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Bedknobs and Broomsticks actor Rob fulfilling a Grand ambition on Wolverhampton stage

Rob Madge is loving being on the stage of the Grand Theatre, having spent many years enjoying shows there as a child.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks is at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Pictured Rob Madge as Norton the Fish.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Pictured Rob Madge as Norton the Fish.

The actor, who plays Norton the fish in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, says it was the theatre the family used to attend for pantomimes, adding: "I always thought I would love to do that one day."

Having performed in several shows such as Mary Poppins, Les Miserables, and Matilda, Rob is performing in Wolverhampton this week as part of the tour.

The actor, who grew up in the West Midlands, said: "This is my first time performing at the Grand Theatre, but growing up I saw every pantomime under the sun here but it's my first time actually working here.

"It's amazing performing at the Grand Theatre, the audience are incredible too, they were really receptive and responsive."

Bedknobs and Broomsticks is at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Pictured Rob Madge as Norton the Fish.

Rob plays Norton the fish, and loves the reaction from children in the audience when the character enters in act two, adding: "I mean it's everything I ever dreamed of – to play a big, northern fish.

"I love it, it's a funny little part and I love hearing the kids' responses when the puppet comes out the first time because it's a big, larger than life animated fish.

"It blinks and it's mouth opens and it's got fins that retract, and it's just a really exciting moment to see all the kids and even the parents and grandparents love it."

Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a classic Disney production, the second time Rob has performed in a Disney show, something they are proud of as an avid fan.

Rob, a Warwick University graduate, said: "When I was a kid, I did Mary Poppins. I've always been a bit of a Disney 'maniac' growing up, I was always obsessed. When I was a child I used to put on every Disney show in my living room.

"I turned my house into Disneyland when I was little, and would turn a chair into the mad tea cups – so to actually be in a Disney show again as an adult is really special."

As productions were shut down during the pandemic due to the lockdowns, Rob grew a huge social media following, writing and performing in comedy sketches.

One of those pieces was 'My Son's a Queer but What Can You Do' which was turned into a musical and won an award for the best Off-West End production in February.

On winning that award, Rob said: "I it was a show I wrote over lockdown which was about essentially putting on those shows for my parents, and about how to raise a flamboyant kid with love and support.

"It was amazing, very silly, and I brought my mum and dad along, bless them. They're from this neck of the woods and for them to be on a red carpet in London with all these people was quite hilarious but we had a laugh.

"I'm proud of them, they're brilliant and they've been really supportive."

Bedknobs and Broomsticks is at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Pictured Rob Madge as Norton the Fish.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks ends its run at the Grand Theatre tomorrow. On what people can expect to see when they come to watch the show, Rob said: "Expect lots of magic, a beautiful story and it's a story about family and family support

"It's about helping each other through adversity and with all that, you've got the special effects, flying broomsticks, flying beds, magical puppets and I think people will leave scratching their heads thinking how did they do that and also having seen a beautiful story with some great songs."

After the tour finishes its dates in Wolverhampton, it will be moving onto Hull, Sunderland and then finish off in Belfast.

An intense schedule is something Rob thrives on though, adding the cast and crew make it a fun experience, "It's an intense job but we're a really good group of people. Everyone's really lovely, funny and kind and we all get on so well.

"So it's great to come to work with people that you get on with so well and you know that everyday is going to be a different day. No show is the same and that's really good, it keeps it fresh and exciting."

Once the tour is complete, Rob will be taking the musical My Son's a Queer but What Can You Do to the Edinburgh fringe festival in August.

The actor thanked the support of their parents for the freedom to pursue their passion in becoming an actor, and providing encouragement for anyone that may see the theatre show and want to one day do it too.

Rob said: "Well I always used to be that person that would sit in the audience and think God, I really want to do that one day.

"The advice I give is, don't lost sight of that. Even in the face of all the rejections of auditions, it can be difficult and really tough to get into the industry, but if you really love it and if it's your absolute passion, eventually you'll get there and you can't give up and to remember the kid that was in the living room putting on the shows, and remember when it was really fun and joyful."

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