The RSC’s original musical adaption of the classic Roald Dahl children’s book Matilda has been an undisputable success here in the West End since it first opened at the Cambridge Theatre in 2011, following its acclaimed premiere in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The musical subsequently transferred to New York to try its luck on the boards of Broadway, taking with it two of the original cast members of the West End production: Bertie Carvel and Lauren Ward, who played tyrannical headmistress Miss Trunchbull and sweet school teacher Miss Honey, respectively. The Broadway production of Matilda had its opening night this week (Thursday 11th April), and in no surprise to anyone, received just as enthusiastically positive a response as it did on our shores.
To celebrate the successful transfer of Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin’s musical, In Profile looked to the West End company for this week’s featured ensemble member and focused its spotlight upon Tommy Sherlock.
My first thought about this young stage performer was, ‘great name’. His dark curly locks also brought to mind stage and screen actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who of course played the famed detective in the BBC TV series Sherlock. An actor needs more than a catchy name to be noticeable though, and Tommy Sherlock certainly has much about him that is memorable.
Sherlock trained at the Liverpool Theatre School and College and has amassed a list of theatre credits to be proud of since graduating. His first professional stage appearance came as a member of the ensemble in the UK tour of Copacabana, the Barry Manilow musical based on his hit song of the same name. Following that was another touring production; this time an international tour of hit West End show Mamma Mia which is based on the music of ABBA. Sherlock played the role of the groom-to-be’s best man, Pepper, a young stud who relentless pursues Tanya and plays opposite her in the musical number ‘Does Your Mother Know’.
After a lengthy period on the travelling road of musical tours, Sherlock finally made his West End debut at the Playhouse Theatre, playing the leading role of Ren in a production of Footloose. His performance won over the audience and, an even harder task, the critics too, with Whatsonstage.com writing this glowing statement in their review:
“Tall and slender Tommy Sherlock steps into Ren’s sneakers and sets your pulse aflutter with a fearless, streetwise dance style of his own, while allowing you to watch his character grow in confidence.”
Several more UK national tours followed his stint in the West End, the first being a production of popular musical Fiddler on the Roof in which he played Motel, the tailor who marries Tevye’s eldest daughter Tzeitel. He also appeared in a touring production of Fame, David De Silva’s classic stage musical adapted from the 1980 film of the same name. Sherlock played performing arts student Nick Piazza, a classical actor who falls for fellow student Serena.
A role as Woof in the Munich production of Hair came after that, in which he also covered the role of Burger. Then Sherlock returned to the West End in another smash hit show, this time performing at the Apollo Victoria in the award-winning musical Wicked. His place within the company was that of an ensemble member, but he covered the roles of both Doctor Dillamond and principal character Fiyero, the prince who captures the hearts of both Glinda and Elphaba.
Sherlock’s other theatre credits also include From Up Here (Wilde Theatre) and an appearance as a principal singer in Hooray For Hollywood (Monte Carlo Bay Theatre), as well as a panto turn in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (Manchester Opera House).
He can now currently be seen in the ensemble of Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre playing the Escapologist and one of the Henchmen. Recently, he visited the Perse School in Cambridge for a musical theatre master class with its sixth form students. Quoted on the school’s website, student Lizzie Gaunt had this to say about her day with the West End stage star:
“Having seen Matilda and it being one of my favourite musicals, I was really excited to meet a member of the cast. Tommy taught us the dance to the song “Revolting Children”, which was fun, and he had a lot of patience despite our amateur efforts to recreate the dance…It was great to have acting advice from someone who has actually played the characters we were trying to portray.”
Tommy Sherlock is a rising star in the world of musical theatre and the question of whether he has a bright future on the stage is ‘elementary’. Yes, yes and yes. He has one leading role under his theatrical belt, with surely many more to come.
By Julie Robinson @missjulie25
Saturday 13th April 2013