Gina Beck joins Chichester Festival Theatre's big open-air concert

Gina Beck, who was to have appeared in South Pacific at Chichester Festival Theatre this summer, at last gets the chance to perform in the city.

Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 2:26 pm
Gina Beck
Gina Beck

South Pacific has already been confirmed as part of the 2021 summer season at the CFT.

But in the meantime, she is joining the sold-out evening concert which will be the culmination of the CFT’s day of outdoor performances on Bank Holiday Monday, August 31.

During the day, Hugh Bonneville headlines Family Fun in the Park, reading Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Mog the Forgetful Cat, with actors using puppetry to bring the stories to life. Families can also join in a fun dance-along.

And then, at a concert that evening, Omid Djalili will introduce songs from the musicals with West End performers Gina Beck, Gabrielle Brooks, Rob Houchen, Julian Ovenden and Giles Terera, joined by CFT artistic director Daniel Evans. Rob and Julian are also part of the South Pacific cast which Daniel will direct.

Songs on the night include a medley from South Pacific alongside hits from West Side Story, Wicked, The Sound of Music and My Fair Lady.

Gina can’t wait: “I think the concert sold out in something like 45 minutes. I think everybody is excited to be seeing something at last.

“I did a little concert on Facebook, but obviously it’s not quite the same when you are performing in your kitchen! It is going to feel a little weird, but hopefully it will also feel like coming home. I have never sung with Julian before and it will be fun doing that. And Rob has got the most incredible tenor voice. He will be belting out some tenor hits!”

Gina finished being in Matilda the Musical the day before theatres closed: “It was a crazy time.

“I had a big leaving party. I was leaving mid-contract so that I could come down to Chichester, and then nobody else went back either.

“At first we didn’t all think it would go on that long. We were hoping for July for South Pacific and then it was touted that it might be in September, and then Daniel just had to make the call that it would be next year. We hadn’t started rehearsals, but it had been in my diary for a year – and then it didn’t happen.

“I have got a three-year-old daughter and I basically spent lockdown trying to keep her entertained as much as I could for weeks on end! And then I was doing a few bits and bobs. I did a few songs online.

“But mostly I was just trying to keep my daughter entertained.”

The thought of South Pacific next year is a lovely one, especially to be working with Daniel again. Gina was in Daniel’s production of Show Boat a few years ago.

“He has got the ability to get the best people for the job because everybody is just dying to work for him. I did Show Boat with him in Sheffield and London and we got 11 five-star reviews, and it was just an amazing creative process. I have spent a lot of my time doing shows that were already existing, just jumping into roles. This was my chance to do something fresh – even though it was a revival. It was an amazing experience, and the cast were fantastic. People had forgotten just how good it was.

“What makes Daniel special is the fact that he was an actor. I think he is extremely aware of actors’ sensibilities and how to get the best out of them.

“A lot of directors go out of their way to make actors feel insecure! But it starts from the audition onwards with Daniel.

“With a lot of directors you sit in front of an audition panel who don’t really speak to you, but with Daniel it is ‘Come in, sit down, let’s have a chat, what have you been doing?’

“He just knows exactly how to put you at your ease. From that moment I fell in love with him and we have become good friends.”

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