Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
Part of Grease re-written for star, Russell Grant
IT TAKES a very special person to get Britain’s favourite musical re-written - but Russell Grant is no ordinary person.
Ever since he was shot from a canon in a classic moment of TV gold on last year’s Strictly Come Dancing, he has become a national treasure.
That’s why the producers of Grease have re-written their tried, tested and terrifically successful show to accommodate the larger than life 61-year-old who will be starring as a very different Teen Angel when the show comes to Wycombe next week. Normally a singing part, it has been re-jigged into a Russell-style singing and dancing role so that fans can get more of the sequinned star.
Russell said: "Usually it is a singing role but they have concentrated more on the dancing for me and put in a big routine which was very important to me.
"It’s absolutely wonderful. I am loving it, is such fun."
Like his fans, Russell just can’t get enough of it, even if he did need a prod from the Bucks Free Press to ensure he made it on stage in time when the show was on its South Coast leg of the tour.
Running late, after being held up in traffic, and standing shivering outside a wet and windy theatre in Portsmouth because he could not get a mobile signal inside, Russell was due on stage in 15 minutes when we started the interview.
He exuded enthusiasm for life, his new, role, dancing and his excitement was infectious.
It was me who had to wrap up the interview, with a dozen questions still to be asked, because I didn’t want to be responsible for him missing his latest big entrance.
With that reminder he’d gone. Off to do what he does best - spreading that warm smile of his around the theatre and making sure that his audience left wearing that same engaging grin.
The only time he bristles - and even then only slightly - is at the suggestion that it is his appearance on Strictly that has made him.
"I was an entertainer long before then, hasn’t anyone sent you my biography?" he said.
He then reels off an impressive list of parts - all before he became a household name as an astrologer.
He became a fixture on daytime television and was known as the Astrologer Royal but when it came to a choice between stage or stars again the lure of the theatre lights won.
He said: "When I was offered Strictly I was offered my own [astrology] show in America but I wanted to do Strictly and I am so glad I did, but never in a million years did I think it would work out the way it has.
"I never could have envisaged it would take off like it has done."
There are more Strictly commitments in the offing and a fitness DVD with his TV dancing partner Flavia Cacace as well.
Russell said: "The reason I did Strictly was because I wanted to dance and be on stage again and Teen Angel has given me that opportunity."
And if returning to the stage is like returning to his roots, performing at the Wycombe Swan feels like coming home.
Born in nearby Hillingdon, he went to drama school in Ruislip while his father Frank used to run a car accessories shop in Castle Street, High Wycombe.
There may be plenty of the Grant family in the audience at the Swan so if you want to secure your seat....
Grease is at The Wycombe Swan in St Mary Street, High Wycombe from October 22-27 at 7.30pm until Thursday and on Friday 5.30pm and 8.30pm and Saturday 5pm and 8.30pm. Tickets range from £15 to £39. Book at 01494 51200 or go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk
For more leisure stories see www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/leisure for I love my local, food reviews for restaurants in the area and more interviews.
Comments are closed on this article.