Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The One That You'll Want!

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The One That You'll Want!

Article excerpt

Byline: By Sam Wonfor

To coin the tuneful finale phrase which has rolled off the tongue of teenagers since the late 1970s - Ben Richards seems to go together with roles associated with John Travolta like ramma lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong.

He has spent hundreds of hours portraying Tony Manero, in Saturday Night Fever, and Danny Zukko, in Grease - the parts which labelled Travolta a superstar towards the end of the disco decade - and unsurprisingly says he's more than happy to continue to do so.

"Although I think I'll have to put on a few pounds if they bring Pulp Fiction to the stage," jokes the actor who will be taking centre stage in the role of Danny when the popular production arrives at the Empire Theatre Sunderland this week.

"It's nice for me because even though John played both the roles, they are so incredibly different. They both bring with them their own challenges.

"Tony Manero is a bit of a more dramatic role and very physically demanding, whereas Danny is just great fun.

"I loved both the films. I just thought they were amazing. I remember the first time I saw Grease years and years ago and I fell in love with it."

Ben, who returned from a three-week stay in Japan with a different production of Grease last November, says the far east crowd went mad for the Danny-Sandy love story - and is sure that North-East audiences will do the same.

"The audiences in Tokyo absolutely loved it - although it took us a while to get used to their reaction.

"They are so polite and simply clapped politely after each song during the show, which was a bit unnerving because we had been used to people going mad.

"But then at the end, they wouldn't let us off the stage. They went absolutely crazy. They obviously save up their appreciation until you take your bow.

"I think it travels so well because it's such a timeless and universal story - and has such a great soundtrack to go along with it.

"Generation after generation of youngsters just seem to fall in love with the film, and because Grease was originally written for the stage, it works so well in the theatre. It's a joy to do. …

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