Matilda The Musical was undeniably one of the biggest musicals to hit the West End in 2011. The RSC production has had audiences raving over it since it made its 2012 début at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and the West End transfer has now brought even wider success. I went to see the show at the Cambridge Theatre during its preview period, and while the principal cast were undeniably brilliant, that was also where ensemble member Tim Walton caught my attention. In Profile is about shining a spotlight onto those stage members who don’t necessarily receive the recognition they deserve. He has proven through his various stage roles that he is a talent to watch, which is why he is now featured among the ranks of In Profile.
Growing up in South Africa, Walton studied musical theatre at the dance department of Pretoria Technikon. He performed in Evita, The King And I and West Side Story at the State Theatre, Pretoria and has also been involved in Hollywood Pinafore, Frogs and Fifty Million Frenchmen (Lost Musicals) and The Mikado, HMS Pinafore and The Parson’s Pirates for the chamber opera company Opera della Luna, which produces a wide variety of works in English.
Matilda The Musical was not his first foray into the world of the West End musical since coming to the UK though. He has been a member of numerous original London casts in his career here, with one of the earliest being his ensemble role in Mamma Mia in 1999. He was also a member of the ensemble in the original London casts of The Witches of Eastwick (2000), the musical adaption of Romeo and Juliet (2002), Wicked (2006), and played Travolta in the 2003 production of Tonight’s The Night. Other credits include The Woman In White, Starlight Express and Trevor Nunn’s 2001 revival of South Pacific for the National Theatre.
He joined the company of new West End musical Love Never Dies in 2010. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom sequel premièred at the Adelphi Theatre and was led by Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess as The Phantom and Christine, with Joseph Millson completing the famous love triangle as Raoul. Walton was a Swing in the show and also 2nd Cover for the role of Raoul, which he played on several occasions.. Following his time there, he moved across town to the Cambridge Theatre as part of the West End company of Matilda The Musical. He performed as a member of the adult ensemble and had stage time as a Teacher, and the Doctor who delivers baby Matilda in the opening scene of the musical.
He has been involved in a number of subsequent projects since then, including appearing in Trevor Nunn’s revival of Kiss Me Kate at the Old Vic Theatre. The Chichester Festival transfer opened 27th November 2012 and ran until 2nd March 2013, with Walton playing Nathaniel in a cast which also included Alex Bourne, Clive Rowe, Hannah Waddingham and Adam Garcia, among others. Between May and April 2013 he starred in Morphic Graffitti’s production of The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes, an original musical written by Leslie Bricusse. The show received glowing reviews in its run at Hoxton Hall, which also made frequent and equally praising mention of his performance as the iconic title character.
Next came The Fantasticks at Jermyn Street Theatre, in which he played the role of Hucklebee alongside such names as Brian McCann, Emma Harrold and James Irving. The Broadway musical hasn’t always fared so well here on our side of the Pond, but Rose Bridge Theatre Company’s production was generally well-received during its limited London run of just 7 performances, between 23rd-27th July 2013.
He also played the role of Nanki-Poo in Opera dell Luna’s production of The Mikado at The Lowry in September 2013. He then returned to the West End for the world première of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical, Stephen Ward, which opened at the Aldwych Theatre on 19th December 2013 (previews from 3rd December). He appeared in the ensemble role of Murray’s Singer in the show but also covered and played the title role on a number of occasions, to great acclaim.
His other theatre credits include Evita (Oslo) and playing Ravenal in Showboat for Cape Town Opera, performing in such places as South Africa, Birmingham, Cardiff and Dublin throughout 2014. Additionally, he featured in the television programme Kidnapped Abroad and directed the South African production of Ragtime.
He was most recently seen in the cast of City of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse, playing the role of Jimmy Powers. Returning to London twenty years after it first premièred, Josie Rourke’s revival was led by Hadley Fraser, Rosalie Craig and Samantha Barks and ran from 5th December 2014, to 7th February 2015, subsequently winning Best Musical Revival at this year’s Olivier Awards.
Tim Walton has a habit of turning up in some of the best and most exciting shows in town, which is probably due to the fact that he is one of the best and most exciting talents around. Competition is fierce in this industry and there is a wealth of talented performers vying for principal roles in the West End, but he has what it takes to play the leading man; West End audiences can only hope to see him in that role one day soon.
You can follow Tim on Twitter: @WaltonTim
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 27th June 2015