Alex Bourne is Daddy Warbucks and will be until May next year. And maybe even longer if Annie gets the London transfer he believes it deserves.
“I would love to stay with it. A lot of the venues are very commutable for me, and everyone is talking about this maybe having a life after the tour, that it might just come into London. That would be amazing. I love to do long runs.
“Some people like to do short runs and then move on. In the last three years I have done lots of little things, and I can see the merit in that, but it is great to have the comfort of a long run.”
A chance to stay with the character – and with Daddy Warbucks, it’s a great character to stay with, says Alex who tours with Annie to Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre from Tuesday, July 28-Saturday, August 1.
Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, the show is famously the story of brave young Annie who is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Annie is determined to find her real parents, but spiteful Miss Hannigan – played in this production by Craig Revel Horwood – has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search.
Annie’s luck, however, changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks – a turning point for Daddy Warbucks too who starts to flourish in Annie’s company, learning to see things rather differently.
“Obviously, it’s Annie’s story, but some people have said that the show is also Warbucks’ story,” Alex says. “It’s about his journey and about what she makes him feel. I am 47 and I think ‘How can I possibly be Daddy Warbucks? He is a bald old man!’ but actually I am three years older than Albert Finney was when he did the movie in 1982. He was 44, but maybe he had had a harder life than me!
“But I have got an eight-year-old daughter, and working with the children just kills me. They are so fantastic. I can’t wait for her to see the show. I don’t know whether she will be jealous seeing me get close to another girl or whether she will just enjoy the show. She has seen me in panto, but this will be the first time she will have seen me in something right the way through. The other things have not really been appropriate.”
As Alex says, the point with Daddy Warbucks is that he is an orphan himself: “I say in the show that I decided I was going to get rich and successful and just get my life out of the skids and make something of myself. And it is actually good that I am not that old. When it is played by someone in their 50s or 60s, you think how did they manage to get through life all that time without having someone. It makes more sense for it to be happening at my age.”
Tickets on www.mayflower.org.uk.