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Rob Houchen: 'I'm definitely a different Marius than I was circa 2013'

The Les Mis star talks ahead of the show's newest cast recording

Rob Houchen in Les Misérables
© Matt Murphy

Rob Houchen will be once more taking on the role of Marius in Les Misérables next month at the Gielgud Theatre. Before that, he's going to see his turn in the show immortalised on a brand new cast album – which arrives at the end of this week!

1) How does it feel listening back to yourself? 

I hate it! But it has to be done a lot when proofing new recordings and making sure you're personally ‘happy' with it. It's definitely not my favourite thing to do. I will tell you a paranoid secret that when I lose my voice for a while it is the only time I deliberately listen to myself to remind myself my voice will return. 

2) Was there a favourite moment in the show of yours that you're glad has been immortalised on screen and CD?

I always find Eponine's death (SPOILER) very moving. In the evening show that we filmed Shan's hat fell off, which in the final recording was replaced by the matinees filmed show. But I like having that unique memory as it felt special.

3) And you're going to be revisiting the role soon – how does that feel?

It feels great - especially at a time like this - to be moving theatre forward out of this darkness in a role that has given me so much enjoyment & love.

4) You've been in Marius' shoes a few times now – has your relationship with the role changed over time?  

I'm definitely a different Marius than I was circa 2013. I like to think I've grown up along with my portrayal of the character. I always play him as the age he is supposed to be but understand a little more about what that means and who he is every time I go back to him. 

5) Lockdown has completely changed the arts world – what has been the most striking part of it for you? 

To be honest, I've been struck by the disregard for our industry and the way actors have been missed out in the distribution of attention from the government. What hasn't surprised me is the camaraderie and hope that performers have had.  

6) Why do you think Les Mis as a show speaks to 2020 specifically? 

Les Mis centres around family, love and determination, which in these times is what we all need to hold onto. 

The new live cast recording of the West End production of Les Miserables – The Staged Concert is released on 20 November 2020 and is available for pre-order here.