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CLIVE ROWE

Playing Jethro in Prince of Egypt on the West End stage is the perfect part for theatre and screen star Clive Rowe – and yet, he might so easily have instead been a star of the kitchen!

BB: Hello Clive, thank you for taking time to talk to us, your day’s mujst be really full at the moment.

CR: It’s a pleasure to chat to you and to be on Box Office Radio and on the great Encore! Website. Yes, it is busy but that’s great because we are coming out of a long time in which we were all desperate to be even a bit busy.

BB: How have you coped?

CR: I think that one of the special things about the people in entertainment is that they – we – are all optimists and you can spend your whole day telling yourself that tomorrow is going to be good. To be fair there were still scripts to learn – you just didn’t know when you were actually going to perform them.

BB: How are you enjoying playing Jethro in Price of Egypt?

CR: It’s fantastic. It is such a massive show with a huge cast, a big orchestra and a brilliant team behind the scenes. It is hard to describe just how big it is and how spectacular it is. You just have to see it to believe it but I can tell you that is spectacular. The storyline, the scripting, the direction, choreography, lighting, costumes, I could go on and on. To be a part of it is brilliant and exciting and if I could pick any part it would be Jethro. I love becoming Jethro almost every day.

BB: So, it’s worth getting a ticket then?

CR: Absolutely. I’m not just doing the marketing, I mean it. People come back to see it over and over again. As I said there is some great music and in the second half there is an amazing show-stopper song – and I sing it. (He laughs)

BB: You have been around for a while now and had some great roles both on stage and on screen. You became a very familiar face because you had a regular part in the excellent Tracey Beaker TV series. Did that make much difference to you career?

CR: Yes, it did. When you are on stage a thousand or more people see you at every performance. When you are on TV there are a million or more and they see you regularly so I still get stopped in the street and asked about Tracey Beaker. That’s nice of people to be interested but there is always the danger that people think that it is the only thing you have ever done.

BB: That could be a problem but, of course, you have done so many things that in the business you are respected for being an excellent all-round actor and entertainer and yet, I understand that you might have become a chef instead.

CR: You’ve done your research. Yes, when I was about 13 or 14 I told my Mum that I wanted to be a chef. She talked to me and said that there would be far too many cooks around, it would be too competitive and work would be hard to come by. So, I decided to become an actor and here I am in a career that has many other actors, very competitive and work hard to come by. It’s a good job I didn’t become a chef!

BB: We are all delighted that you did not become a chef too, not because you can’t cook but we would have not enjoyed your talent on the stage – that good goes especially for the good people of Hackney.

CR: Thank you – you are talking about the panto season, aren’t you. I think this will be my 14th panto at Hackney Empire and I play Dame every time. I did so at other theatres before that but Hackney Empire’s annual panto is such a traditional that I just have to be a part of it every year.

I love playing Dame – a bloke in a frock, larger than life, obviously a bloke and just there for the laughs. It is great fun, I would miss it if I didn’t do it. Hackney Empire is a great theatre – I urge everyone to go and see it.

BB: Does this mean that you will have to give up Jethro for at least a while.

CR: Sadly yes, I wish I could do both but that would not be possible and I am committed to the Hackney panto. I shall miss Jethro though, very much and hopefully we will not have seen the last of each other.

BB: What are your hopes for the future?

CR: Well, there are offers on the table so I think – I hope – that 2022 is going to be busy too. I think I shall be back at Hackney Empire again next year but between this panto and the next there could be a return to the West End, we shall find out soon.

If I really hope for anything it is that the world gets over this pandemic and that theatres can recover, actors and performers can also recover and audiences will be able to go to the theatre whenever and wherever they want.

It has been tough for everyone so here’s to a better future for all.

BB: We all join you in that Clive and we would love to talk to you again when you get into rehearsals for the panto. In the meantime, we can come and see you at the Dominion Theatre.

CR: I would love to come and talk to you again, thank you and I hope to see everyone at the Prince of Egypt performances. I can’t wave because Jethro wouldn’t do that buy you will hear my show-stopper song. Well, it’s a show- stopper to me.

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