Adam Linstead is currently playing two very different roles in the long-running hit musical Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre: the kind-hearted Bishop of Digne and the drunkard Grantaire.
Adam usually gets a special mention in reviews of the show for his amazing vocals and superb portrayal of the characters.
Adam will be playing Thenardier early next year (from 27th Feb to 10th March 2012). Adam has kindly answered a few questions about himself and his career.
When did you first realise that you wanted to be a singer/an actor?
I’m not sure when exactly. Or why! But from a very early age I knew wanted to work in the theatre.
Did anyone in particular inspire you to want to be on the stage?
That’s quite a tough question! I don’t remember anyone in particular if I’m honest. But, whenever I went to the theatre when I was younger, no matter what the show was, I always left wishing I’d been on the stage with the other actors. I also had a very enthusiastic music teacher at school, Mrs Helen Clarke, who made me have singing lessons every week… whether I wanted them or not!
Do you have any role models?
I’m not sure if he counts as a role model but I am a huge, unashamed, Elton John fan! Still rocking at 64 years of age. Amazing. I was lucky enough to perform with him and the RAM choir in 2004. He let play his piano at Wembley Arena! It was very loud!
Where did you train?
I trained operatically at The Birmingham Conservatoire before doing the Musical Theatre course at The Royal Academy of Music.
You are currently playing two roles in Les Miserables and you were also part of the 25th anniversary touring cast. What’s it like to be part of a massive show like this?
Les Miserables was the show I always wanted to be in. It took me years to get here and I feel incredibly honoured to be a part of it. The audience reaction to this show, on tour and in the West End, never ceases to amaze me.
One of your characters is Grantaire. How would you describe him?
Cynical. Intelligent. Drunk. Tragic.
You also play the Bishop of Digne who is a completely different character. He plays a crucial part in Valjean’s life. How does he get Valjean to change his ways?
The Bishop shows human compassion that Valjean has long since forgotten. He covers up the theft of the Silver and gives him the Candlesticks. In doing this The Bishop saves Valjean’s soul from darkness and gives it to God. This triggers Valjean’s spiritual crisis.
At the moment, a lot of great shows are closing in the West End (Love Never Dies, Priscilla, Lend me a Tenor…).Why do you think Les Mis has been so successful for such a long time?
Les Miserables broke the musical theatre mould at the right time. I suppose you could say it revolutionised ‘The Musical’! Victor Hugo’s story is a masterpiece and the show has a fantastic score. I’ve always admired Schonberg and Boublil’s ability to marry sad poignant storytelling with uplifting melodies.
When did you make your West End debut and what role did you play?
I made my West End debut in 2006 in The Phantom of the Opera. I played the pivotal role of Porter 3 (the one with the monkey!).
You appeared as ‘Editor Daily’ in The Cradle Will Rock at Arcola Theatre last year. Please tell us about this experience.
My time at Arcola Theatre was such a great experience. I very much enjoyed performing in a studio space. The audience were so close there was nowhere to hide. It was great working with director Mehmet Ergen – the man’s a genius. If you haven’t been to see anything at Arcola you should! Check out the “pay what you can” evenings! (http://www.arcolatheatre.com/)
What’s the best part of being an actor? And the worst?
Seeing that people have been entertained is always very rewarding. I enjoy the fact that live theatre is different every night as you are constantly discovering new ideas. You also get to work with some amazing people. Acting is an on-going learning experience. I’ve learnt more from the actors I have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with than any school could teach.
The actor’s life is great while you’re working. The inevitable times of unemployment are hard work, especially if all of your mates are working!
What is something embarrassing or unexpected that happened to you on stage?
I once had the misfortune of being run over by the Hannibal Elephant in Phantom. I was centre stage, and went down like a ton of bricks. I managed to finish the number and limped off stage right!
What are your favourite roles so far?
Grantaire is one of my favourites… he’s only a small role but very rewarding to play.
I always enjoy playing Thenardier……why not come and see me play the role from 27th Feb to 10th March 2012?
What other parts would you love to play?
I’ve always wanted to play the Phantom. So if you’re reading this Cameron….!
If you could go and see any musical tonight, which one would it be?
I would fly to New York and watch the award winning and controversial The Book of Mormon.
Is there anyone you would really like to work with?
Rowan Atkinson……The man is a legend!
What do you usually do when you’re not working?
Mostly laze around the house and annoy the wife!
And anything else you might like to add, maybe a message to your fans?
Why not follow me on Twitter? – @adamlinstead .
Thank you for this great interview and all the best for the future! I hope we’ll see you as the Phantom one day!
Follow Adam on Twitter: @adamlinstead
Interview by Sandra Palme (Twitter: @LondonTheatre2)