Rhydian plays the sadistic dentist, Orin Scrivello in Little Shop of Horrors. Rhydian rose to fame as a runaway success on ITV’s X Factor and has sold in excess of a million albums worldwide. He has released 6 albums and duetted and performed with some of the biggest names in the music industry including Michael Bublé, Taylor Swift, Enrique Iglesias, Celine Dion and Nicole Scherzinger. Rhydian’s many theatre credits include Grease, We Will Rock You, The War Of The Worlds, Jesus Christ Superstar and the 40th Anniversary Tour of The Rocky Horror Show. Rhydian has just completed his third solo UK tour and is a Classical Brit Award nominee.
When did you first realise you could sing?
I was born and bred in Wales, the land of song. Growing up, we were always encouraged to compete in singing competitions, which were a big part of the culture in Wales. Essentially, you perform a song for a panel and I learnt very quickly to stand up and sing in front of people; I liked the attention to be honest.
“When I was 14, my mum took me to see an opera in my town. As soon as I get home, I started to mimic the sounds I heard in that beautiful opera and my parents said ‘you’ve got a sound there’, so I started getting professional tuition. Then, for my gap year, I went to South Africa and was trained by one of the best tenors in the country.
Did you always want to be in musicals?
It was my passion growing up. The main reason I went on television was so that casting directors would see me so I could be on the stage. I never thought in a million years that I would get a recording contract. Theatre has been, and still is, my biggest love and the way I sing is quite theatrical, so that helped me to be seen for roles.
What is it you love and hate most about touring?
I love the fact you get different audiences each time; I really enjoy seeing how they change with each place. The further north you go, the more vocal the reaction. Then, when you hit Glasgow, they get crazy! It’s fascinating for an actor to experience that.
I don’t enjoy the arduous task of finding digs and booking hotels, but that’s the small price you pay for doing an amazing job that you love.
What attracted you to this show?
The Little Shop of Horrors is iconic. Everyone knows the awesome soundtrack. Interestingly, I first auditioned for the part of Seymour, but I thought that the dentist was much more up my street. I’m pleased I said that, because now here I am playing a part that really suits me. So it was the role in the end that really sealed the deal.
I’m a sadistic dentist who’s a bit of a bad boy; I wear leathers and ride a motorbike. I am deeply insecure, but I mask that with a swaggering bravado and by hurting people, especially in the dentist chair…
There’s a scene between me and Seymour where I laugh myself to death. I want to give him an oral examination and I use my giggle gas mask and it gets stuck. I asphyxiate and laugh myself to death. It is lots of fun to do. The company is great and extremely talented, so any moment on stage alongside them is brilliant.
Why do you think The Little Shop of Horrors still has such a cult following?
Probably the science fiction elements and the unbelievably catchy tunes. It’s also quite dark and irreverent and that always makes for a good cult hit. It seems to have been passed on from one generation to another. Doing The Rocky Horror Show, I experienced first-hand the amazing cult fan base a show can have and I can’t wait to immerse myself in that again with Little Shop of Horrors.
If you could play any role on stage in the future, what would it be?
Sweeney Todd, but when I’m a little older. I love Sondheim. It suits me vocally too. I do play the bad guys a lot, so I’m going through the repertoire, so to speak. My new album is gong to be called A New Dawn: The Dark Songs of Broadway, so I would like to play a few more dark roles in the future.
Little Shop Of Horrors shows at New Alexandra Theatre from 27-30 September.
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