When it comes to good old family fun, Shrek The Musical is probably one of the best musicals to see. When I reviewed the West End production, I described it as being like panto, but on a bigger budget, and everyone knows that we British love a bit of panto (oh yes we do!). The show left its West End home in the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2013, but proving that ‘Happily Ever After’ doesn’t have to be the end, its back with a touring production that has been sharing fairytale fun all around the country. The UK tour of Shrek The Musical was launched last month, playing its first performance at the Leeds Grand Theatre on 23rd July, and is now entertaining audiences at the Bristol Hippodrome. Dean Chisnall leads as the grumpy, swamp-dwelling, green ogre Shrek, alongside Faye Brooks (Princess Fiona), Idriss Kargbo (Donkey), Gerard Carey (Lord Farquaad) and a wonderful ensemble team to boot. Neil Moors may be among the collection of talented performers who form the supporting cast, but he is a star in his own right too, which is why he is the featured ensemble member in this week’s edition of In Profile.
Neil Moors, who hails from the village of Flixton in Urmston, Greater Manchester, was bitten by the performance bug at a young age and has been hard at work building a career for himself on the stage ever since. He pursued his dream after leaving school, first studying acting at Trafford College, and then at Birmingham School of Acting (formerly known as Birmingham School of Speech and Drama).He extended his training by spending a further twelve months at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
One of his earliest professional roles was playing GI in Wallop Mrs Cox at Birmingham Rep, followed by two UK tours. His first road trip came courtesy of The Devil’s Disciple, which toured the country in 2004 with Neil in the role of Dick Dudgeon. The summer of 2005 saw him play the Burglar in the UK tour of Misalliance, while later that year, he travelled to Peterborough to spend the Christmas season at the Broadway Theatre, playing the Prince Austin of Powers in a pantomime production of Sleeping Beauty alongside Debbie McGee and Paul Daniels.
He went on to play Wulfgar in Beowulf and Yang Sun in The Good Person of Sichuan at the Drum Theatre, and in 2007, appeared at the Bridewell Theatre to play George Perry in the Steven Luke Walker musical Blaze. The following year, he returned to the road when he was cast as Simeon in the UK tour of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, and continued to travel with the touring company of The Sound of Music. He had an ensemble role in the UK tour of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, and also covered and played the principal role of Captain von Trapp.
He then spent a month at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough when he appeared in Chris Monk’s modern re-telling of Carmen. Caroline Keiff starred in the title role with Neil playing Tony Amor, an updated version of the Toreador character who became an ‘Italian Stallion’ football star. He was then cast in Sasha Regan’s all-male production of The Pirates of Penzance, which ran at the Hackney Empire before embarking on an Australian tour. He played Major General Stanley alongside the likes of Matthew Gent (Frederick) and Michael Burgen.
He was in good company when he joined the world arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. The brand new production starred TV talent contest winner Ben Forster in the title role, in addition to Tim Minchin, Chris Moyle and Melanie Chisholm. Neil played the role of the Priest in this modernised version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic rock musical, and was also 1st Cover Caiaphas.
He later performed in the UK concert tour of Rent, which played sixteen dates around the country to mark the musical’s 20th anniversary. He played Benny in the production, which also featured Natasha Hamilton (Maureen), Rory Taylor (Roger), Rachel John (Mimi), Paul Ayres (Mark), Hannah Levane (Joanne), Ian Stroughair (Angel) and Leon Lopez (Collins). Kerry Ellis joined the cast in January to take over the role of Maureen.
After a stint at the Shaw Theatre playing Prince Charming in Cinderella, Neil took on his most recent – and one of his most notable – role. He was cast in Sasha Regan’s all-male version of HMS Pinafore, which played at the Hackney Empire before a UK tour. He starred in the critically acclaimed production in the leading role of Captain Corcoran, alongside such names as Keith Jack and Alan Richardson.
His other theatre credits include performing as lead vocalist in the German tour of The Tenors.
Neil Moors can currently be found in venues all over the UK as he travels with the touring production of Shrek The Musical. He has an ensemble role in the show, which sees him appear on stage as King/Wolf/Thelonius, and also covers the lead role of Shrek. He played his first performance as the green-skinned ogre on 17th August at Leeds Grand Theatre. Manchester’s local-boy-done-good now resides in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex and both should be proud of this inspiring performer who has achieved so much in his career so far and proven that ‘Happily Ever After’ doesn’t just exist in fairy tales.
You can follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmoors100
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 30th August 2014