OPINION: Are we guilty of buying into the casting hype? Who are we to judge?

24 Feb
Posted in: Features
Author: Katie Rose
Are we guilty of judging stunt casting?

When the casting of Freddie Flintoff in the current tour of the musical FAT FRIENDS was announced, there was a wide range of views and opinions from the public, as well as the theatre world. Mainly, people were complaining that it was an insult to theatre and to those who are studying and training in the Arts. But is that a fair judgement of performers just doing their jobs? 

I can’t claim that I have never judged the casting of a show and we are all guilty of complaining when someone announced is not to our taking. I for one was surprised at Freddie being casted in a musical, with his main career focused around sport (cricket and boxing) but then, he is a great showman. Having seen him on the Sky One TV show "A League of Their Own", he also sang on the show impersonating Elvis – and he wasn’t half bad. I was pleasantly surprised that he had a good voice. The only thing I haven’t seen of him is his acting. I’d seen so many comments following his casting stating he should ‘stick to sports,’ ‘oh he’s a well known name, bet he just walked in and got the job’ ‘A student training in theatre wouldn’t find it as easy to walk into a sports team...’ Yes his background is sports, but let us remember that Alfie Boe started his career as an Engineer, with no training in the Arts and yet we adore him now in the theatre community! So why is it different for Freddie?

Give him a chance.

I applaud Lin-Manual Miranda and the big announcement of the actors who will play the lead roles in HAMILTONJamael Westman (Alexander Hamilton) is a recently graduated RADA student and Michael Jibson (King George) is a stage and screen star. Having waited months to hear the final casting, a lot of people felt deflated with the news of Jamael – for many of us do not know him. Yet, many comments were mainly on the casting of Michael, some saying there were better options! Lin-Manual, worked brilliantly with this, giving a chance to someone who is unknown and hoping to make him a somebody, knowing the public couldn’t criticise him. It certainly opened up my eyes with my views and looking at the reviews I can see I’m correct!

Yes, I have made comments in the past, especially with TV actors and actresses treading the boards around us and on the West End, but that’s not to say that I don’t give them a chance, or miss a chance to meet them. I will only finally judge once I have seen them, and with some I have been pleasantly surprised. But also I remember that all actors and actresses have to audition to get into a show.

So what I am trying to say is we are all the same, that we all have our opinions that are ok to speak out on. But we still need to see it to believe it...so to speak.

So what are your views? Have you been quick to judge? Not happy about a casting? Let me know.

Tags: Casting , Opinion