Earlier this week, the cast for the stage adaptation of Tom Fletcher’s children’s book ‘The Christmasaurus’ was announced, with it being revealed that Tom’s closest friends and family will be taking on the lead roles for the show’s eight-day run at the Eventim Apollo in December.
As well as Tom, the musical will star his wife, Giovanna Fletcher, sister, Carrie Hope Fletcher, McFly bandmate, Harry Judd, and McBusted bandmate, Matt Willis – and his choice to cast his nearest and dearest will come as no surprise to the father-of-two’s biggest fans.
Speaking exclusively to Yahoo Celeb UK, Tom said of his decision to enlist his pals: “The whole show is about family and friends, so I wanted to give it that vibe.
“And not just the show itself but backstage too.”
Matt Willis, who is playing the show’s villain, the Hunter, added: “I think it will be quite a fun vibe, with people popping in backstage. Our families are quite close so I think something like that will be easy.”
And although he has been on stage with Matt and Harry many times in the past, Tom added that he was “excited” to finally be working with Carrie and Giovanna.
He told us: “Your friends and family are what get you through everything in life, we are just very fortunate that our friends and family are also in the same industry, and we’ve been bandmates – even been to school with each other.
“There’s a long history between all of us and that definitely helps, but this is the first time that those things have combined – I’ve never worked with my sister before or been on stage with Gi, but I have been on stage with Matt and Harry.
“Combining those things for the first time is exciting.”
And although it’ll definitely be a lot of fun, we can’t help but wonder whether the entire cast being such close friends would actually be a hindrance in rehearsals – with both Tom and Matt quickly telling us that Harry will definitely be the troublemaker backstage.
Matt shared: “Harry Judd is the hardest person to be in a room with at any point; he’s the worst, he’s the biggest p***taker I have ever met in my life.
“It’s just going to be him trying to make me laugh for a month.”
“If you think he’s Mr. Professional, he’s not,” Tom agreed, adding: “What he does is he works out what he has to do, sorts himself out and as soon as he is sorted he messes it up for everybody else.
“We’re not going to get any work done with Harry around, he is the hardest person to work with.”
But even though The Christmasaurus is Tom’s brainchild, he is adamant that he will be taking a step back when it comes to whipping the cast into shape and offering direction.
He revealed: “We start rehearsals at the end of November, so we have three weeks of rehearsals before we start the show, it’s going to be intense but it’s really exciting.
“It’s amazing, unique and special and there’s a director on board because I’m not the boss; I need to be told what I am doing.
“The people who are in it are in it because they’re incredibly talented and perfect for the parts that they are playing so it’s not for me to say anything, it’s for them to do what they do best.”
However, Tom was keen to reassure fans that the trio hadn’t failed their Christmasaurus auditions, and that all three are incredibly supportive of the venture – even spending time in the studio when Tom, Matt et al. recorded the musical edition of The Christmasaurus – which is out later this month.
Tom explained: “I didn’t want to give Matt a role like the Hunter and then them the elves, it’s hard to be equal, but there’s also a very natural progression with it.
“Matt has been acting for years and is just perfect for the role. And with Harry, the moment where he dances – in the book William sees a vision of his dad dancing in the sky – it just felt like Harry, and he wants to dance.
“He hasn’t danced for a while [Judd won Strictly Come Dancing in 2010], and I thought maybe he’d want to do this. It just felt really natural and we didn’t want to force it and say that everyone has to come and be in it.
“They will [all] come down and watch it, they were down at the studio when we were recording the songs in the summer and they’re fully supportive of it all.”
And how did Matt feel about being the ‘perfect’ choice for the Christmasaursus’ evil villain?
“Being a villain is my kind of s***,” Matt laughed, “I love it. I always want to be the villain, I am always drawn to that kind of character. Being a nice guy is boring, it really is.
“The villains are the wicked guys that you get to have real good fun with, they have the best songs – if you don’t have the power duet you have to be a villain.”
And you can have your first sneak peek of Matt as the Hunter, and the rest of the cast in character, in the musical edition of The Christmasaurus – the first time ever an author has written a soundtrack for their novel.
The Musical Edition includes 14 songs, all written by Tom Fletcher and performed by the show’s cast and a full orchestra, with prompts within the book to tell the reader when to press play – and lyrics for readers to sing along.
The Special Musical Edition Of The Christmasaurus will be released on 16 November and The Christmasaurs Live On Stage will be playing at Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo from 21 December until 28 December.