What it is like for you returning to the role of Robin Oakapple and to Opera North?

Grant Doyle as Robin Oakapple and Amy Freston as Rose Maybud in Ruddigore

“It is such an honour to be asked to reprise the role for Opera North in this brilliant production of Ruddigore. I am very grateful for being given the opportunity in the first place, and to know that it was successful enough to be revived so soon is just icing on the cake.” 

How does the rehearsal process differ for a revived role rather than a new one?

“The rehearsal process is quite different, it begins with simply remembering what we did the first time around, and then becomes an exercise in finding freshness and spontaneity. Also it is a chance to polish up some rough edges. I have done revivals before where I wasn’t in the original production and I find that more difficult – wearing another’s shoes – but this is a joy. The rehearsals have been progressing very swiftly because we are lucky enough to have all of the original cast back, who are all brilliant actors and singers and are fantastic to work with. We are now ready for Jo Davies and her team to put it on the stage again.” 

How do you find performing the two different ‘characters’ of Robin Oakapple and Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd?

Grant Doyle (seated) as Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, with members of the Opera North chorus as the ghosts of the Murgatroyd ancestors

“The important thing I have to remember is that there aren’t two characters, it is really Robin all the time. I try to keep him as normal and affable as possible. When he becomes Sir Ruthven, he is forced into playing the part of a bad Baronet but never feels comfortable and after much guilt and comedy torture, finds a way out of it.  It is a gift of a role – a character playing a character, with all the over-the-top fun that brings.”

What do you enjoy most about this production?

“The best things about this production is all of my colleagues, who create a mad world of comedy characters around me which still make me chuckle, the clear and deft storytelling of Jo Davies’ direction and the exquisite sepia flavoured costume and design – love that hat and cape!”


Grant Doyle plays Robin Oakapple / Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore, which opens on Friday 30 September at Leeds Grand Theatre, before touring to Nottingham Theatre Royal, Newcastle Theatre Royal, The Lowry, Salford and the Barbican, London. More details and booking information is available here.


Eaton’s Blog.

I’m exhausted! I’ve just finished a long day at rehearsals, where we have been practising a very high energy dance number. I have to throw my leading lady, (Summer Strallen who plays ‘Lidochka’) over my back and head while we’re jiving and spinning around so much, that by the end of the number we can barely speak due to exhaustion! The number looks amazing though, and I’m sure the audiences are going to love it.

I‘ve been having such a good time in rehearsals these past few weeks. This is my first time working with Opera North and it’s been an absolute pleasure, everyone has been so welcoming and friendly. Coming from a Musical Theatre background things in rehearsals have been very different for me, but working on such a fun piece like Paradise Moscow keeps everyone in such high spirits. We’re always giggling in rehearsals. It’s hard to stay serious when you’re rehearsing a scene where the chorus and dancers are all wearing flower pots on their heads! You have to come and watch the show to see how that happens.

This whole process has been so rewarding. The part I play, Boris, is really demanding but so gratifying. It’s always hard leaving my flat in London to go away to rehearse, but I’ve fallen in love with Leeds and I look forward to going to work each day.

I’m off now, I have an early start tomorrow as we’re rehearsing the bows, I’ve heard it’s a dance number in itself, I can’t wait. 

Eaton James
Paradise Moscow