Three cheers for France! For some time, the French have crossed the English Channel to work on the West End stages. REGARD EN COULISSE met with some of them. Integration, cultural differences, working conditions. Our little "frogs" tell us about their English experience... around a cup of tea, inevitably.

Jérôme Pradon would like to work again in France

If Sacha Distel enjoyed a certain celebrity already, before integrating into the West End, other less known artists crossed the English Channel to show the British that France could export things other than champagne and Hermes silk scarves. Jérôme Pradon for example. In 92, shortly after he left the Paris production of Les Miserables, Jérôme joined the English troupe of Miss Saigon, where he performed as Chris, an American GI.

"People rather nicely accommodated me, there was perhaps a kind of bitterness but I did not pay much attention to it. Moreover, that was quite hard for me because it was an enormous cultural shock, it was necessary to adapt... And then, the role was very depressing" remembers Jérôme. As for work itself "as long as you do your job, things go well, but you'd better do it right. The West End is a very tough place to work where there is no place for mediocrity" he adds.

In 96, he struck a great coup by performing Guillaume in the original cast of Martin Guerre, thus becoming the first artist having played major roles in all three Boublil and Schonberg musicals.

Today, Jérôme is integrated into a new family, that of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Starring in Whistle Down The Wind and the video of Jesus Christ Superstar, he is one of the leading men of the moment. "It took time, I've had to prove myself, the necessary evidence being Martin Guerre, Killing Rasputin and two or three TVs... It is only now that I am regarded as a leading man in the West End. I have come to a point where I am known here but, I would like to work in France too!"


--Stéphane Ly-Cuong
Regard en Coulisse
Translation by Ceres Saturn

ReCREGARD EN COULISSE, The Musical Theatre news magazine (IN FRENCH).