The Detective’s Handbook, a new Australian musical about to debut at Sydney’s Hayes Theatre, is the result of when a former rapper develops an obsession with the golden age of detective novels. Coupled with a bright and lively jazz score, this new musical is guaranteed to have you laughing out loud as it investigates a crime in a hilarious clash of the old guard and the new recruit determined to do it ‘by the book’. With a book and lyrics by Ian Ferrington and music by Olga Solar, this is an experience not to be missed.
Before the show opens on 21 April, we caught up with actor and show choreographer Christopher Horsey to ask him a bunch of questions about performing, fctional detectives, and Australian musicals.
Hello AussieTheatre readers, my name is Christopher Horsey, actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, presenter but more well-known as husband to Lucy Durack.
How would you describe your career to a stranger?
I work in film, TV and theatre as a performer and creative, which means I work both on and off the ‘stage’. Mostly I say, ‘I’m a tap dancer.’ The shock value of just coming straight out and saying ‘I’m a tap dancers’ comes as a sort of relief to most with whom the subject arises because it isn’t something you hear often. Most people don’t believe me at first. Of course that’s not all I do, but the subject invariably prompts genuine interest and the conversation goes on from there.
The Detective’s Handbook is a brand new show. How is the process to working on this show different to working on a revival?
There is no precedent. Most decisions have already been made when working on a revival. There are numerous resources to reference, compare and use as a yardstick. With new material, as is the case with The Detective’s Handbook, my decisions both as an actor and as a choreographer are literally born out of the creative process.
This show is also a rare thing: a new Australian musical. What’s your favourite Australian musical?
Matthew Robinson’s Metro Street.
If you were going to write a musical drawing on Australian life or culture, what would it be about?
What’s your guilty pleasure – musical or otherwise?
90s disco and sci-fi movies.
What’s the most-used app on your phone?
‘Daddy-O.’ It’s an app for dads-to-be/new dads (we have a 10 month old).
What would the perfect day off look like for you?
Morning at the beach with my wife and baby, lunch al fresco, then Family Feud board game.
Since this show is about detectives: do you watch crime shows on TV? If so, which is your favourite?
We are addicted to Making a Murderer (Netflix) and Serial (Podcast).
And who’s your favourite fictional detective?
Do you sing in the shower? And if so, what do you sing?
I have composed dozens of songs for my baby’s amusement, they’re on high rotation in every room in my house at the moment, including the shower.
What makes you laugh?
Cringe comedy (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office).
What frustrates you about Sydney musical theatre?
Short rehearsal schedules.
What excites you about Sydney musical theatre?
The growth in independent productions.
What has been your favourite show at The Detective Handbook’s home, the Hayes Theatre?
My Favourite Year.
Whose advice do you always follow?
Um… My wife’s.
What’s your life motto?
Kindness is the new cool.
How would you describe The Detective’s Handbook – using five words or less?
Two cops, no clue…
When/where can we see the show?