Having seen one show (Sorrows of Satan) at the Tristan Bates Theatre a while back, I was excited to hear about another show opening there in a few weeks' time - "Pete 'n' Keely", an musical about two divorced singers on a 1960s American TV show. The two-man show previously played Off-Broadway, and makes it's London (and European!) premiere on Tuesday 2nd May. I caught up with Katie Kerr and David Bardsley, who play the (only) two characters - here's what they had to say...
Em: What are you most excited for about Pete ‘n’ Keely?
Katie: I have always worked with a large cast so I am excited to have the opportunity to be in a 2 hander! Very exciting, as well as super scary.
David: Hard to pick one thing. There's a shirt I'm looking forward to wearing. Apart from that, it's a piece which works on two levels: on the surface it's fun and funny but there's also a subtext, an undercurrent, which I think will satisfy both the audience, and Katy and me as actors. I've been married a long time, and there's a lot in Pete 'n' Keeley, and in their relationship, which make me smile - sometimes with amusement, sometimes with painful recognition!
Em: What is your favourite thing about performing?
Katie: Rehearsals!!! A time to play and explore. I love once you’re in the run too of course as you get to hear the audience reactions to your hard work but rehearsals are so much fun.
Em: Why should people come and see Pete ‘n’ Keely?
Katie: Because David and I are going to be working our socks off to bring you an amazing, fun packed joyous night in the theatre! And there are some cracking numbers!
David: Because it's funny, universal, poignant, entertaining and the Tristan Bates is so easy to get to… And I'm in it!
Em: What is your favourite quote from any show you’ve been in?
David: The entire libretto of Follies. I was fortunate enough to be in a gala production at Drury Lane 20 years ago. OR, from Billy Elliot:
Billy: (reading) "Billy Elliot... is queer."
One of the best (and cheapest) gags ever.
Em: Why is it important that people support smaller theatres like the Tristan Bates as well as larger London venues?
Katie: Small theatres are integral to London’s theatre community. They provide support and space for artists to create and develop work and to explore artistic choice. Small theatres are now providing some of the best theatre London has seen.
Em: What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in performing and theatre?
Katie: Never let anyone tell you you’re not good enough or that you'll never do it! Anything can happen as long as you believe in yourself. I was constantly told I shouldn't go into theatre and get a proper job...that just made me want it more. Also, I have learnt so much from other actors...always listen. Experience buys wisdom and I like to listen to others. James "Jimmy" Hayes is my hero. If you have the chance to work with him absorb everything!
David: Get a 'fall-back' skill or qualification. However well it's going, you'll need it one day.
Em: What is your favourite role you’ve ever played?
David: I enjoy different roles for different reasons, but the older I get, though, the more inclined I am to say Enjolras in Les Miserables.
Em: Is there anything else you’d like to say to my readers?
Katie: Come and see our show!!!
David: Come and see Pete 'n' Keeley and tell all of your friends to come too!
David Bardsley and Katie Kerr as Pete Bartel and Keely Stevens in Pete 'n' Keeley