returned to his hometown last August to play the lead in hit touring musical Dreamboats and Miniskirts, it was a milestone moment for the young actor.
Alex played the lead role of Bobby in the show, which launched its UK tour at the Theatre Royal Windsor.
26-year-old Alex was proud to tread the boards in front of his native audience.
“We were opening a new show, it was the first time I’d played a lead and it was in my home town theatre, so that was really amazing,” says Alex, whose previous credits include playing Prince Valentine in the UK tour of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and reaching the final stage of Bootcamp as part of pop group Universal Squared on series seven of The X Factor.
Dreamboats and Miniskirts is produced by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield in association with Universal Music and is filled with music, humour and nostalgia. Dreamboats and Miniskirts features a host of 1960s hits such as Twist and Shout, Handy Man, Pretty Woman and One Fine Day.
The production continues from Dreamboats and Petticoats and is a standalone show. Here, Alex Beaumont shares his experiences of the show and how it feels to play his first leading role.
How’s the tour going?
It’s going really well and we’re all enjoying the tour. The ‘60s music is what really makes it. I have a soft spot for the character of Bobby and I do identify with him. We’re similar because we’re typical boys; we don’t really think about things, like girls’ feelings.
He’s an ignorant boy [laughs].
The cast must know each other really well. Is it like one big family?
Yeah, it really is. It’s also amazing to have a live band on stage, because you feel like you have that support. Everyone gets on great. We all go for meals together or stay in the same ‘digs’ together so yeah, it really is like one big family.
For those who haven’t seen the show, tell us a bit about it and your character.
The show focuses on Bobby and Laura. They’ve just had massive success with Dreamboats and Petticoats and in Miniskirts you see how their relationship - both professionally and romantically - is going to work and whether it will actually continue to work long term. You also have recurring characters like Norman and Sue, who are married and getting along nicely. And then there’s Donna and Ray.
Ray is now working in a salon in Bond Street and Donna is working in her boutique, and they’re going through every day relationship struggles too.
They’re all a little bit older and everyone’s matured - apart from Bobby.
It’s a show set in the 1960s. Do you find the audiences are from that generation or does the show appeal to a younger audience too?
A bit of both actually. Generally, the audiences are people who were the age of the characters in the show in the 1960s. Most of the people we meet after the show tell us how it took them back to their youth and that it was really nice to reminisce.
That generation are then taking their children and their children’s children to come and see the show as well. We’ve had young children in the audience who know all the words to the songs, which is brilliant. So it just goes to show that even if you weren’t around in that era, you can still appreciate it.
Has your music and fashion taste changed because of the show?
I’ve always loved ‘60s music, though before I played the role of Bobby it was more jazz and soul; Ben E. King, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and all those great singers.
In the show you’ve got Roy Orbison, Smokey Robinson and other amazing singers who you don’t really get to hear these days.
Their songs have stood the test of time and that’s why I like this kind of music. As for fashion, I do like the Chelsea boots that I get to wear every night and having a nice sharp suit to wear is always a good thing.
You've said in the past that you've grown as the show has gone on, how have you changed since your very first performance last August?
I’ve definitely relaxed into the role and what has really helped is finding those similarities between you as a person, and as a character. It makes it a lot easier to relate to. Plus, it’s taught me not to be so hard on myself.
Because it’s such a massive role and no one’s superhuman, you learn how to conserve your energy, but still make sure you give enough for every show. And those are skills that will hopefully continue to develop throughout the rest of my career.
Do you like being on the road? Where are you most looking forward to visiting on tour?
I love being on the road. I’m really looking forward to going to Manchester, which is where I trained [Alex studied at the Arden School of Theatre]. It’s going to be amazing to go back there and see some old friends who I’ve not seen in years and who are coming to see the show. It’s such an amazing city and one of the best places to live.
You went home to Windsor again in March 2015, having opened the tour there last August – was that just as good the second time around?
I was really looking forward to going back to Windsor and seeing my hometown crowd.
That’s what made the first time so special; we were opening a new show, it was the first time I’d played a lead and it was in my hometown theatre, so that was really amazing.
All my family were there to see me when we played in Windsor for the second time in March, as well as my extended family, as they’re all still quite local to the area.
My grandparents always come and see me. They’ve been to Cardiff and all over the place. They’re my super fans.