Rufus Hound – Regional audiences ‘more welcoming’ than West End

Rufus Hound in One Man, Two Guvnors at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Photo: Johan Persson
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One Man Two Guvnors star Rufus Hound has claimed West End audiences are harder to entertain than those in the regions.

The stand-up, who has recently toured as Francis Henshall in the National Theatre production and is now playing the role in London, said West End theatregoers and regional theatre audiences differ “massively”.

“There were a couple of places we went [on tour], Nottingham and Newcastle especially, where, from the moment we got there, it was like the whole city opened its arms and said, ‘We’ve been waiting for this for ages, come in’. Whereas the West End audience, because of the incredible heritage we have in terms of theatre, do sit there and go, ‘I’ve been to see six shows this year, this is number seven, and I’ve seen this already, so what have you got?’. It feels like a different set up,” he said.

The actor added: “Playing Francis you are vulnerable, as you [in character] are about to ‘muck everything up’, and if the audience is not backing you from early on, it does feel like bloody hard work. But so far we have not got to the end of one show where we have not won them over.”

Hound also described it as “tricky” to be stepping into the shoes of James Corden, who played the role originally.

He said: “There’s a degree to which you always want to be the best at anything you do, so it’s very hard when you are taking over from someone who has won a Tony to surpass that. All I can do is work harder than I’ve ever worked in my life to give the best version of it I am capable of.”