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Ramin Karimloo and Kerry Ellis on Murder Ballad

Best known for their roles in Phantom of the Opera and Wicked respectively, we chat to the musical theatre icons about their upcoming project

Ramin Karimloo, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Kerry Ellis and Norman Bowman

In a nutshell, what is Murder Ballad about?

KE: It's basically a love story that goes wrong. There are many twists and turns, and of course there is a murder, but that's all I can reveal right now.

RK: I love that there's a big mystery element in the show. It's not just a whodunnit for who the killer is, but also keeps you guessing about which character meets their untimely end.

What appealed to you about working on the show?

RK: I saw it in NYC and found it really interesting and loved the music. Then I saw Sam Yates was directing and then saw the cast and it was kind of a no brainer.

KE: I liked the fact it was a new show and being able to create a new character is very interesting for me. Also that it's a small show with only four characters, it will be quite exposing and challenging but that's the exciting part.

How would you describe the music?

KE: It's a real mixture, rock, pop, country, musical theatre...

RK: Think Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, even "Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin is a 'Murder Ballad'.

KE: It's completely sung through but you almost forget about the singing because the story is very dramatic and powerful.

RK: It was a straight up rock show when I saw it. I'm looking forward to seeing how our show evolves for the space we are playing in. It's raw, it's intimate and it's passionate.

What makes Murder Ballad different to other musicals?

KE: It's a modern, sexy musical with an incredible soundtrack performed by four experienced performers in an intimate venue. What more could you want?

RK: It was quite immersive in NYC with the space it had, I'm excited to see how Sam [Yates, director] is going to take it a step further.

It's a great cast. Are you looking forward to working with the others?

RK: Of course.

KE: I've known Ramin a long time but we've never done a show together, so that will be fun. I'm also a big fan of both Victoria and Norman, they are magnificent, I'm really excited.

You're both used to working on a bigger stage, are you excited about working in the more intimate Arts Theatre?

KE: That was one of the most exciting factors for me, that it's so intimate. It will be a challenge and something new.

RK: Absolutely. After Les Miserables I wanted to start doing a bunch of things; short runs, different characters, working with different people, so this was the perfect piece. I am so excited to be part of, it would be great to see you guys along as it's my first musical role in London for four years.

Why should people book tickets to come and see Murder Ballad?

RK: It's a dark, sexy and relatable show. It'll be intimate yet explosive all the same.

KE: Plus it's only for nine weeks so it feels like something unique and not to be missed.

RK: It's going to be the hottest most talked about show in town. For a four-hander musical, these actors and their voices are going to lift the roof off.

Murder Ballad runs at the Arts Theatre from 30 September to 3 December 2016, click here to book tickets.