Kevin Kennedy Interview

Features

“Coronation Street” veteran Kevin Kennedy has swapped the cobbles to embrace his inner rock ‘n’ roll star in “Rock of Ages”.

Ahead of the smash-hit musical rocking the Darlington Hippodrome, we caught up with Kevin Kennedy to talk about his role as Dennis in the show.

You’re not just an actor, you’ve also been part of many bands over the years. Have you been enjoying indulging your musical side in “Rock of Ages”?

Oh yes, it’s incredible to be able to put your two passions together – one being, of course, acting and the other being music, which is something I’ve loved throughout my life.

To put those together is a perfect marriage and, in a vehicle such as Rock of Ages, it is a whole lot of fun as well!

For those who don’t know, could you tell us a bit about the story of Rock of Ages?

Rock of Ages is set in Los Angeles, California in the mid 1980s. It’s about a rock club called The Bourbon Room, which is absolutely legendary, every single band you could think of has played there. It’s an icon of rock’n’roll and absolutely the place to be, but the local council are attempting to close it down so we are fighting them.

Alongside all of that, there’s a beautiful love story, lots and lots of jokes and of course some of the most incredible music from the 80s like “Here I Go Again”, “The Final Countdown” and “I Want To Know What Love Is”.

And how does your character, Dennis fit into this?

So, Dennis is the owner of The Bourbon Room and he’s an absolute rock guru. He’s given all these now legendary bands their stars and he’s been in bands himself. He’s also embraced the drug culture and intense sexuality of the 1980s with much enthusiasm and regularity!

He’s a very interesting man to play – he’s got a good heart at his core but he’s a child of his culture and loves his sex, drugs and rock’n’roll! He’s a lot of fun to play!

Audiences may know you best from your time on television, particularly as Curly Watts in “Coronation Street”. What are the biggest differences between working TV and theatre?

TV is a totally different skill and technique to theatre. Not least because you may put something in the can after filming and not get the payback of that for months or even years. You can almost film it, and then forget about it.

With theatre however, it’s obviously live and live theatre is one of the last true shared experiences you can have – along with football!

In the theatre you are all together and sharing one experience which is happening live, right in front of you and there’s not a lot of that left. That in itself generates its own energy and excitement as no two shows are the same.

The show that you come and see will never be exactly the same as that ever again which is quite an exciting thought.

Rock of Ages

“Rock of Ages” boasts some of the biggest hits of the 1980s as its soundtrack. Were you a fan of 80s rock music?

I was a young-ish man in the 1980s and not a huge fan of some dance music, so the last refuge of guitar music to a certain extent was that brilliant American glam-rock that we showcase in Rock of Ages.

They play their own instruments and perform live on stage so I had a huge respect for that.

Are there any challenges to performing this style of music on stage? Have you drawn from your experience as a musician?

It requires a lot of energy! However, once the show gets going it’s so much fun and no longer feels like work.

Once you’ve done the hard work of learning the lines and where to stand we’ve been allowed to just have so much fun with it. Audiences are absolutely loving it because it’s just bonkers.

Do you have a favourite moment in the show?

Numerous moments! Although what I really enjoy is watching the other members of the cast doing their big solo numbers because they’re all so incredibly talented and it’s great to watch and learn from them.

It’s been so lovely to see them grow into their characters from the first rehearsal through to our performances on tour now, where it all comes to fruition.

Do you have any ‘must-have’ items whilst on tour?

A cafetière, some coffee (obviously), my Manchester City mug, and of course the most important thing – a PlayStation! 

Finally, what can audiences expect when they come and see Rock of Ages?

They can just expect to have a great time. If you’re a seasoned theatre-goer or you’ve never been to a show before you will have a lot of fun.

If you want to come dressed in your leather trousers and embrace your inner 80s rock star then do that

Even bring along an inflatable guitar if you want – everything is just a whole lot of fun.

Rock of Ages runs at Darlington Hippodrome from Monday, October 8th, 2018 to Saturday, October 13th, 2018.

For more information about the show or to book, call 01325 405405 or visit the Darlington Hippodrome website.

Source: Darlington Hippodrome

David Wriglesworth
University of Lincoln graduate and self-confessed social media addict David Wriglesworth is the founder of What's on Darlington. In his spare time, you’ll find him avoiding the gym and tagging his friends in memes on Facebook.