Way back in late 2014, I was a HUGE fan of one Miss Carrie Hope Fletcher (and to this day I still find myself having the occasional binge of her videos!). At this point, Carrie was on tour with War of the Worlds, and made a video with her fellow cast member Jonny Vickers - the following January, Jonny set up his own YouTube channel (I Read Books in Nightclubs), and ever since then, I've been an avid viewer and 'Cheebopper' (Jonny's name for his viewers!). I am therefore very excited to introduce Jonny as today's interviewee!
Em: If you were stuck on a desert island with a book, an actor/actress and a musical soundtrack, what/who would they be?
Jonny: The book would have to be animal farm: I've read it a dozen times and It gets better with every read. I'd have to take Carrie Hope Fletcher; not only is she a fabulous actress, she is a wonderful friend and she would do a brilliant job of keeping my spirits up on the Island! Musical soundtrack would be the original cast recording of Sweeney Todd. I could use it to inspire me to find a passing ship and get home to London (hopefully I won't carry out anymore of the plot when I get back...)!
Em: What is your favourite quote from a musical?
Jonny: "Why do you insist
You must hear the words,
When you know I cannot give you words?
Not the ones you need."
(Ten points if you can name the musical!)
Em: Who inspired you to get into theatre, and who inspires you now?
Jonny: There is a huge amateur dramatics scene in Aberdeen (where I'm from) and a lot of of very inspirational people leading those groups; if it wasn't for them I certainly wouldn't have chosen this career path. I am inspired by everyone in the theatre business. This profession is hard and it demands an awful lot from you. You have to spend long periods of time out of work, you have to be available at a moments notice, you have to spend years not knowing what your future will look like. Anyone who loves theatre enough to go through that inspires me.
Em: Do you read reviews of shows you're in, or would you rather not know?
Jonny: I know I shouldn't, but I always read reviews. I was in a show some years ago which got some really good and some really bad reviews. I ended up being completely unsure if I was any good in the show or not! In those situations, you have to trust in your abilities and do your best work; That's all you can do.
Em: If you could create your own show for yourself to star in, what would it be?
Jonny: I'd love to play a historical figure. I'd probably write myself the role of a famous King, then realise halfway through writing it I'm more suited to the court jester role!
Em: Where do you get your bow ties from?!
Jonny: Here, there, and everywhere! Vintage shops, markets... I've even had some knitted and sent to me!
Em: If you could go back in time and see one show on opening night, what would it be?
Jonny: Without a shadow of a doubt, Stephen Sondheim's Company.
Em: What is your favourite role you've ever played?
Jonny: Eddie in Blood Brothers. I understudied the role for some years and had a wonderful time doing my normal track (a character called Perkins) but playing Eddie was very special.
Em: What advice would you give to people like me who want to be in theatre when they're older?
Jonny: Prepare for the hard times. If your career in theatre is a building, the shows you do are the walls. They make up a decent sized part of the building, but the vast majority of the building is space. That's what a career in theatre needs. Learn to be patient, and learn to believe in yourself. If things aren't going your way, create your own opportunities.
Em: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Jonny: Not really. As I've got older I've started doing more thorough physical warm ups, even when performing in plays. That's less about superstition and more about my achey joints!
Em: Have you got anything to say to people who use phones in theatre?
Jonny: STOP IT! It is so disrespectful to the people around you who have paid good money to watch a show; they don't want their view spoiled by a phone shining out through the auditorium. It's also very distracting from the stage to see someone's face lit up in the dark. Switch it off!
Em: If you could play any character (regardless of age, race, gender etc) in any show, who would it be and why?
Jonny: I'd love to have a go at playing Mary Poppins (I'd be terrible but I'd have a great time!)
Em: Do you find it difficult to balance YouTube and theatre?
Jonny: Very! I tour a lot in the UK and abroad, and finding a decent wifi connection isn't always easy. When you have lines and songs to learn, thinking up a new video every week isn't easy! However, I do love a deadline.
Em: What musicals are you loving at the moment?
Jonny: Here comes an incredibly obvious answer: Hamilton! It's so great to see exciting theatre breaking the traditional mould.
Em: Is there anything else you'd like to say to my readers?
Jonny: If you have any questions about working in theatre, send me a tweet (@jonnyvickers) and I'll be happy to answer! I occasionally run periscope Q&A's on theatre, and often talk about it on my YouTube channel (I Read Books In Nightclubs)
I usually plug people's social media at the bottom of my interviews, but Jonny seems to have done that for himself - I'll have to settle for "see above"! Oh, and if you can name that musical from earlier in the interview, give us a shout on Twitter!