It‘s been almost seven years since Wicked opened here in the West End, becoming just as successful as the original Broadway production. The smash hit musical has been entertaining audiences at the Apollo Victoria on a nightly basis and has seen many highly talented performers pass across the stage throughout the course of those wonderful years. Gina Beck and Louise Dearman currently lead the cast as unlikely friends Glinda (the Good Witch of the North) and Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) in this ‘prequel’ to The Wizard of Oz, which reveals the untold story of the witches of Oz. Joining them each night though is a fantastic company of people, each one bringing their own unique set of skills to the stage to help make Wicked the spectacular piece of musical theatre that it is. One such cast member is Philip Catchpole, who has been selected as the featured ensemble member for this week’s In Profile.
Philip Catchpole is a talented young performer who has accrued a varied list of theatre credits which reads very well. His path to the West End stage began at the Elmhurst School for Dance and Performing Arts, which he attended between 1995 and 2002. During his time there, he worked with the National Youth Theatre and National Youth Music Theatre too. Since completing his training, he has involved himself in an assortment of theatre-based projects, from the West End to tour productions.
One such project saw him entertaining aboard P&O Cruises (Cruising Musicals Consortium, Aurora Theatre Company), while another saw him perform with the Vienna Festival Ballet on their UK tour of Sleeping Beauty. Catchpole’s wealth of touring experience also includes numerous musical theatre productions, such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He was part of the show’s ensemble for its acclaimed run at the London Palladium and also appeared in the original UK tour, performing, not only as the understudy for the Inventor, but also the production’s dance captain. Further tours include the original European tour of Flashdance, and more recently, the UK tour of Monty Python musical Spamalot. He was ensemble and also covered the roles of Prince Herbert, Patsy and Sir Robin for that one.
Catchpole has been fortunate enough to be part of several original London companies, including being a cast member in the original UK production of White Christmas at the Mayflower, Southampton. More prominent appearances have seen him perform before a West End audience though. He played IQ in the original London company of Hairspray, understudying the principal role of Link Larkin and gaining the opportunity to play him on stage on various occasions. He was also cast in the original London revival of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, a show which had previously been at the centre of the BBC reality talent programme I’d Do Anything in the search for an unknown star to play the role of Nancy.
His other theatre credits include panto performances for Cinderella (Sunderland Empire) and Dick Whittington (Theatre Royal, Nottingham), playing Cole in Stolen (Landor Theatre) and Marshall Blackstone in Babes in Arms (Chichester Festival). He has also made a number of screen appearances, appearing on This Morning with Phillip Schofield and also as one of the masquerade dancers in the 2005 film adaption of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum.
He is now working his magic in the land of Oz as part of the ensemble company for Wicked at the Apollo Victoria.
Philip Catchpole is a name to remember, not least because of his outstanding work on the stage so far in his career. He continues to ply his trade in a variety of ensemble-based roles, but the future may hold much more for him that that.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Saturday 13th July 2013