Local theatre: Paul Nicholas at Curve
26th September 2022
Musical theatre and TV legend Paul Nicholas leads a stellar cast in a brand new production of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, opening at Curve, Leicester, on November 22. Amander Meade spoke to Paul about his role in this joyous comedy, which tells the story of a group of British retirees as they embark on a new life in India
How are rehearsals going for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at Curve?
Really well. We have a great director in Lucy Bailey and a very well-respected cast of superb actors. We’re all enjoying rehearsals, which is always a great sign that audiences might enjoy the show. I’m sure Hayley [Mills] and Rula [Lenska] would agree with me that learning lines is an excellent way to keep your mind active. ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ is a cheerful comedy about taking risks, finding love and embracing second chances, even in the most surprising of places, and that sums us all up really.
What do you think of Leicester’s Curve?
Curve is one of the few theatres in the country I’ve never played in. We’re rehearsing in Pimlico, but I’ve heard so much about Curve having a reputation for excellence that I can’t wait to get there.
You were involved in the Real Marigold TV series. Is that what prompted your interest in the role or is it coincidental?
I’m sure that’s the reason they called me about the show initially, and when I read the script I could see it working really well as a stage production. It’s so well written, and, like most actors, I have a sixth sense about what I think will make a great production. I’ve not always made the right call in my career but more often than not I can spot a good thing when I see it.
What can audiences expect from the show?
I think audiences of all ages will enjoy the story, but older audience members will certainly be able to relate. We cover lots of things that older people typically complain about, but in no way is it a dreary watch – far from it. It’s a really witty play dealing with issues of jealousy, one upmanship and falling in love in later life. We were joking the other day that we are not old… we’ve just been young for a long time.
Hayley has said she’s really looking forward to touring again. Is being on the road something you enjoy these days?
Definitely. After well over a year when all theatres were shut due to the pandemic, it’s really wonderful to have the opportunity to perform again, especially in a piece of brand new work like this. It’s an exciting process for the author, the director and all the cast and a great opportunity to tour with some lovely people.
During your career you’ve covered recording, musical theatre, Shakespeare, films, BAFTA Award-winning TV series, TV presenting, radio presenting, directing, producing, soaps and writing… Which of these many roles do you find most rewarding?
I can honestly say I’ve loved them all. When opportunities have arisen, I’ve always jumped at the chance to try new things. I like to mix it up a bit, but everything I’ve ever done has entertainment at its heart. Some things I created for myself because I wanted to try them – like the pop singing and producing; other things have come along through sheer luck. ‘Just Good Friends’ [Paul’s BAFTA Award-winning BBC comedy series] was one of those lucky moments, and it was one of the most successful things I did.
What’s next for you?
After touring with Marigold Hotel, I have no idea. I still love singing and have a CD out called ‘Paul Nicholas Gold’. It’s a collection of classic songs including favourites from musical theatre. I’m also narrating an audio version of my memoirs ‘Musicals, Marigolds and Me’. I’ll wait and see what happens next.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is on at Curve, Rutland Street, Leicester LE1 1SB, from Tuesday 1 to Saturday 5 November. Tickets from £10 on 0116 242 3595 or at www.curveonline.co.uk