Strictly Come Dancing favourite and television actor, Danny Mac stars alongside French-Canadian stage and screen star, Audrey Brisson in Amélie The Musical, based on the much-loved, five-time Oscar®-nominated film. They talk to Quays Life ahead of the tour’s stop at Manchester Opera House.
What can you tell us about the show?
Danny Mac: It’s a show with a very simple meaning that I think we can all relate to. It’s about how we connect with people and the way in which we do so, which can affect all of us. You see that happen through one young lady’s eyes. Seeing how she affects all the people around her is absolutely incredible.
Audrey Brisson: It is such a fabulous story, and I love the film it’s based on. Amelie is a fascinating character. Her imagination. Her reluctance to give up. She grows up thinking she can’t connect with anyone and that she’ll always be alone, yet she’s got this positivity within her. I love her positivity, her perseverance and her way of seeing a situation that’s potentially very dark and then bringing some colours into it. I think that’s something I need to hold on to.
Danny, you’re playing Nino, what’s he like?
Danny Mac: He’s an extraordinary character. He’s such an introvert. He’s similar to me in so many ways. He’s a man of few words and he’s constantly figuring everything out, but when he asks questions he’s so poetic, so metaphorical. I find him fascinating.
The film won awards and is loved by so many people. What does adding music and putting the show on stage bring to the story?
Danny Mac: This show’s alive. It’s pulsing.
Audrey Brisson: It’s the connection. You can sit on your sofa and watch the film, and you’ll still be able to enjoy the beauty and be moved by it, but when you come to the show you have real people singing for you, looking at you, talking to the audience. We invite you into the story. I think it’s great to remind people that we are, as humans, all in this together. No matter how lonely you might feel, you’ve got someone next to you listening to that same story. When you’re in an auditorium of people who will all experience the story differently because they have their own journeys, you’ve got a room filled with different interpretations of what it is to be human. I think that’s quite potent and wonderful.
Danny Mac: That’s what I love about the theatre; that auditorium is a space for everyone to have a connection and to have their own feelings about the story they’re seeing and the people performing it. That’s why I still have a passion for it, because it’s terrifying, it’s scary, but it has that open mind and open heart.
Are you excited to be touring the show?
Danny Mac: I think it’s one of the most important and exciting things you can ever do, because you’re taking a story that you’ve grown to love, and that you are passionate about, out on the road to share it with people. It’s one of the oldest forms of entertainment, to tell a story, and the silence when you do that in a theatre is magical. It’s so energized.
Danny, you competed in Strictly Come Dancing back in 2016. How was that experience?
Danny Mac: It was terrifying for many reasons, but I got to learn a skill that I hadn’t been able to learn before. My first stage job out of that was On The Town, which I wouldn’t have done in a million years if I hadn’t had those four months intensive training as a dancer. It was something I could invest in whilst also performing to a brand new audience. My dance partner, Oti, has a great mind and a great work ethic. She’s an incredible person. To see what she can do on the stage and the way she told stories through dance was something that really resonated with me when I was on the show. I think we learned a lot from each other in that sense. I’d love to direct a show that she choreographs, one day. That’s a real dream of mine.
Finally, what can audiences expect from a trip to see Amelie?
Audrey Brisson: Michael Fentiman, the director, has done a wonderful job of bringing the magical aspect of the film to the stage. There’s this wonderful moment in the movie where Amelie melts and turns into a puddle of water. We can’t do that on stage, but it feels as though we’ve got that same enchanting feeling.
Danny Mac: Audiences can expect a beautiful story told in the most magical of ways with a company of some of the most talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. It’s a sheer joyous experience from beginning to end.
Is there anywhere on the tour that you’re particularly looking forward to?
Danny Mac: I’m looking forward to Manchester. It’s is where all my northern family are from. My wife is from just down the road and I lived there for years, so I’ve got loads of friends and family up that way.