A Quick Chat With Francine Cain

Francine Cain is impossible to miss. She exudes charisma onstage. The winner of the Rob Guest Endowment 2010, and nominated for a Helpmann award for her performance in Rock of Ages, you might have also seen Francine in the national tour of Grease, playing Frenchy. Right now she’s playing Calliope in the Hayes Theatre Co season of everyone’s favourite rollerskating musical Xanadu. 

What is your name and what do you do?

Francine Cain
Francine Cain

I’m Francine Cain and I’m an actress/performer/bunny owner.

Roller-skates at the Hayes Theatre. Discuss.

IT’S CAMP AND FABULOUS! You have to see it to believe it… *I have not fallen over yet!

What has been the most thrilling part of the Xanadu experience so far?

The rehearsal period was SO MUCH FUN. I have never had so much fun in my life. This cast is a dream and Nathan [M. Wright, the director] and the creative team allowed us to really explore and create which is a rare gift these days. I would go home in stitches from so much laughter.

After working in major commercial musicals like Rock of Ages, how do you compare performing in such an intimate space as the Hayes?

Well I think the intimate setting actually suits the show perfectly. It’s a parody so we tend to break the 4th wall a bit and it’s great to be able to have the audience quite literally right there with us.

What will audiences love about Xanadu?

Sequins, roller-skates, humour, outrageous headpieces, 80’s short shorts… I mean what a list already! This show is hilarious but also very sweet. It has so much heart and is just an easygoing, lighthearted laugh.

The Cast of Xanadu. Image: Frank Farrugia.
The Cast of Xanadu. Image: Frank Farrugia.

Describe the show in 5 words.

Camp

Sequins

Roller-skates

Sweet

HILARIOUS

What’s your favourite post-show snack?

…wine…

How do you wind down after 8 shows a week? 

Xanadu's Muses. Photo by Eric McDonald.
Xanadu’s Muses. Photo by Eric McDonald.

…wine…

Do you have any theatre rituals or superstitions? 

…wine…. I joke! My backstage traffic ALWAYS has to be the same every night. Otherwise I forget stuff (like pre-setting my roller-skates for the quick change).

What’s the best thing about theatre in Australia?

The people. Everyone is so damn passionate and hard working. But they also know how to have a good laugh. The one thing I ADORE about Xanadu is that it’s not bloody Shakespeare and it’s not trying to be. It knows that it’s a bit silly and fun but full of heart. Just like the people.

What’s the worst thing about theatre in Australia?

Unfortunately, there’s just not enough work.

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Author

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and is the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie has written 801 articles on AussieTheatre | Read more articles by

Follow Cassie: @cassietongue

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A Quick Chat With Francine Cain
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