In the show, Straker plays Rufus - a 1960s soulman intent on recreating the sound of his heroes. However, when a backing singer (Turner) emerges who wants to funk things up a little, the legacy of girl power in the soul arena emerges.
The piece is written by Kwame Kwei-Armah, who is best known for playing paramedic Finlay in TV's Casualty. He has also performed in several West End shows (including Carmen Jones), and has written two short films for the BBC.
Ruby Turner was born in Jamaica, but came to live in Birmingham at the age of nine. Her major break came in the 1980s when she joined Boy George's Culture Club at the height of their stardom. As a solo artist she has released several hit albums, and appeared on recordings by Bryan Ferry and Jools Holland among others. Her stage credits include the London production of Carmen Jones and the role of Miss Sherman in the West End Fame. Turner also played Anita Goodhall in the TV series EastEnders.
Peter Straker created the role of Hud in the original 1968 London production of Hair, and has since played in almost every major London theatre. His theatre credits include Tommy, Blues in the Night, Ken Hill's Phantom of the Opera and Hot Stuff. He has recorded four albums and featured on the late Freddie Mercury's collaboration with Montsserrat Caballe on Barcelona. Straker also recently completed a nationwide tour of The Rat Pack, playing Sammy Davis Jnr.
Other cast members include Jacqui Boatswain whose West End career has taken in La Cage Aux Folles, Mack & Mabel and Fosse. Dawn Michael, who appeared in the original production of Hold On, also stars. The show is directed by Andy Hay, the musical director is John O'Hara and choreography comes from Karen Bruce.
Following the Norwich opening, Hold On continues to Coventry, Aberdeen, Northampton, Bromley, Cork, Leeds, Stoke on Trent and Bath.
- by Gareth Thompson