Win tickets to see Alfie Boe and Michael Ball at Plymouth Central Park
- Credit: Liz Hobbs Group
We caught up with Michael Ball and are offering the opportunity to see him and Alfie Boe in Plymouth in July.
It’s as if they were born to work together as a duo – Ball and Boe trips off the tongue so easily. Having been friends for some time, Michael and Alfie recorded an album in 2016, Together, which promptly became the Christmas number one. It led to more albums and performances and this year the Together This Summer tour which brings them to Central Park, next to the football stadium, in Plymouth.
It’s a familiar spot for Michael. He grew up in Crapstone, on the edge of Dartmoor, and went to Plymouth College. His dad, Tony, was a director at Plymouth Argyle. “I couldn’t have been less interested,” he volunteers, laughing at the memory. “I didn’t like football and didn’t like the idea of getting up early and then heading for Argyle on a cold, wet Saturday afternoon.”
He is, however, excited about performing at an outdoor venue in Plymouth. “Oh yes, give me that. It’s really nostalgic for me to be coming back and singing there. I’m back in Plymouth a lot and I love it but I’ve always been at the theatre. I’ve already given Alfie the Cook’s tour of the Barbican and the Hoe.”
The two friends met working on “a terrible production” of Kismet at English National Opera. “No honestly, it was truly dreadful,” says Michael. “But we just clicked. I spotted his real talent and real potential and I thought he could break out of the opera world.
“We had different backgrounds. I was told off in the choir at school for not being a ‘blender’. They weren’t thrilled with me. They kept telling me it wasn’t a solo!
“Alfie’s had very vigorous, operatic training. I’ve never trained my voice. And our musical tastes are very different. He’s full on rock and roll and he loves thrash metal. I wouldn’t have any of that in my show – give me S Club Seven and I’m happy. But we both do love musical theatre and the Great American Songbook.
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“Alfie and I work so closely together, it is almost like telepathy. Most people don’t understand what it feels like being front and centre, and Alfie gets that. With someone who is really that good, it does make you raise your game. You can also relax because there’s somebody else taking half the strain. You share the responsibility of making the experience the best it possibly can be for an audience. We both challenge each other.”
I tell Michael he reminds me of the Duracell Bunny – always on the go with radio, TV, theatre, performing and writing – his debut novel The Empire is out in November.
“I love keeping busy. It’s just like that song in Oklahoma – I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No,” he laughs, something he does often.
“I love having many diverse things to do, and I love an audience, I love people and I love to do as much as I can.
“I genuinely do love doing what I do. Yes, it can be overwhelming at times, but I always find a way through. I’m surrounded by positive people, people who can keep you grounded. This isn’t just a job, it’s a vocation.”
I’ve seen Michael Ball on stage in several shows – including Hairspray (where he played Edna Turnblad), Aspects of Love and Mack and Mabel. He’s a very generous performer, making sure everybody gets their turn to shine.
“It’s a collegiate experience, not adversarial. I know what that’s like. I’ve worked with people where it’s all about them. For me, I like working with new people, people who are coming up. Part of a leading man’s job is to conduct yourself with professionalism, to lead from the front and to have a real work ethic. A diamond is only as good as the setting it’s put in.”
When it comes to their summer tour, Ball and Boe have their own ways of preparing for the stage. “I have my pre-show rituals and superstitions and everything has to be done in the right order. His ritual is to wind me up!”
After the original album Together, and subsequent releases Together Again, Back Together and Together at Christmas, Michael and Alfie are working on another album. Will it be Together something, I ask.
“It’s almost as if you’re psychic,” he roars.
Michael Ball and Alfie Boe’s Together This Summer tour reaches Central Park Plymouth on July 8. Tickets here.
WIN! Two tickets to see the show
You can win two tickets to see Michael Ball and Alfie Boe’s show Together This Summer which is in Central Park, Plymouth, on July 8. Support comes from The Overtones.
To be in with a chance of winning, complete the competition question below. Competition closing date is June 23, 2022.