Strictly star Danny Mac comes to Manchester with Amélie The Musical
PUBLISHED: 00:00 20 July 2019
He danced his way to the final of the 2016 series of Strictly Come Dancing, but now Danny Mac has landed a role in Amélie The Musical which might just be the perfect ten
In 2016, actor Danny Mac was crowned as runner up in the 14th series of Strictly Come Dancing alongside partner Oti Mabuse - and although he didn't quite manage to take home the coveted Glitterball, he certainly won over the hearts of the nation and the judges week after week. Surely, then, he had a lot of dancing experience behind him? 'Only in drama school, and I hadn't done any since leaving, apart from during my time in Wicked,' he laughs. 'As an actor I never considered myself a dancer, but then I went on Strictly and did really well!'
Fortunately for us, he's returning to the stage this summer with Amélie The Musical, which is set to arrive at Manchester Opera House next month. He will star as daydreamer Nino Quincampoix, a role that has presented Danny with an eagerly-embraced challenge. 'He has a different energy to any other character I've ever played,' Danny explains. 'He's very aloof and mysterious and very disconnected from everything and everyone around him.'
The show is of course based on the smash hit 2001 film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, which charts the moving story of a young girl and her ability to help others; as a result, it comes with a moral message about the power of random acts of kindness that remains as relevant now as ever. 'I think a lot of theatre is out there to reflect our society and the people that we are, and to make us question ourselves - and this play does that in every aspect,' Danny reasons.
When we speak, the success of the first few nights of the tour is still sinking in. 'The audiences have been incredible. Everyone has really got the gist of the storytelling and the humour, and they've been with us every step of the way,' he enthuses. He forms part of a star-studded cast that includes the likes of 'utterly phenomenal' Audrey Brisson as Amélie, under the direction of Michael Fentiman, and his excitement at getting stuck in with the rest of the tour is palpable. It is also evident that this is an important moment for Danny, providing an opportunity to show audiences just what he is capable of. 'I think a few years back this wouldn't have been a box that anybody would have put me in,' he reflects, 'and I've been really, really fortunate to develop a career that allows me to do work like I'm doing here.'
This career began when Danny was just 8-years-old, when he starred as Gavroche in Les Misérables; despite his young age, Danny explains he knew instantly that this was the path for him. 'I'd played football and done all the things that you do as a child, but for me nothing could compete with that feeling,' he remembers. He went on to do bits of television and some adverts and then understudied as Boq in Wicked in 2009, but his big break came when he joined the Hollyoaks cast as 'Dodger' Savage in 2011. As well as nationwide fame, his time on the show earned him numerous awards - but he was careful to ensure that it didn't make him, in his words, 'a bit celebby'. 'Although the show came with a high profile, it also came with a lot of good work and I got to meet so many great people,' Danny explains.
With the small matter of Strictly in between times, Danny then returned to theatre with the 2017 production of On the Town and a role in Sunset Boulevard soon followed. 'That was the game changer for me,' Danny says fondly. 'It's sometimes hard when names from the telly are put on stage… people question whether they can actually do the job, and you don't ever want to be the guy who's there for the wrong reasons.' This proved to be the least of his worries, with Danny's performance earning wide praise from critics; he was even crowned Best Actor in a Visiting Production at the prestigious Manchester Theatre Awards 2018.
This success looks set to continue with Amélie the Musical, which Danny reckons might be his best show yet. 'Artistically, this is exactly the kind of show that I like, one that I would watch and go back to multiple times,' he says. 'For me, this one is incredibly fulfilling as an actor and as an artist.'
It seems we're only just scratching the surface of the various talents of Danny Mac.
6 - 10 August | atgtickets.com