Arts & Entertainment

Girl From The North Country arrives in Sydney

Photo: Manuel Harlan

UK actor Callum Francis has come a long way since appearing on Britain’s Got Talent as a 12-year-old child, starring in Kinky Boots, Miss Saigon, The Lion King, Ghost and Hair just to name a few.

Now residing in Sydney he’s currently performing in the multi-award-winning and critically acclaimed Girl From The North Country, music and lyrics by Bob Dylan.

“I’m obsessed with this show! Set over a few nights, the story takes place in Minnesota in the mid-1930s. Audiences will meet all these different characters from different walks of life and will see a moving picture of their lives – how their stories interact and how they come together as a community.”

Dealing with universally relatable issues including dementia, alcoholism and racial discrimination, Francis paused momentarily when asked whether the mood of this show is dark or uplifting.

“It’s human, it’s life and sadly there are dark moments in life and there are also happy moments in life. We go through the emotions with these characters, it’s like a soap as the amount of drama that happens in a few days is unbelievable!” laughed Francis. “You get snapshots of their lives and it’s really heavy. You feel for them all individually.”

Francis plays the role of a promising African American boxer who, sadly because of the colour of his skin, is wrongly charged and imprisoned for three years.

“In those times it wasn’t uncommon and it’s terrifying how much that bleeds into society today especially in America.”

The musical features the re-imagined songs of Bob Dylan including Hurricane, Lay Lady Lay, Like A Rolling Stone and Slow Train Coming. “The dialogue fits in amazingly with the classic songs and perfectly with the script.”

Francis explained that he is blessed to be working with such a great cast. “There’s 11 leads and we all share the love. Lisa McCune is a dream and it’s a joy watching how Peter Carroll and Helen Dallimore work – it’s like a master class, it’s just so genius!”

Francis is adamant that all audiences will relate to this show. “If you write down everything that happens in the show and then write down what has happened in the past two years, they go hand in hand, so scarily similar. I think this show works best post pandemic – it just hits a nerve.”

Jan 5–Feb 20. Theatre Royal, 108 King St, Sydney. $55-$190. Tickets & Info: www.northcountry.com.au

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