Portsmouth Players bring Jesus Christ Superstar up to date at the Kings Theatre
In his last stage role Charlie Frame donned the leathers and went to Rydell High as he essayed Danny Zuko in Grease.
This time out, he again takes the lead, but in a rather different part.
Charlie is taking the title-role in Jesus Christ Superstar, in The Portsmouth Players’ new production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical, which lands at the Kings Theatre next week.
With two leads in two shows for the Players, Charlie has hit the ground running with the company.
‘I feel fully integrated now and I’m loving it,’ he tells The Guide. ‘I was 17 when I did my first show, and I come from Bognor Regis, so I did my first shows around that area.
‘But now I’ve done quite a few around the south coast, and I’ve lived in Portsmouth for about eight or nine years, so it’s taken me a while to get in to the Players, but now I’m in, I’ve found my home.’
He’s being directed once again by Jack Edwards.
‘I can’t say how grateful I am to Jack for first of all giving me Danny – that’s one iconic role there, and now to be given Jesus as well... I can’t really believe it, but we’re on soon, so I’d better start believing it!
‘Jack’s a complete pro, he lives and breathes theatre, so it’s great to work with him.’
The two roles have come in fairly quick succession – the company was already starting work on Superstar while Grease was running.
‘When the Players were doing Grease they did an open call for Danny, and I just saw a post on Facebook. It had been a few years since I’d done anything – I’d taken a few years out of the game – so I just turned up for the audition and got a recall.
‘When I was doing Grease, a few people said: “Oh, I can see you as Jesus”, and I’d never even considered it before.
‘Jesus and Danny are two roles I never thought I would ever be considered for let alone get. But I thought, stuff it, let’s go for it. I’ve been really lucky so far.’
And how has he approached playing Jesus? ‘I think it’s like any role – you’ve got to commit to the lyrics and the script that you’ve got in front of you.
‘The version that we’re doing is a little bit different, we’ve got the traditional score, the music and lyrics are the same, but we’re setting it in the 21st century. It’s been a challenge to honour the show for those who have loved it for years, but also to put a new spin on it, make it a bit more modern, a bit more edgy. You’ve just got to gee yourself up for it.
‘We’ve taken some inspiration from the successful arena tour from a few years back, and we really liked the vision they had there – to put something a bit different on it.’
Charlie has seen the show a couple of times, in very different circumstances.
‘I saw an amateur production years ago, and then I saw it at the Barbican a couple of months ago and it was amazing, but a little bit daunting to think: “Oh gosh, this is going to be us in a few weeks’ time”.
‘Matt Cardle of X Factor fame was in it (as Pilate), and Ricardo Afonso (as Judas) was insanely good.
‘There’s some big shoes to fill.’
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Kings Theatre, Southsea