Speaking on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross last week (5 March 2010), Ball said he will be tackling the title role “next summer”, after he finishes reprising his award-winning role as Edna in the UK tour of Hairspray, which kicks off in Cardiff at the end of this month (See News, 10 Aug 2009).
Joking that he will “alternate” between playing Mrs Lovett and the title role, he confirmed that Imelda Staunton is in line to co-star. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the show will begin life at the Chichester Festival Theatre, prior to a West End transfer.
During the interview, Ball discussed cross-dressing in the role of Edna, explaining: “I asked the writers (why she is always played by a man) … Loads of respected actresses have asked to play the part. But if it was a woman it wouldn't be funny, it would be a bit cruel ... With it being a bloke you can laugh with, but it's not laughing at the character of Edna.”
He also revealed to fellow BBC radio host Ross his plans to follow in his footsteps by hosting a TV chat show. “I'm far more comfortable doing the interviewing than being interviewed” he said.