Brief Encounter With...Gary Amers, Star of Frank's Closet
Here, the Newcastle-born actor, whose stage credits include roles in Chicago and Wicked in the West End and the part of Ephraim in the UK tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, tells WOS about the fun of stepping into Frank’s Closet.
What attracted you to the show?
It’s an uplifting, camp musical with a message of enjoying your life and having a good time. It’s based upon this closet where Frank stores his belongings. He’s bought all these dresses that were once owned by divas – Julie Andrews, Ethel Merman, Judy Garland, Karen Carpenter, Marie Lloyd – who’ve inspired him throughout his life. He collects things and each thing he collects reminds him of an important moment in his life. Then he meets this guy called Alan and says, “I’ll marry him”. But Alan says he has to get rid of his old life and empty the closet, so he does that and takes the audience down memory lane. By doing that he lets go of his past and learns to let love in.
It’s clearly a very light-hearted show – but is there a serious message to Frank’s story?
The message is that whoever you are, gay or straight, you can just live your life and be free to be yourself. Also, that it’s important to remember the past but that you have to let in the new.
Some of the great divas and musical theatre moments are evoked in Frank’s Closet. Do you have to love musicals to enjoy the show?
Absolutely not. Everyone just has a fantastic time, even if you don’t know who all the divas are or know all the songs. It’s just hilarious, so much fun. I didn’t know what some of them were, but I’ve just been blown away by the whole energy of it.
Frank’s Closet was written with Hoxton Hall in mind. Could you tell us about the connection with the venue?
It’s one of the original music halls. There are only four left in England. Marie Lloyd actually performed here and now she’s a character in the show. She grew up and enhanced her career here. We’ve been rehearsing in the venue and when you see the stage it’s actually a bit spooky because you know that this woman, she was on this stage, she started here. It really makes the show more special.
What’s your favourite moment in the show?
Oh, I never like to say because I’m sure it’ll have changed before we open! There’s so many great moments. We’re having such a laugh.