On the Road Again

Windmill Theatre Co favourite, Grug is off on tour again in March bringing his latest show to the US and Canada, Grug and the Rainbow. We sat down with local Adelaide actor Matt Crook, who is part of the cast keeping Grug company on his big adventure, to chat about his career, his time with Windmill and all things Grug. This isn’t their first time to the States together, having travelled there back in 2013, with this years itinerary including Washington DC, Vancouver, New York and Cleveland, just to name a few.

On the verge of taking off, Matt says he can’t wait to get back on the road.

“That’s one of the great things about acting…the travel is amazing and you get to see different parts of the world.”

Catching the acting bug in late high school, he auditioned for Flinders Drama Centre after he graduated and got straight in. Considering him self one of the lucky few to do so, he has worked hard and developed himself as an actor through shows with various South Australian companies, and by developing his own theatrical works. It was a while before he was able to break into the Adelaide theatre scene, but there was no way he was going to let that deter him.

“I knew that’s what I wanted to do…so I just made my own theatre work…and kept auditioning.

“Once you get a taste of it, you say ‘I like this. This is fun’.

“I got my first gig with Windmill in 2010…and since then I’ve had a steady flow of work.”

Different from anything he’d done before, Matt found Windmill’s approach to theatre-making a brand new experience.

“It was Rose’s brilliant, highly stylised, hilarious, high energy and dynamic style of theatre.

“I’d never worked on a show with a live composer before, so that was something new, and with that amount of animation.”

Matt’s most recent show with Windmill, Rumpelstiltskin, where he played the Zoolander-esque Malcolm, was a completely different experience again. With the added elements of singing and dancing, he says he was taken completely out of his comfort zone.

“Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t do it, but when someone’s like ‘let’s use that, that’s fantastic’, it gives you a bit of confidence and it’s nice to stretch those muscles.

“You don’t get many opportunities where directors will utilise everything you can do.

“Rose really trusts you to do the work and to go out there and try something weird and excellent.”

On the verge of his fifth Grug tour, Matt is a pro at what to do and what to expect when he’s on the road. With long days and spending months away from home, he finds it’s the amazing people he gets to tour with that gets him through – and the coffee.

“Touring is hard, especially for that amount of time, it’s difficult.

“When you’re with good people, it doesn’t matter anyway.

“…and I carry a little aeropress with me just in case we don’t have coffee around, I’m prepared.”

The cast of the 2013 Grug tour of the US went to some beautiful places and incredible cities. Despite the length, Matt says he had the most amazing experiences over there, making it his favourite tour so far.

“Working on Broadway was amazing.

“Just being able to walk to work up 42nd Street everyday is insane, and performing just below where Alec Baldwin and Shia LaBeouf were rehearsing was pretty nuts.

“I can’t wait to go back to New York, it’s going to be so much fun.”

While preparing for the trip, Matt has also been working with Sandpit, Country Arts SA and a range of other artists to develop a brand new work, Eyes. Premiering at the Adelaide Fringe in February in Mt Gambier, Eyes is an outdoor participatory theatre experience and will investigate what we would do if we were one of the remaining few on earth.

“It’s going to be more of a theatrical tour…using technology in theatre and experimenting with that.

“We’re working with a playwright called Declan Green…this excellent and very intelligent human being.”

After Grug and the Rainbow, Matt hopes to explore other artistic mediums including TV and film and also get the chance to perform in the West End.

“I want to do things that scare me.

“I found Rumpelstiltskin scary at times because you’re singing and playing music and always on the go.

“You’ve got to put yourself on the line a bit…I’m sure that stuff will happen in time.”

Travelling over to the States? Catch Matt, Grug and the gang in the US from March until June. Details can be found here!


By Chloe Svaikauskas

By Chloe Svaikauskas

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