Cult musical theatre star David Bedella can’t wait to return to Milton Keynes Theatre where he is at the helm of top pantomime Peter Pan.
David, the award-winning star of provocative musicals Jerry Springer, Hedwig, and The Rocky Horror Show, plus a Holby City regular, is playing the evil Captain Hook opposite the anarchic and unpredictable entertainer, Bradley Walsh.
And while his rich brocade costume will be full of frills and flounces he won’t be appearing in his Frank’n’Furter trademark stockings and suspenders.
The actor and singer, who hails from Chicago, has just finished playing the blood-letting barber, Sweeney Todd, in a critically acclaimed London production.
He’s now in rehearsals for Peter Pan where he has to cope with the antics of Britain’s top TV star and a motley crew of pirates from Britain’s Got Talent’s Flawless, one of the country’s major dance troupes.
Stage Review met up with the performer at a star-spangled press launch.
“I think Hook falls in line right with all those other characters that I’ve played!” declares David.
“He’s larger than life, he’s extraordinary, he’s extreme. That’s the kinda stuff I like to do.
“It’s about pushing the boundaries and being bigger than you are. How crazy can I make him? How eccentric? It makes the work fun.
“And this show is going to be really fun. I’m being reunited with my boys, Flawless.
“We did panto for the first time together last year and we seriously fell in love with each other. I mean we’re all such good buddies.
“I kept nagging them to teach me some of their choreography and the great thing is that this year they’ve put us together so I can be integrated into some of their numbers!
“I’m thrilled! I’m way too old to be doing this (he celebrated his 52nd birthday the day after we met) and I’m going to be trying to dance with these 20-year-olds!
“I’ve never worked with Bradley before but I’m expecting great things.”
I warn David about the “Bradley Effect” a local phenomenon where the entertainer reduces sane audiences to babbling, laughter-inducing, wrecks by his off-the-wall behaviour in panto.
“Listen, I’ve worked with the crazy ones like Christopher Biggins and Matthew Kelly. It’ll be fine.
“The nice thing about panto is that you can break down the fourth wall. If someone does something funny and you laugh, the audience goes right along with you.
“I’m having a new wig made for the role. Less curls and the hair swept back with sideburns. I want this Hook to be sexy.
“Of course, I’m going to scare the kids, because he’s the baddie, but I hope they’ll love him too.
“The script is going to be great. My dialogue is going to be tailor-made for me.
“Panto was one of the first things I saw when I came to this country. I thought it was great. We don’t have anything like this at home.
“But I didn’t really understand the British sense of humour as well as I do now.
“When I arrived in England a friend said that I had to watch Withnail And I.
“I sat and stared at the screen and all my friends were roaring with laughter. I kept thinking: ‘I don’t know what they’re laughing at.’
“I watch it now and I can’t get through it because I’m laughing so much”.
After panto David is back off to America to spend some time with his teenage son and his family as well as work in New York.
“It’s time for dad to be there a little bit more. I’ve lived in the UK for 13 years but I go back and forth.
“I’d done Broadway for 11 years and my partner at the time was a minister and he was being transferred to the UK. He asked me to come over with him and I thought, why not?
“We’d love to take Sweeney Todd into the West End at some point despite Michael Ball’s production and the coming of the Emma Thompson production.
“We got five-star reviews across the board. People loved it. We were a sell out and had to extend the run.
“Sarah Ingram was probably the best Mrs Lovett that I’ve ever seen. It would be good to reprise the part.”
Peter Pan runs from December 5 to January 11.