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  • Writer's pictureBecky Wallis

Fisherman's Friends the Musical - Preview - Theatre Royal Plymouth

After a successful limited run in Truro’s Hall for Cornwall last year, the musical adaptation of the film Fisherman’s Friends returns to stage in a couple of weeks, launching its UK Tour at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Based on the 2019 film of the same title, Fisherman’s Friends tells the story of a group of Cornish Fishermen who are discovered and launched into the limelight for their talent for singing sea shanties. Loosely based on the real-life tale of Port Issacs’s Shanty group, who were plucked from nothing to superstardom, it is a story of music, family, and tradition.

The film proved such a success that it not only birthed this stage adaptation but also a sequel, which is currently impressing cinema goers.

I was invited along to the press launch for the show which saw the cast performing from ‘Fisherman’s Friends’, with their vocals raising the rafters of the Crown and Anchor pub and spreading across Plymouth’s Barbican.

The cast performing John Kanaka

The tour opens in Plymouth on Thursday 1 September before visiting Birmingham, Cheltenham, Salford, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Dublin, Cardiff, Bath, and Leeds. The show will then receive its North American Premiere in Toronto Canada, running there between November 2022 and January 2023 before returning to the UK to play in Nottingham, Sheffield, Southampton, Canterbury, Richmond, Oxford, Malvern, Leicester, Torquay, Bristol, and Glasgow.

Speaking to Dan Buckley, who returns to the role of Rowen after playing the part in Truro, he states that being back is ‘very special. Truro is like, just my starter, the tour is my main course, and Canada is like my desert, and sometimes I like to eat my sweet stuff before my savoury, so we are all good there’

I also asked Buckley why he thinks that people should come and see this show.

‘Oh well, just because I think it’s magic. I really do. I think it’s a concept that we are all familiar with. Okay, this idea that the every-man gets thrust from obscurity into the limelight because they have something to offer. And I think it’s full of heart, it’s full of community spirit. It’s just a really great, heartfelt story’

I was actually lucky enough to see this show during previews at the original Hall for Cornwall run last year, and you can check out my review here

The full cast for the tour includes James Gaddas as Jim, Parisa Shahmir as Alwyn, Robert Duncan as Jago, Susan Penhaligan as Maggie, Anton Stephans as Leadvile, Dan Buckley as Rowen, Jason Langley as Danny, Pete Gallagher as Wiggie, Hadrian Delacey as Archie, Fia Houston-Hamilton as Leah, Hazel Monaghan as Sally, John O’Mahony as Eddy, Louisa Beadel as Morwenna, Becky Hurst as Grace and James William-Pattison as Owen. The ensemble includes Hazel Simmons, Janet Mooney, Dominic Brewer, and Martin Carroll, with musicians Hazel Askew, Mel Biggs and Alfie Gidley, along with musical director James Findlay.

Parisa Sharmer and cast performing 'Village By The Sea'

The show is crammed full of sea shanties such as ‘South Australia’ and ‘A Sailor Ain’t A Sailor’, guaranteed to leave audiences both with a tune in their heads and a smile on their faces. When asked about the music and how some people know some of the songs, Buckley stated ‘of course, and Wellerman is in the show, for anyone who wants to know, it is in the show, it’s been put in and even if you don’t know the music, the thing about sea shanties and the reason that these gents were picked up and signed and have done so well is because sea shanties speak to you, they speak to you, they’re magic, they really are. So, if you don’t know them, there’s something about them, the way they sound. They’re steeped in so much history, that you can’t help but be moved and feel something when you listen to them, and that’s why it's so amazing.

Buckley also added that it was a real privilege to be bringing the show to a city with such sea faring history, so if you would like to catch this delight of a show during its run at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, you can buy your tickets here. Don’t miss out.


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