Next week, just in time for Pride, He Shoots He Scores, a new musical comedy about the world of gay football opens at the Above The Stag Theatre. From the team behind the huge hit Get ‘Em Off this show has every thing you could want from a summer smash. Dave Cross had a half-time orange with cast member Richard Watkins to get the final score.
Hi Richard, how are the rehearsals going for He Shoots He Scores?
Rehearsals are always the most exciting part of being in a show, especially when it’s a brand new musical. It’s such a treat to be able to create a character from scratch. Things are moving very quickly and we have a lot of material to get through every day. First and foremost, we are having a lot of fun. The musical is hilarious, sexy and witty and so our rehearsals are full of hilarity, sex and wit!
What’s the story?
He Shoots He Scores is about London’s worst gay football team, who care more about their antics off the pitch than how many goals they score on it. That is until northern lad Joe moves down to London, joins the team and encourages them to set their sights higher. Soon enough, the team are off on tour to compete in an all-gay tournament. However, much drama and comedy ensue. Oh, and a lot of the show is set in the changing room, so you can expect a lot of boy’s banter and cheeky fun.
Tell us about your character?
I play Charlie, Joe’s boyfriend who stays in their rural hometown when Joe moves to London. Essentially left behind at the beginning of the show, Joe and Charlie’s relationship might be doomed forever. However, this is a musical and of course anything is possible. Without giving too much away, a twist of fate brings the boys back into each other’s lives and… well, you’ll just have to come along to find out what happens next.
It’s a musical so the songs are obviously important, what are they like?
The songs are written by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper who are the genius team who created last year’s hit summer musical Get Em Off and the now infamous Above The Stag pantos. Their music and scripts are always real crowd pleasers and sure enough, the songs in He Shoots He Scores are hilarious, catchy and totally current. It’s hard to pick a favourite, but the opening number perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the show, and will definitely leave the audience wanting more and I’m not just talking about music now!
What can you tell us about the rest of the cast?
Above The Stag have a reputation for casting talented and beautiful actors and this summer they certainly have not disappointed. Jamie Barwood, who plays Joe, is an incredible performer and perfect leading man. I’m very lucky to be playing his onstage boyfriend. The whole cast are a great bunch of guys and we’ve already become a close knit team both on and off stage. We’re all led by our wonderful director, Robert McWhir.
How much actual football experience, playing or watching did you have before doing the play?
My Dad desperately wanted me to love football, and I tried really hard. I even went to football camp one summer, but let’s just say it was less football and more camp… Once I discovered musical theatre at school I was a lost cause, sorry Dad. Being part of He Shoots He Scores has given my a newfound appreciation for the beautiful game, and for the beautiful men who play it. You may even see me in the crowd at Wembley next season.
You’ve been in a wide variety of plays from the Chemsex Monologues to Tolkien the Musical via Rocky Horror, what are your aims for the future?
Yes, I’ve had a really exciting year or so, including the Australian tour of the Chemsex Monologues and lots of great projects here in London. After the summer, I am hoping to create a one-man show with Dragonflies Theatre, the company behind Chemsex Monologues. I can’t give too many details yet, but watch this space. For now, I’m excited for a fun-filled couple of months down in Vauxhall. See you there!