Young director’s West End triumph

Share Button
Alastair Knights

Alastair Knights

One of the West End’s youngest ever directors has spoken to JMU Journalism about the “joyous experience” of working on his latest show ‘Putting it Together’.

Alastair Knights, from Wirral, has earned rave reviews for his production of the 1992 musical revue, which tells the story of a young couple and old couple who meet at a cocktail party, and features songs by Stephen Sondheim.

The 24-year-old has been blown away by the positive reaction to his showpiece and said: “All the reviews have been fantastic, but this is a collaborative effort and I couldn’t have done it without the rest of my amazing creative team and the cast. The original co-creator of the show, Julia McKenzie, came on Press Night and really enjoyed it, which was a huge thrill for me as I am a massive fan of hers.”

Having been taken to the theatre from as early as four years old, Alastair grew up as a fan of the medium. His interest transformed into “obsession”, however, when he saw ‘Anything Goes’ at Drury Lane in 2003.

“That production was like watching an MGM musical onstage,” he recalled. “It was perfect and to this day is the finest production of a musical I have ever seen.”

It was at university that he first had the opportunity to direct, working on his own version of ‘Anything Goes’. After that he attended drama school, training as an actor in musical theatre.

He was led back to working behind the scenes, though, when his friend Alex Parker asked him if he wanted to direct again.

“I hadn’t really thought about it,” said Alastair. “But when he said the show he wanted to mount was Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Company’, I jumped at the chance.”

Their production was very well received, and with that Alastair saw his passion for creating and honing productions grow rapidly. Since then, he and Alex have produced several shows and concerts for two years, leading them to today and to ‘Putting it Together’.

Alastair feels privileged to be working with a crew he described as “young, vibrant and talented”, and a cast of “West End legends”.

So what next for the talented director?

“As long as I can keep working in theatre I’m a very happy boy,” he said. “I’d love to work at Liverpool Playhouse and Everyman as I grew up seeing productions there and would be thrilled to go back and do something, especially at the new Everyman.”

About Paul McIntyre, JMU Journalism