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How do you choose your characters?

Clive: As far as the characters I played are concerned, there was a practical reason... When I started writing the songs I was cheaper than anybody else around, so it made some kind of sense that I played Leo initially in She. But I never felt any affinity for that particular role - it didn't really suit me. But when I wrote the story of Alchemy, I was very aware that the character of King would suit me more. So that was a much easier decision to make. These two characters are the two that I actually sang. Obviously I sing a lot of the background chorus as well and when I do the demos, I sing a lot of the material even if it becomes somebody else's part later on.

What is your favourite character?

Clive: In She my favourite character is probably likely to be Holly. He sees things through the eyes of the audience. Although this new character, Job, will be fun and I am looking forward to seeing him as a part of the story. In Alchemy, I have to be honest my favourite character is King, so I got lucky there. I also like Jagman - he is an archetypal baddie. Originally in my head I modelled him on Alan Rickman's versions of baddies in films like Die Hard and Robin Hood. I wanted him to be bad, but also likeable. I think Andy Sears' portrayal of that has provided us with that kind of balance.

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What is the reason for introducing a new character to She?

Clive: When we came to talk about the new production of She, I felt that the musical was devoid of any humour. It was a very serious piece. So, I wanted to put some humour back into the story. It was there underlying in the book and to some extent it is in most of the films, if you watch the classic Hammer version of She, you have Bernard Cribbins playing the part of Job and he added a light relief to the story. I wanted to do that as well, so I re-introduced Job back into my version. The role will be played by Ian Baldwin, who is the director as well. I think he has a good sense of comedy and will give a slightly lighter feel to the whole piece. I have also written a new song, which will break the intensity of act two a little bit and it adds a good balance to the whole musical.

What is the history of your cooperation with Ian Baldwin?

Clive: Ian Baldwin is the director. He got involved over the last year or so and that has proved to be a very valuable asset to the overall production of both musicals. He has good ideas, clear visions of how certain scenes should be conducted and put together. He is happy to meet the challenges, which sometimes is quite tricky. For example the decision to do Alchemy in Jermyn Street in London, the off-West End production- initially we wanted to have no chorus at all and then gradually we came to the conclusion that what we needed were more people on stage and we put together this idea of having a small chorus for this very tight performance group - you have your seven or eight principles and seven or eight chorus members. It's still 15 or 16 people, but it's much smaller that some of the productions we did in the past in Bolivia or in Cheltenham. Ian's vision of how to make these seven chorus members look like many more worked very well, as will be evident in September with both She and Alchemy.


What is The Caamora Theatre Company?

Clive: A decision to give the operation a name of The Caamora Theatre Company was made to allow for a changing line up. Unlike in a band where the line up is important, with a theatre group it is very hard to have exactly the same people doing exactly the same things for years. It's going to change, so what we have now is a floating cast - a group of people who can take part, but if one person can't do something then the whole operation does not freeze. To some extent we have been dependent on a small group of people over the last year or so, but I'm starting to open the horizons a little bit and finding some new singers who can be ready to be involved. So, when something is offered we can say "yes" without having to worry that not every single person can do that particular date. For “The Fire and the Quest” we have maintained most of the original Cheltenham set up and these people will be involved in September. After that things may start to change a little bit depending on what the date is and on who wants to do it at the time. So you can find in a year's time that it's exactly the same line up or very different people. But that's the beauty of the theatre thing. It's not just one personality that should be there.

What is your biggest dream connected to your musicals?

Clive: The obvious dream with a musical is to see it performed in the West End and on Broadway. That's a hell of a dream! My initial promise to myself, my target, was to take the musical to a point where it didn't need me. My first level of success for any of the musicals I write would be that they can exist without me and the knowledge that somewhere out there, wherever it is, there's a performance being put together of Alchemy or She and I'm not involved. That would be extremely satisfying from my point of view.


Who are your musical role models?

Clive: You can't talk about the world of musicals without mentioning Andrew Lloyd Webber. It's probably a bit of a cliché, but my favourite musical is Phantom of the Opera closely followed by Les Miserables. So these are very obvious ones, but they are good and that's the reason why they are being on stage for so long. But funnily enough, when I'm writing and looking for ideas and considering how to structure mu pieces, I have a lot of lessons learnt from Gilbert and Sullivan, who obviously wrote operettas, but they were the musicals of their time. There's such a a lot to learn from them, it's amazing. The lyrics are brilliant, the way the music is put together. I spent a lot of time studying their works. I'm more likely to find answers to some of my questions in their pieces than in modern musicals.

Interview by Magdalena Grabias
August 2015