This week on Throwback Thursday we speak to Blythe Jandoo who appeared in the recent West End productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Disney’s Aladdin.
1) What was your first ever show that you did as a kid, and what was it that got you into the theatre world?
I started ballet when I was about 3 or 4 and I loved it! Dancing was always going to be in my life. The show that got me into Musical Theatre was The Wizard of Oz at The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. I went to the Lyceum Youth Theatre which meant I got to audition for the professional shows there that needed kids. I got one of the Munchkins/Ozians in The Wizard of Oz when I was 12 and I loved every minute of being on stage. From then I knew I wanted to pursue it further.
2) What was the audition process like for shows like Aladdin?
I have done hundreds of auditions now and some of the most difficult and lengthy processes were for the big West End shows. When I auditioned for the original cast of Aladdin I did around 6/7 rounds, made it to the finals and then didn’t get it. When I auditioned two years later after gaining more experience and working in other amazing jobs I only did three rounds before I got it. For ensemble tracks you usually dance first, there can be a combination and then some technical aspects specific to the show, for example, tricks, high kicks, tap. Then round two is a song of your choice. Then you usually dance again and sing material from the show. If they’re looking for you to cover you will sing/read the material for the parts you would be covering. When it gets to the final audition it’s all about piecing together a cast that works and is usually in front of every creative team member and casting director.
3) What is your process each night when you get into character for a show?
The first big step is makeup, wigs and costume. As soon as you literally step into the shoes of your character, I personally find I get into the zone. Practising the lines and the accent (if doing one) also prepares you. I don’t have to be in character when I’m off stage in order to switch it on when I’m performing but just before I go on stage I like to think about what’s just happened in my character’s story and what my intention is in the next scene.
4) Tell us about one of your best/funniest memories on stage?
My favourite moment on stage was flying on the magic carpet in Aladdin when I got to play Jasmine, singing A Whole New World for the first time. Nothing will beat that. Starlight Express was always thrilling and quite often someone if not me would fall over and that could be hilarious as long as it wasn’t serious. Starting the show at the top of a ramp is an unforgettable thing.
5) How are you keeping creative in lockdown?
In lockdown, I’ve been working with Pitlochry Festival Theatre, making you tutorials, dancing around, singing, workshopping new writing, reading poetry, reading short stories. It’s really kept me going. I’ve also been teaching my dance class, Dance for Actor/Singers online which has been really nice because I love connecting with the community. Playreads with friends have also been a new way for me to stay creative.
6) What three things can we always find in your dressing room? I.e Lucky charms…things that help you on stage…blue m&ms..
I always keep pictures of my friends and family in my dressing room. It makes me feel like they are near when I’m in the theatre all day and night and reminds me to call them. I’ll always have some ginger sweets to keep my throat warm and a speaker to listen to music to get me excited for the show or meditate and relax between shows.
7) What is your favourite Cast Album to listen to right now?
My friend recently introduced me to Girl From The North Country! I didn’t get to see it but I love the soundtrack.
8) If your life were a musical what would it be called, and why?
If my life were a musical it would be called “Full Steam Ahead” because that’s how I live my life! I grasp every opportunity and always say yes. Sometimes I forget to relax and appreciate just being, but it’s something I’m learning to do.