Theme from “The Adventurer” (1972) –
(Click sound wave image):
One is from the North. Born in Oldham, Greater Manchester and attended the former Our Lady’s Secondary School in Royton. He moved to Blackpool as a teenager and then from the age of 21 further travelled within the Arts & Entertainment industry to several places including Majorca and South Florida and in-between and thereafter settled in Scotland for many years. He held a variety of positions including DJ-Entertainer, Host & Compere and Professional Voice-Over Artist. He is also a writer/poet who has now moved back to his hometown of Blackpool where he tends to his mother as her live-in Carer…
The other one is from the South. Born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent and attended the local grammar school for girls. Later she went to Surrey University for Acting/drama and subsequently London Academy of music and drama. She has undertaken various roles within Film, Television and Theatre and has utilised her voice skills on several occasions. She is also a professional model having undertaken assignments for a number of organizations. She now resides near Elstree with her husband and young son…
This north and south collaboration first teamed-up back in 2008 along with another 7 voice-actors for the independent radio drama entitled “That’ll be the Stardust!” – the online audio spin-off to the classic film “That’ll be the Day” (1973) and its sequel, “Stardust” (1974):
Cosmic Dwellings interviews both Tony G. Marshall and Holly Macdonald in the lead-up to their renewed collaboration for Jim Maclaine’s “Dea Sancta et Gloria” – a lyrical spoken word rock opera expanded from “Stardust”. This interview conveys a welcome camaraderie between the two voice-over artists who still share a sense of professional comradeship through the network of a production that first allowed them to connect on an artistic level. Therefore, we hope you enjoy this unique, fun and very informative interview. Note: Social Distancing rules were adhered to throughout the conducting of this interview. So, without any further ado, please welcome – Tony G. Marshall and Holly Macdonald…
Cosmic Dwellings: First of all, thank you to both of you for taking the time to speak with us this afternoon.
Tony G. Marshall: You’re very welcome.
Holly Macdonald: It’s a pleasure, thank you.
CD: Before the interview, you were both discussing the time when Tony stayed in London for a while during the development of “That’ll be the Stardust!” for the theatre…could you tell us a little about that?
HM: Yes, I was his chauffeur each time he turned up at Borehamwood station! (Laughter)
TGM: In a sense, that’s very true, Holly! (Laughter). Well, at the time several of the cast of “That’ll be the Stardust!” were interested in developing the radio drama for the stage. We were doing hospital radio promo shows, meeting up for rehearsals – but it never materialised for one reason and another. Holly and I used to hang-out and discuss tactics for the next phase of the project. Sadly, it was never to be.
HM (to Tony): But I think at the time you’d already mentioned to me that you had this other project which was “Dea Sancta et Gloria”…
TGM: Yeah, I think we both briefly discussed it with Dominic Connolly. For those reading this interview who aren’t aware of who Dominic Connolly is – he’s the eldest son of screenwriter and author, Ray Connolly – Ray wrote the screenplays for “That’ll be the Day” and “Stardust.” Dominic portrayed the young Jimmy Maclaine jr in “Stardust” – the son of Jim Maclaine (David Essex). Furthermore, Dominic voiced the David Essex role in flashback sequences in our radio drama.
HM: During that time it was usually Tony, Dominic and I who would end up being the last out of the pub after rehearsals, so we went out in style – it was all good fun and merriment! (Laughter).
TGM: Going out in a glorious blaze of “All for one- and sod the rest!” – Three Musketeers style! (Laughter)
CD: So, with the new production, what made you decide to further develop and expand upon Jim Maclaine’s rock opera from the movie “Stardust”(1974)?
TGM: Well, it’s not such a new production because during my writing of the script for the radio drama of “That’ll be the Stardust!” I just happened upon it. It seemed like a good idea to create something with the appropriate themes that Maclaine’s rock opera represented which was initially the ‘glory of woman’. There was only one song which represented it in “Stardust” – that being “Dea Sancta”. However, in the book of the movie it is suggested that the actual telecast of the rock opera ran a total of 1 hour and had an accompanying album of songs. Furthermore, I was inspired enough to roll with the creation of it as it was a lot more closer to the original idea I had back in the eighties which transitioned into the radio drama of “That’ll be the Stardust!” in 2007. Therefore, it was an important piece to create and it has become a nice tie-in to the concept of the radio drama along with the films of “That’ll be the Day” and “Stardust.”
CD: How did you approach the expansion of “Dea Sancta et Gloria”?
TGM: The idea came to me via Maclaine’s relationships with the women throughout his life, as depicted in the films, which includes his mother, his ex-wife (the mother of his son), and his girlfriend and even includes the women who had a passing fancy in his life when he was younger throughout his time as a waiter at a holiday camp, a fairground attendant and during his pre-fame rock star days with the Stray Cats band. I knew that I had to create the concept as some kind of biographical prose or poems to tie-in with the musical aspect of the rock opera.
CD: You have adapted and written this project as a voice-over production for spoken word as opposed to creating something for the singing voice. Why did you decide to do this?
TGM: I decided upon this format because it plays to our voice-over and acting skills. I also wanted to be as creative as possible with words, or lyrics, which in turn allowed me to incorporate several themes pertinent to the life of Jim Maclaine. There will be some form of orchestral music mixed into the final recording of the production so that will convey the musical aspect of it in an understated way…
(Click graphic link below to discover more about Jim Maclaine’s “Dea Sancta et Gloria” – this interview continues below…)
Holly Macdonald: What intrigued me was the fact that “Dea Sancta” is closer to Tony’s original ideas as a form of stage play based on events of Jim Maclaine’s life. Plus, I very much wanted to be a part of something in which I was familiar with its characters and story concept. Furthermore, the flow of Tony’s beautiful words holds one spellbound and his intense energy, positivity and passion for creativity still capture the imagination of his audience.
