Published: March 30, 2009
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We are very proud to enrich SBF News April's Revue article on Bonheur (Lido, Paris) with the contribution of a great showman from Ballarat, Australia, who has kindly accepted to give ShowBiz Friends this "exclusive" interview and who, not only is an insider at 360 in this very show, but at age 44 has also achieved an incredibly fulfilling career and still finds time to write his biography and support the National Osteoporosis Society campaign. With the BBC's smash-hit worldwide phenomenon Strictly Come Dancing - Dancing with the Stars in other countries (36 in total), he also brings in direct knowledge of many aspects of showbiz productions in both halves of the globe:
Ladies & Gentlemen, SBF member: Mr. "Nasty" Craig Revel Horwood.
Craig Revel Horwood

Quote I wanted my stuff to be theatrical with a little bit of old and a little bit of new. I'm known for making bold choices and statements in the choreographic world and brought that with me to the Lido...

Hi Craig, thank you for sharing your thoughts with ShowBiz Friends.

  • What did it feel like belonging to one of the most sought-after & famous dance groups ever, that is the Bluebells/Kelly Boys?
    Craig Revel Horwood: It was an amazing time, my time at the Lido as a Kelly boy. It was the 80's and everyone was foot loose and fancy free. We were all young, fit, tall and naturally, good looking so we went down well with the locals and felt secure in the knowledge that we were Lido dancers and something special. Many famous people had been through the ranks there and we had the opportunity of working with many big stars and acts as a sideline. The cabaret community was also fabulous as we supported one another, not only by keeping the late night bars open nightly till dawn, but when we had injuries or got into money troubles or the like, we would stick together and make living in Paris easier.
    • Has the fact that you were a Kelly Boy yourself helped you while choreographing Bonheur?
      CRH: Yes as I understand what it's like having to do two shows a night and also dancing in a G-String and boots. Also choreographing for topless is a talent in itself! The thought that went through my mind was, "would I like to dance this every night, twice, in these shoes and costume?" I also think you have a better understanding of what the show is and what the audience expects.
    • You danced in the Lido's show "Panache". How has the choreography at the Lido evolved since then and how did you blend it with your own style, while conceiving Bonheur's choreography?
      Craig with Bluebells in Panache - Lido, Paris CRH: The choreography has become more difficult as audiences nowadays expect MTV style dancing and not just parading, as was generally the case when wearing big feather backpacks. I wanted my stuff to be theatrical with a little bit of old and a little bit of new. I'm known for making bold choices and statements in the choreographic world and brought that with me to the Lido.
    • I think you would agree that everyone who worked for Miss Bluebell loved, admired & respected her. Would you please share with all ShowBiz Friends a memory that you treasure dearly - either serious or funny, that involved you and Miss Bluebell?
      CRH: Sadly, I only met her once when she came on a visit to the Lido. One of my friend's back then, Glenn Mather, used to impersonate her to a tee. When I met her I was a little disappointed she wasn't as OTT as he used to make out, but she was a delight and quite fabulous and we were all in ore of her. I was one of the lucky ones at that time in my life to have the amazing opportunity to meet someone whom I think was truly 'Great'.
    • What brought you to Europe from Australia?
      CRH: An invitation from a dear old friend of mine, Stuart McGhee or "Magatha" as I like to call him. He's now the Response de Ballet, but was in the show and a captain of the line when I joined in the summer of 1988. I also wanted to leave Australia for a while to experience Europe so accepted an 8-month contract at the Lido.
    • We all know that you have performed at the Lido and also in West-End musicals like Cats, Miss Saigon & Crazy for You, among others. Can you tell us the difference you've experienced being a performer in a French Revue compared to a West-End musical, even down to different lifestyles?
      Craig with Strictly Come Dancing girls CRH: A vast difference! In a West End musical you have to sing, dance and act. You are auditioned for all three disciplines. Also you are expected to have many different dance styles under your belt to a very high standard including tap, jazz, modern, classical and occasionally acro skills too. The band is also live, as is all the vocals and BV's (backing vocals). It's 8 shows a week Monday through to Saturday with Sunday dark, so that's the time that you socialize. At the Lido we were on a day off rotor, so you could never go out with everyone, because there were only a few people off the same night as the show is 7 days a week with 2 shows nightly.
    • You have judged the whole hit TV series of BBC One's "Strictly Come Dancing" and the New Zealand version. How does showbiz in the western side of the world (Europe & America) compare to and differ from Australia & New Zealand?
      CRH: Yes, I am the original judge from the original BBC One's SCD and have done all 6 series and 3 series in New Zealand. I created the 'role' before it went worldwide to 36 countries. The difference between Europe and America and Australian versions of the show is simply money - $$$$$$$! Europe and the US have much bigger budgets, so the show is longer and they can afford bigger stars to appear.
    Quote ...there is a place in the world for all of us, so if you're not great at one thing maybe something else will be right for you...
    Mr. Nasty 'scoring high' with his proverbial palette
    • Do you think that the way showbiz is today puts more (or less) pressure on a dancer's career than it used to do in the past and what would you say to encourage today's performers?
      CRH: I think it puts more pressure on dancers with the advent of the internet and stars now using dancers in a big way for backing them like Kylie, Cher, Madonna, Spice Girls in fact all of the groups and solo artists. It's tough as you can't just be good you have to be amazing with the hottest bod in the world! As encouragement, there is a place in the world for all of us, so if you're not great at one thing maybe something else will be right for you. Some dancers freak out about having to sing at an audition, so my advice to them is you've got nothing to lose, so do the best you can, you never know what the creatives are looking for. Go for it and have no shame!
    • Lastly, what is your honest opinion about ShowBiz Friends?
      CRH: I hope it builds a great network of young and old hoofers that not only want to catch up, but learn something about themselves through others. Bring it on!

      Thank you again Craig for this enlightening interview.