In the West End premiere of Ain’t Too Proud, Kyle Cox is performing as Paul Williams at the Prince Edward Theatre alongside Cameron Bernard Jones, Sifiso Mazibuko, Tosh Wanogho-Maud and Mitchell Zhangazha. Kyle will be continuing in the musical, which follows the journey of The Temptations, until the show’s closing date in London on 17th September. Having graduated from ArtsEd in 2022, Kyle has been part of Elf the Musical at the Dominion Theatre and played Wyatt in Crazy for You at Chichester Festival Theatre. We spoke to Kyle, who told us about being in the cast of Ain’t Too Proud for the show’s West End premiere, portraying Paul Williams in the musical and how he got into performing.
How did you feel finding out you’d booked the role of Paul Williams in the West End premiere of Ain’t Too Proud?
I remember being over the moon. I was in Lisbon Airport in Portugal, I was with my partner waiting for my flight, when my agent called me. We hadn’t heard anything for a couple of weeks so I thought it would be an “It’s alright, there’ll be another thing, we’ll keep auditioning and see what else comes up”. But she told me I’d got the role, and I was screaming at the airport – everyone was looking at me like I was an idiot, but I didn’t really care, to be honest. Then we spent the whole flight listening to the soundtrack of the show!
What is Paul Williams like to portray and how is it getting into character?
Paul Williams has quite a tough story to portray, he’s quite a vulnerable person in the show with a lot of things that happen to him throughout his life. And as I have said, he was the glue that holds the group together, so his story is quite a sad one in respect of the other five. So, portraying him every night is a vulnerable experience. I would say, getting into character – I usually listen to music and just try and relax, calm myself down so I am ready to delve into this life that he was living and show what and who he was, how he acted around these people, and how his life changed them.
How is it performing The Temptations’ music?
It’s incredible, it’s some of the best music out there. There are so many songs that people come and see the show and say, “Oh yeah, I didn’t realise that was them” and I feel like that’s where they were as a massive group, they were everywhere – so even if you come to the show not knowing The Temptations, you know The Temptations.
I would say that my favourite part of working with everyone is how much I get to learn and absorb. I am the youngest one out of the five, and I have been able to learn so much from how they act, how they perform, how they conduct themselves. Their approach to things – it has been amazing to help hone my craft.
How is the run going so far and what is it like seeing the audience response to the show?
I think the run is going really well. People have been really enjoying it and the people I have spoken to have said that it’s been one of their favourite things they’ve seen this year, which is really positive. The audiences are loving it, they are standing up every night and clapping along, laughing along – you can really see them enjoying it.
Since graduating from ArtsEd last year, what are you enjoying most about working in the theatre industry?
I think the thing I enjoy most is the people around you. You meet so many different people because there are so many different aspects of the industry that it is really interesting to see how it all comes together and how everyone plays their part in this greater whole.
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you get into it?
I got into acting through Babette Langford who ran The Young Set. I went with my mum one day as my sister was auditioning for a show. So, I was just sitting there with my mum in the reception area and Babette Langford was doing panto rehearsals in the same reception area. She pulled me up, put me in a place and said, “You’re doing this panto, these are the dates” and ever since, I have loved it. I have gone to classes, read loads of books, seen loads of films and just loved it.
What are some of your favourite theatre shows to watch?
I love to watch new work. I find it really interesting. I love watching things that are brand new because it is showing what the new generation of theatre is going to be like! I also just love big band musicals where the orchestra is just doing its thing and sounding incredible.
Is there anything you are looking forward to most for continuing your run as Paul Williams in Ain’t Too Proud?
One of my favourite things, that I look forward to most, is learning new things as you do a show. And when you get more time, the more time you have with the show, the more you can delve into the character – find the nuances and make all the beats land. It’s really interesting finding more out in that sense.
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