TGM: Thank you, Holly.
CD: But how do you feel about being a part of something which isn’t actually established but already has an ‘established journey’ behind it?
HM: It’s another aspect of the intrigue of it all. Tony has always been on a journey with most things that he creates as a writer. It’s fascinating.
CD: Tony, what’s it like to be working with your “That’ll be the Stardust!” colleague once again after all these years?
TGM: It’s really reassuring that we’ve both found ourselves in a position in which we can collaborate once again because we work well together. It’s a pleasure to know that Holly’s relentless pursuit of anything creative is still a prominent focus; Mrs Macdonald is an excellent line of support whether in a recording studio or on a theatre stage. We previously mixed our professional chemistry in “That’ll be the Stardust!” radio drama in which her performances are compelling.
HM: Thank you so much, Tony.
CD: Holly, how did it happen for you to work with Tony on “That’ll be the Stardust!” back in 2008?
HM: Gosh, is it as long ago as that?! (Laughter)...Well, I think I was the first of the Southern members of the cast to apply for a role via StarNow…
TGM (to Holly): You were certainly one of the first…
HM (to Tony): I remember phoning you after I received your email reply to my application…
TGM: Yeah, that was in April 2008. I had just completed filming “The Making of That’ll be the Stardust!” with Madeleine Havell and April Harrison. That was a Documentary Short directed by Mike J. Spicer.
HM: Didn’t we have the Cast get-together soon after that?
TGM: Yeah, the “Cast Meet and Greet” took place near Heathrow in early July that same year…
HM: That was the first time we met, right?
TGM: That’s correct, Holly.
HM: But it was later that year that we actually recorded “That’ll be the Stardust!”…if I remember it was your Birthday?
TGM: Correct again. That was in November 2008.
Cosmic Dwellings: Holly, are there any specific scenes that you performed in “That’ll be the Stardust!” which stand out to you?
HM: Well, I had to go back and listen to the production to refresh my memory of my performances. I voice-acted several characters. I remember a bunch of us recording the ‘Jim Maclaine fantasy sequence’ which is set to Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed”. It features Jim tripping out on a variety of substances in his castle. I provided one of the angelic whispering voices along with Erica Thomas-Lowe. (Turns to Tony) And you are the voice of Jim’s conscience performing all that poetry, and then there is Dominic doing the voice of Jim…
(Click graphic link below to listen to the Jim Maclaine Fantasy Sequence from “That’ll be the Stardust!” – this interview continues below…)
TGM: The ‘Jim fantasy scene’ is really quite beautiful…made even more special for the fact that Dominic is performing his father’s text from “That’ll be the Day” – Ray Connolly writing as Jim Maclaine. I got Ray’s permission to adapt this especially for this sequence.
HM (to Tony): And then of course our scenes as ‘Cathy’ and ‘Jimmy jr.’ definitely push the envelope between the characters which adds a more racy ingredient to the mix…
TGM (to Holly): The films of “That’ll be the Day” and “Stardust” were always pushing the envelopes between its themes and characterizations. The scenes you mention inspired our producer to create two different approaches and that was down to your performances…
HM: Oh wow! I wasn’t aware of that!
TGM: Yeah, one scene came across as a 1940’s romance epic and he chose this beautiful orchestral piece to underscore it. The other scene, well let’s just say your delivery gave it more of a Tarantino-esque flavour.
HM: It’s probably down to your writing too…one of the opening scenes, which is between Alma Simpson and I as ‘Mrs Maclaine’ and ‘Jean’ respectively, is intense and well-produced. I’m quite proud of my work in it.
TGM: Yes, that is a very good scene. It’s well-acted and certainly sets a high bar…
(Click the graphic link below to access the ‘Showcase’ links to Tony and Holly’s scenes in “That’ll be the Stardust!” – this interview continues below…)
Cosmic Dwellings: Holly, there is also a familial twist to the whole proceedings of Jim Maclaine’s “Dea Sancta et Gloria” with the addition of your 8-year-old son, Hudson joining the cast – how did this happen?
HM: Well, I asked Tony if he was looking for any children to undertake any acting or voice-acting roles in any project. Then, later, he came up with the idea of giving Hudson the opportunity to voice the young Jim Maclaine in “Dea Sancta et Gloria.” My son has a great interest in the Arts and I’m trying to assist him in applying for the right opportunities.
CD: Tony, taking into consideration the current climate of the world, have you made a decision for when and where the recording of the production will take place?
TGM: Well, Holly and I have discussed a couple of options. My original idea was to record in my hometown of Blackpool. We’ve also talked about returning to Resident Studios in Willesden, London – this is where we originally recorded “That’ll be the Stardust!” However, due to this current climate, we’ll have to wait and see what 2021 brings further along the line.
CD: On that note, Cosmic Dwellings, would like to bid you both best wishes and safe-keeping throughout your journey in the recording of “Dea Sancta et Gloria”. Thank you for talking to us this afternoon.
HM: Same to you. It’s been a great pleasure, thank you!
TGM: Thanks a lot, guys.
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