It may only be mid-November, but with the witches of Halloween back in their gingerbread houses, the fireworks all gone bang and John Lewis already creating a penguin-based frenzy we are definitely in the season of good will to all men.
If there was any doubt, the London stage now boasts Mr Walking In The Air himself, Aled Jones (who plays Bob Wallace), in the stage adaptation of classic festive film White Christmas. He’s joined in the tale of old army pals coming together to save their old general’s ski lodge by Tom Chambers (Phil Davis), Graham Cole (General Waverley) and Wendi Peters (Martha Watson).
Before we nipped off to bulk buy mince pies and Baileys, we quizzed the festive foursome to find out what they’re dreaming of this Christmas, their preferences in yuletide tunes and what we can expect from this most snowy of stage shows.
How would you describe your character in six words?
Jones: Kind, straight-laced, musical, thoughtful, honest.
Chambers: Fun-loving girl-chasing hoofer showman.
Cole: Honourable, dedicated, militarily orientated, unhappy, sadly lost.
Peters: Bold, brash, stagey, cheeky, loud, but with a big heart!
What is your favourite moment in the show?
Jones: My favourite moment in the show is when I’m on the porch with Susan and then Betty. I get to sing Count Your Blessings, a stunning song. It’s a wonderful moment of calm in a frenetic musical.
Chambers: Dancing on top of the smallest piano in the world during the famous seven minute I Love A Piano routine.
Cole: The scene when he realises just how much his men love and respect him.
Peters: Apart from the wonderful, tear-jerking finale (won’t give away too much as it’s a great surprise to the audience), I adore doing the Falling Out Of Love number with Rachel Stanley and Louise Bowden. A fabulous Andrews Sisters close harmony song and dance.
What has been your most memorable moment of being involved in the show so far?
Jones: At the time of writing, receiving two standing ovations for our first two previews! Long may it last!
Chambers: Seeing Aled Jones impersonating a woman and giving it snake hips during the Sisters routine!
Cole: Hearing the orchestra playing for the first time.
Peters: Although this is my third time doing White Christmas, I still love the Sitzprobe where we hear the orchestra for the first time. The moment they strike up with the overture is magical.
What are you dreaming of this Christmas?
Jones: A nice day off!!
Chambers: Apart from a White Christmas…. family time by an open lit fire in a cosy old rustic pub drinking ales and singing Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.
Cole: Having my family around me.
Peters: This Christmas is going to be lovely as it’s my first one at home for a while and my family are all coming to visit and see the show on Christmas Eve. A great start to a wonderful Christmas Day that is also my dad’s birthday.
What were the Christmases like that you used to know?
Jones: Always filled with music, fun, food and pressies and family of course! Things haven’t changed over the years!
Chambers: They were always full-on family gatherings, including aunts and uncles you only saw once a year, with good food and long walks and ending with a mountain of wrapping paper in the middle of the room you could get lost in.
Cole: Party games, family music and singing, great Christmas films.
Peters: Christmases when I was a child were family affairs which ended with me, my sister and our cousins putting on a show… stagey!
What’s your favourite Christmas song that’s not in the show?
Jones: Do you really have to ask!!! Apart from Walking In The Air I love my traditional carols, In The Bleak Midwinter, Silent Night.
Chambers: Bing Crosby singing the Christmas in Hawaii song. I just love the Mele Kalikimaka melody and lyric.
Cole: Mary’s Boy Child.
Peters: I have a few but my favourite has to be Judy Garland’s Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Beautifully sung, of course, and just says what Christmas is all about.
What message would you write in a Christmas card to Official London Theatre?
Jones: Thank you so much for welcoming me and the cast to the West End. We hope to make you proud and put a smile on faces this Christmas!
Chambers: Thank you for continuing to bring the world’s finest theatre to life in the heart of the capital year after year… London’s romantic charm is thanks to the countless plays and musicals, and Official London Theatre is always there to show us where to go and what to see next. Thank you!
Cole: Thank you for promoting my love of London theatre, its history and diversity. Have a wonderful Christmas and may 2015 be our best year yet!
Peters: May your theatres be merry and bright… and may all your Christmases be white.
What can audiences expect from the show?
Jones: Song, dance, fun, heart, drama, colour… oh and snow!!
Chambers: A warm glow in their heart; beautiful music from a live orchestra coupled with a bit of Hollywood’s 1950s wit and charm; romance, singing, dancing and a little reminder of what is in the heart of Christmas.
Cole: A true Christmas show that will make you laugh, bring a tear, have you singing along and leave you ready for the true meaning of Christmas.
Peters: They can expect a fabulous, heartfelt show with glitz, glamour and the best show-stopping songs in the world by the wonderful Irving Berlin.
White Christmas is playing at the Dominion Theatre until 3 January. You can book tickets through us here.