John Partridge talks Chicago and Eastenders ahead of Aylesbury show

Chicago starring John Partridge and Hayley Tamaddon
Chicago starring John Partridge and Hayley Tamaddon
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He might be one of the busiest actors on the planet at the moment, but you won’t hear John Partridge complaining about it.

Talking to us ahead of the actor’s starring role as Billy Flynn in the hit musical Chicago coming to Aylesbury, he’s juggling his time by returning to his role as Christian Clarke in Eastenders and promoting his new show Taking the Next Step on CBBC.

He said: “At the moment I am doing Eastenders in the morning and then going off to do Chicago in the evening. Sometimes it’s not possible but the filming commitments are being worked around my Eastenders job.

“It is busy but I am glad that it is busy. But I eat my vegetables and do some exercise and try and stay in shape. It is exhausting but I am having a blast.”

And he is delighted to be visiting the Waterside for the first time when Chicago visits from Monday July 11 to Saturday July 16.

John said: “It is very exciting to be in this show because it is the 20th anniversary of the revival of Chicago and it was a show very much ahead of its time.

“It deals so much with the world of celebrity culture which has only got greater since the 1970s and 1990s. Our very definition of celebrity has changed.

“I play Billy Flynn, the lawyer and the king of PR although I guess nowadays he would be the king of social media.

“I think the challenge for me is that we have got to be very respectful to the show. The book and the choreography is all set out for you and it is very well done.

“This is a good show and I’ve been in a lot of Turkeys, but a lot of the work is done.

You might think that for a show tightly plotted that there wouldn’t be much room for the creativity of an actor. Not a bit of it says John.

He said: “There is a little bit of wiggle room. I think the other thing I bring to the part is a dance and musical theatre background. I have been in the business for nearly 30 years and there is a dance background.I think I do more dancing than a lot of people who have played this part.

“In the razzle dazzle sequence, the big musical number I have, because of the dancing I’m doing, I’ve had to have a special costume made and the only other people to have had it are Patrick Swayze and Usher. I’ll take that as a comparison.”

And it is a part he has wanted, despite some nerves and apprehension from both actor and production team.

John said: “It is a role that I have coveted. In fact, I was offered it a few years ago and I didn’t think I would have the maturity to do the role justice.

“I think as an actor, you have to look at what you can bring to a role beyond it being a pay cheque and I think there was a right time to play this part.

“There was some discomfort from the producers after casting. I basically had one and a half day rehearsals after leaving the Big Brother house.

“I think there was a lot of concern about could I do it because the production team didn’t know my work.

“But the response from them after the first show of the tour we did in Oxford was great.”

John returned to his most famous role in Eastenders earlier this year, and like many actor in a long running show, can say absolutely nothing about the show.

He said: “I am in Eastenders but I can’t say when I am leaving again. It might reveal too much about future story lines.

“There is a lot going on and a lot to wrap up.”

And he’s also trying to help discover the next generation of talent as a judge on a new show.

He said: “I have got another show coming up called Taking the Next Step, a 12 part series on CBBC at 4.30pm. It is to help kids aged 10-16 win a part in the new drama series on the BBC.

“It is great seeing the talent that is available out there.”

To book tickets for Chicago call the box office on 0844 871 7652 or visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/aylesbury.