West End star Matt Croke on representing theatre on 'The Voice UK'
With theatres shuttered for almost a year, performers over the country have sought new pastures. We’re all spending more time in front of the television too, so when we see a West End star on our screen, it’s guaranteed to pique our interest.
Perhaps best known for originating the title role in the West End’s Aladdin, Matt Croke is currently taking part in this year’s series of The Voice, a reality television competition that seeks to find the next star. He’s not alone this year, with Heathers star Lauren Drew also taking part, both proving just how talented West End musical theatre actors truly are.
We caught up with Matt Croke after his audition, chatting about his reasons for entering the competition, the actual audition, and the impact theatre has had on his life.
Firstly, how are you coping in the third lockdown? Are you doing okay?
The third lockdown isn't as bad as the previous ones as I guess were all pretty used to it now. My sister Rachel and I run a dancing school together, so were both very grateful that keeps us busy, and teaching online classes is something we’re both now so used to.
What made you decide to audition for The Voice UK?
2020 was for me the year of ‘why not?’ as I just jumped at any opportunity that gave me the chance to sing and do what I love the most.
Was it difficult to select an audition song? What went into that process?
For me, I wanted to go on there and stick to doing what I love the most which is musical theatre and fly the flag for our industry that so many people love and miss so much. The song means so much to me, I have always been a huge fan of Moulin Rouge ever since seeing the film as a kid. The Voice UK team were so supportive and encouraged me to sing "Come What May" as they knew it meant so much to me.
Noting the song choice, I bet you can’t wait for Moulin Rouge to come to London, then?
I CANNOT WAIT!!!!
Olly Murs turned around at the last moment. What went through your mind?
All I could think was I'm going to hold onto this last note until someone turns around. So when Olly did I obviously was over the moon as I knew singing something like "Come What May" might be slightly risky on a show like The Voice with it being musical theatre.
Did it feel weird to perform to audiences watching via a screen?
The amount of nerves and adrenaline I had to start with I didn't even realise. As soon as I got into the song and saw all those people it was different to obviously having a live audience, but still nice as they were all so supportive.
Audiences may know you as Aladdin from Disney’s Aladdin on the West End, how did that experience change your career?
Playing Aladdin in the West End completely changed my life. I wanted to play a part that was my own for over 10 years so when it happened I never let a day go by when I didn't make the most of it.
What can we expect from your The Voice UK journey?
You can expect as much musical theatre as possible and also some very scary high notes that I don't think I've ever had to try and hit. So I hope they come out ok.
Photo credit: Matt Croke (Photo by Becky Lee Brun)