Nancy Stevens chats to Brian Conley ahead of Cinderella
I have followed Brian Conley’s career since seeing him in Jolson in the mid 90s, so I leapt at the chance to interview him at Milton Keynes Theatre’s panto press day for Cinderella.
He is charming, amusing, and regaled me with his life story, peppered with some showbiz tales.
A council house boy, he was in Equity at twelve and became a Blue Coat at Butlins, where he began to hone his trade. Primarily known as a comedian, it was Jolson in 1995 that catapulted him to fame.
Conley’s advice to aspiring performers is “learn your craft, don’t seek fame and have a genuine work ethic to perform.”
At the interview he was in full Strictly mode, embracing the experience, but finding it almost as hard as his role in Barnum where he had to learn to tight-wire walk and was on stage constantly.
He sadly left Strictly in Week Five. He seems in disbelief that he can count someone as amazing as Cameron Mackintosh as a friend, following his roles in Oliver, Chitty and Me and My Girl.
His passion for panto is undimmed.
He stars in Cinderella from December 9 to January 14 alongside West End star Lauren Hall and fashionista Gok Wan – the Fairy Gokmother – for the third year.
Their chemistry clearly works, as last year they took £1.6 million in four weeks.
The show is produced by Qdos Entertainment and you can join Cinders as she transforms from rags to riches, outwits her very Ugly Sisters and, with the help of her best friend Buttons and very magical Fairy Gokmother, wins the heart of the dashing Prince Charming.
Tickets are selling fast so don’t wait to book for this year’s must-see pantomime featuring a coach-load of audience participation, laughter, magic, stunning costumes, dazzling choreography, and plenty of Strictly surprises.
Listen to Nancy Stevens’ award winning local arts show on Secklow Sounds 105.5FM on Sunday nights from 6pm-8pm. Her interviews with Brian, Gok and Lauren will air on December 3rd.