A young boy from Haringey has been given the starring role in an upcoming new musical.
Michael Hawkins, aged 12, will alternate the role of Adrian with three other actors in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 when it opens for a limited run at the Ambassadors Theatre in London this month.
Set in 1980s Leicester, this adaptation of Sue Townsend’s best-selling book is a timeless tale of teenage angst, family struggles and unrequited love, told through the eyes of tortured poet and misunderstood intellectual Adrian Mole. One of the most enduring comedy characters of all time, he is the hapless, hilarious, spotty teenager who captured the zeitgeist of 1980s Britain, and this critically acclaimed production brings Adrian’s story to life for a new generation of theatregoers.
We sat down with Michael – who is no stranger to life as a West End actor – to discuss the upcoming show.
What was your first role in the West End?
I was 9 years old and played The Boy in The Snowman in the Peacock Theatre and on the UK tour. I absolutely loved it especially the flying! Then when I was 10 I got the part of Nigel in Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre, Covent Garden. I was there for a whole year and I loved every second of it. I never missed a show. I loved the excitement and the challenge. I also made lots of really good friends.
Have you always enjoyed musical theatre?
Yes. Ever since I joined New London Performing Arts Centre (NPLAC) in Muswell Hill, I knew that singing, dancing and acting is what I loved most. The first Musical I ever saw was Billy Elliot and straight after I watched it I started ballet lessons.
How do you balance school with being an actor?
It is hard work but if you love being in shows you do it no matter what. When you’ve got 3 shows a week but you still have to be at school at 8am with your homework done, it can be challenging, but it is totally worth it.
Had you read The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ before auditioning for the show?
I had seen it in my house because my big sister had read it but I started reading it during the auditions. I loved it and now I am reading the second book The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.
Do you feel pressure playing the lead role?
Yes it is very nerve racking but I get nervous before any performance, even if I wasn’t the lead because I always want everything to be perfect. It is more exciting than scary and I get bored if I am not working hard on something. I like challenges and the amazing feeling you get when you are performing.
What’s your favourite thing about playing Adrian Mole?
He is such a great character to play because he is so dramatic about everything he does – even the small things! I enjoy how he takes himself so seriously, it makes it really funny. It is a brilliant part I feel very lucky.
What’s the most fun part of being in a West End show?
Working with fun people, being part of a team and performing.
What can audiences expect from the show?
For anyone who has read the book you can expect all of that and more! And for anyone who hasn’t read the book you can expect a hilarious musical about the struggles of being a 13 and three quarter year old intellectual.
Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ – The Musical opens at the Ambassadors Theatre on Saturday, June 15, for a limited season until Saturday, October 12. For details and to book call 0843 904 0061 or visit www.atgtickets.com