Interview With…Neil McDermott

We chatted to Neil about starring in Pretty Woman the Musical at the Savoy Theatre.

How have you found being part of Pretty Woman The Musical? Well, it has to be said, first and foremost, being part of the show through these very harsh times for our industry has been a Godsend. I feel very lucky to have had a job to go back to as soon as theatres were reopened to be able to simply survive. I know it has been incredibly difficult for lots of performers and we have lost some incredible actors to other careers as they simply couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Aside from that, we have a great group of people at The Savoy working on and offstage, and I feel honoured to have been in the original cast of the show bringing it to British audiences for the first time. I love seeing the faces of the audiences at the end of the show singing along to the title track, and I love working with these great people.

What was it that made you want to be part of the production initially? To be a part of an original cast of a show is always really exciting as you get to create the show afresh. To be a part of this show, that was so successful on Broadway and is an adaptation of one of the biggest (and best) movies of all time, has felt like joining a bigger family than usual. You get a gut feeling when auditioning for shows and getting offers to be a part them and I had a very strong gut feeling that this was going to be a great show to be a part of, and, thankfully, my gut was right.

How have you found the audience’s reaction to the show night after night? We have been one of the lucky shows to have sold really well since we came back after Lockdown and a lot of that is to do with word of mouth from people telling their friends what a fun night out they’ve had with us at Pretty Woman. 99 out of 100 nights we have standing ovations with everyone joining in singing along to the final song, which everyone knows the words to. I’ve also personally enjoyed a few boos here and there for my portrayal of the show’s villain “Stuckey”. Audiences love to hate a bad guy and I give them every opportunity to do that here.

Do you have a favourite song and/or moment in the show? I think ‘On a Night Like Tonight’ that Bob Harms sings and performs with some of the male ensemble and Vivian is probably the most surprising and exciting number. Amie Atkinson singing ‘I Can’t Go Back’ is always glorious. And I have a soft spot for the song ‘Freedom’ that Danny Mac’s Edward sings in the latter half of the first act as his character begins to emotionally change. That wasn’t one ‘Moment’ was it?

For those who haven’t seen it – how would you describe the show? t’s the most romantic show in town based on the hit film with a score by the legendary Bryan Adams. It’s very loyal to all the big moments in the film but also has some surprises in store too. We have a killer cast and crew smashing it every night. People often say its funnier than they expected it to be too.

What would you say makes Pretty Woman The Musical stand out? Without talking about myself at all in any way. I would say it’s a musical that is acted beautifully. There is a lot of book scenes in this show and whether it be the leads in complex duologues or the ensemble in comedy cameos, it is delivered superbly.

By Emma Clarendon

Pretty Woman the Musical continues to play at the Savoy Theatre . To book tickets click here or visit: Love, Theatre Tickets Direct, London Theatre DirectFrom the Box Office and Last

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