Moby Dick: The Musical!: An interview with Brenda Edwards
Storming back to the West End after a 25 year sabbatical, Moby Dick: The Musical! draws inspiration from the timeless novel by Herman Melville to spin a freewheeling tale brimming with exuberance. The Upcoming caught up with actress Brenda Edwards, starring as Esta, to discuss the play and her sparkling career.
How does this performance differ from any others you’ve done in the past?
I have never played a role within a role before so not only do I have to think about how I would play a role, I also need to think of how the character I’m playing – that is playing the role – would play the role! As you can imagine, that is very challenging and exciting at the same time.
What makes Moby Dick The Musical! different from the original? It seems to have a completely different format (one being a musical the other being a novel), which greatly deviates from the source material.
Well in simple terms the difference is that Moby Dick the Musical! is telling the story of Moby Dick – through a musical! Sometimes that can seem a little complicated but it’s a fun and wild way to communicate the classic novel.
You’ve been on The X-Factor, did that change or alter the way you looked at musical theatre?
Musical theatre is a much more precise art; almost everything you do within the show impacts something else. A line could impact where someone stands or a movement they may make. What someone says could even have a specific lighting cue attached to it, so if you don’t say that word a cue could be missed! This means you always have to be on it. When I did X Factor I was a soloist and had pretty much free reign for my whole performance.
Do you feel that reality shows such as the The X-Factor have an important function for music and society?
I’m very grateful for the opportunities and doors that have opened since doing the show. As cheesy as it sounds, without it I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today.
Do you find that performing on television is harder or easier than doing musical theatre?
I think that performing on television is more challenging.
On a personal note, how did your upbringing and family impact your singing?
I grew up singing in the church, so that was my training as such. I was always told that a song is just like a story: it has a beginning, middle and end. The way you sing those words should reflect that; if you start a song guns blazing there is nowhere for it to go or grow.
What are the plans post Moby Dick? Are you going to continue in musical theatre or attempt something else?
I’m looking at writing another album and I have a couple more musicals on the cards.
You’ve been in the iconic Chicago and Hairspray, do you have a personal favourite musical?
No! They have all been fantastic and taught me different things so it’s very hard to pick a favourite. I’m very fortunate to have had some great roles, so I can’t choose!
Do you have any advice for aspiring singers and actors who want to make it in the West End?
I would just say to anyone, literally follow your dream and once you get it, hold on tight!
Moby Dick: The Musical! is at the Union Theatre from 12th October until 12th November 2016, for further information or to book visit here.
Read our review of Moby Dick: The Musical! here.