Strictly Come Dancing judge and now panto superstar Craig Revel Horwood returns to an area which means so much to him with a new show celebrating the music of Neil Diamond.
Craig is director and choreographer for Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show which plays Goodwood Racecourse from May 10–15 - just a few miles from Chichester Festival Theatre, the venue where he enjoyed so many of his early opportunities.
Craig is convinced that it was the CFT’s willingness to back an unknown which has launched him so high.
Strictly Come Dancing is now the biggest show in the world, he says - confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records.
Just as it came to another triumphant conclusion just before Christmas, Craig was revelling in panto at Crawley, another great experience.
“I just had such a brilliant time. I was far more relaxed this time, and I was engaging with the audience a lot more. They had a real go at me, which was great. You can hide behind the wigs and the lashes and you can get away with murder! You can just turn round and tell them to shut up. You can get away with it, and it was a sell-out show.”
Now he’s turning his attention to Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show which will be presented within a fully-heated and specially-adapted Big Top venue.
Featuring Neil Diamond hits including Sweet Caroline, Cracklin’ Rosie, Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon, Love On The Rocks and I Am... I Said, it stars Brian Conley as the ever-zealous preacher Brother Love.
With his 15-piece band, he’ll be offering a theatrical concert performance on a Mission of Love, inspired by his belief that the Power of Neil can conquer all.
“It’s not conventional theatre,” explains Craig. “It’s a concert. That’s the way to think about it, but it is a concert with a concept. I have got Brian Conley and Darren Day, and I am getting them to play different roles within the piece.
“It’s bringing Neil Diamond to the people. It’s intelligent music, and there are such wonderful stories within the songs. Rather than just singing them, we are going to be bringing those stories to life. We are trying to give it a bit more edge by making it conceptual.”
And they are going everywhere - from racecourses to cricket grounds, anywhere there is an open space.
Meanwhile, the Strictly Come Dancing story continues to grow.
Craig reckons last year’s series was one of the best ever - thanks to the casting, crucial too to this show. The point is that you have got to get the right people: “Strictly is basically just fantastic entertainment. If you tried to call it a dance competition, you would be going awry. If you want a real dance competition, you should go to Blackpool. It’s about getting people dancing who don’t think they can dance.
“We had some fantastic dancing and we had some appalling dancing.”
And as he says, the appalling and the fantastic are equally important in the mix.
Tickets for Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show from £21 on 0871 230 7158. For more information, show times and to book tickets online, visit www.BrotherLovesShow.com.