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Christopher Buckley

27th February 2024

Interview & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent

Christopher Buckley is here to talk to us about his debut West End as Young Bobby in 'Stranger Things: The First Shadow'. 

Buckley talks to us all about Stranger Things and what we can expect from the hit show.

Hi Chris! Congratulations on your debut role as Bon Newby in the stage show ‘Stranger Things’. How does it feel to be part of a well-known franchise?

Thank you so much. Well, it’s been and still is such a rollercoaster ride. Now that we’re into the run of the show, some days it feels like a traditional gig - heading to the theatre and warming up, catching up with the cast backstage before bouncing out to perform, standard yet glorious fare for an actor. But other times, the magnitude and scale of being in such a beloved franchise rocks my brain and leaves me in a whirl from moment to moment. Hearing Dixon and Stein’s iconic music playing out. The audience roaring and whooping after our opening scene. And then getting to speak to fans who gush about the show, the series, how much it means to them... It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I pinch myself every day, just to make sure I’m not asleep.

Have you watched the Netflix series of Stranger Things? Did you have to watch the episodes back to get the feel of what it’s like to live in ‘Hawkins’.

Hell yeah! Season one premiered while I was performing in my first play out of drama school, so my partner and I had to wait and wait until I finished to watch it. I remember being awe-struck and terrified, there was nothing quite like it on TV at the time and as a sci-fi/horror nerd, it ticked all the right boxes. We weren’t explicitly encouraged by the creatives to do a rewatch, but when you have a story that’s intrinsically linked and the role you’re performing is so tied to the show, in my mind it would’ve been silly of me not to use it as a resource. Lots of members of the company felt likewise and went back to the material, and I feel that’s one of the many reasons why we’ve gotten such a wonderful response from audiences.

The Hawkins of 1959 has been passionately forged and breathed into life by artists who love and care about this world, and were conscious of how best to draw through lines to the show in the 80’s.

So tell us how is this production of Stranger Things different from the TV show? What can the audience expect?

The play honours all aspects of Stranger Things, veering from laughs and heartwarming scenes to genuine horror and heartbreak with incredible set pieces. But one enormous difference is that you don’t have the protection of a TV screen to shield you. Stephen is a huge fan of the show, and him and Justin are renowned for keeping audiences on their toes.They encouraged Kate to hold nothing back when writing the script, and boy howdy did she deliver. If you and your family are expecting a traditional play, where you can relax and comfortably drink your fizz, you’re in for a surprise!

Did you have to face any challenges playing Bob? Did you get any lessons from Sean Astin?

Hahaha, sadly no lessons from Mr Astin. But on my rewatch, I looked carefully at his performance as Bob for any specific gestures or emotional states which could be applied to a younger version of the character, while always thinking about how he could grow and transition into the older character on the show.

As for challenges, learning to perform and move on a three tiered ring revolve has certainly been a point of focus for me. I’ve taken a few tumbles and 360 spins just trying to find my feet, let alone dance on it or remember my lines! Aside from that, it’s honestly just been magic getting to play Bob. We’re similar enough, the good parts and the bad, that it feels completely natural stepping into his shoes. Plus getting to vibe with this sublime company night after night and having astonishing scene partners in Izzy, Oscar and Ella make every performance heavenly.

Are there any other dream roles you would love to sink your teeth into?

Oooo, that’s a tricky one. During drama school we did alot of focus on classical text which I adored, so getting to do Shakespeare would be fab. But as a part in a lesser performed one, like ‘Troilus and Cressida’ or ‘Cymbeline’. I’d also love to perform in a sci-fi or fantasy project, maybe as a character with a bit of an edge or that has some malice behind them. Lull the viewers with my boyish charm and then BLAM! He was an a*****e all along!

But I’m not picky, just getting to keep working would be lush.

Lastly, if you had the opportunity to ReVamp anything in the world. What would it be and why?

Ohhh there are so many things, we could be here for days. But a major one for me would be a revamp on how young people can get onto the housing market. Too many of my peers are only able to live in damp, flawed and tiny properties being charged extortionate rent by indifferent landlords, unable to save or even dream of their own place. We should all have the right to a home.

Grab your tickets to see 'Stranger Things: The First Shadow' on stage!

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