Tag Archives: James Ringer-Beck


James Ringer-Beck

Actor Composer

James Ringer-Beck

James Ringer-Beck

Actor Composer

Interviewed – April 2020


James, you manage to juggle careers in both acting and composing, do you find they compliment each other? Or do you find it challenging to balance the two?

They have their moments! Its definitely opened my eyes more to both sides of the production table, especially when I might start writing six months before the first rehearsal. So my appreciation for all the pre-production work has really grown. The main problem I’ve found has been that composing and arranging takes up so much more time. A self-tape can take an hour, or a morning, but I’ve had days where I’ve only managed to progress a couple of seconds with a composition, which can be maddening at times and when I’m spending that much time writing, altering, re-writing, rendering etc it can leave me little time to pursue other activities. Not that I’m complaining – at last year’s Fringe I appeared in two shows and had written music for a third, all of which happened to be performed in the same venue!

Am I right in thinking, that you have trained to be an actor, but not in composition? How have you found entering both of these fields with different levels of qualifications?

Yes – although I set out to be an actor, I sort of fell into composing by accident. During my studying at East 15, my housemate Robyn Grant asked me to write the music for a piece she was writing, which then became Fat Rascal Theatre’s first show ‘Buzz: A New Musical’. I’ve since composed three musicals with Fat Rascal, and after that, two composing jobs with the Vaults in London and various arranging work for Capital Theatres in Edinburgh and other fringe shows. I’d say getting into composing is harder for me not having a real insight into that side of the industry, especially as I’m coming into it ‘late’.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My girlfriend – especially recently with everything Covid-related. We live together and I don’t know quite how I would have stayed sane otherwise. She’s got an incredible drive, always pushing herself to be better. And yet somehow she’s almost always willing to listen to anything I’ve written.

Are you finding the connotations of lockdown creatively helpful, or draining?

As with anything, there’s good days and bad days. I’ve personally found it more difficult. There has been a wonderful push of creativity from all corners of the arts, and an equal number of tweets and Facebook posts either saying ‘be productive’ or ‘don’t feel pressured to be productive’. It can feel like there’s a pressure to supply this increased demand which I don’t think is necessarily helpful. Creating art, like the lockdown, is a marathon, not a sprint, and so for artists, I think it’s important to remember that if you don’t feel like creating something, that’s not a failure on your part, it’s just today is not a day for creating.

What is the piece of work that you are most proud of?

Last year I wrote music for a staged production of ‘Alien 3 – The Unfilmed Script’, which is probably about as out there as you could get. It was the first time I was able to create a musical world entirely from scratch and on top of that, was able to create an album of my work.

If you could perform one role, what would it be?

I would love to play Robin in ‘A History of Falling Things’ by James Graham. It’s a beautiful script about two people suffering from keraunothnetophobia – a fear of satellites falling from the sky – who start a relationship despite not being able to leave their houses. The whole script is uplifting and well-written and I fell in love with it the first time I read it.

What piece of advice would you give to people just starting out in their careers in the arts?

Make time for yourself. It can be very easy to spend all your time working to make money to support your artistic career and sometimes, self-care makes all the difference, and makes sure you can actually function as a human being.

What is next for you?

I’m due to be in Blowfish Theatre’s next show, ‘Now That’s What I Call… Getting Brexit Done!’, reprising my role as Boris Johnson. It’s going to be a follow-up to previous satirical musicals ‘Boris the Musical 2: Brexit Harder’ and ‘Now That’s What I Call Brexit’, both of which followed the lead-up and aftermath of the 2016 Brexit referendum. The next show looks to cover the 2019 General Election up to the Coronavirus. Now we just need to be allowed outside to rehearse…

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Stay safe and keep well.


Interviewed by Mimi Monteith

Headshots by Paul Nicholas Dyke




Find out more about James here:
Twitter – @JRingerBeck
Soundcloud – James Ringer-Beck
Website – www.jamesringer-beck.com



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King’s Head Theatre & UK Tour



King’s Head Theatre

Reviewed – 13th June 2019



“Bryony Buckle may be ‘astoundingly average’ but Vulvarine’s cast and direction are anything but”


Vulvarine: A New Musical is a superhero comic musical parody which tells the story of Bryony Buckle (Allie Munro), a young woman who lives an exceedingly ordinary life in the uneventful town of High Wycombe. Bryony checks tax codes by day and sips red wine with her cat Elton (Robyn Grant) by night. That is, however, before she is transformed into the superhero Vulvarine following a hormone injection at the doctor’s and a convenient lightning strike.

Following the discovery of an error in the tampon tax, Vulvarine, her best friend Poppy (Katie Wells) and her pretty boy love interest Orson Bloom (Jamie Mawson) must take on the misogynistic Mansplainer (Robyn Grant) and his wife Sonya (Steffan Rizzi) before women in High Wycombe and beyond are made subservient by his Hormone-a-beam.

Through Vulvarine: A New Musical, Artistic Director Robyn Grant aims to highlight the extensive use of hormonal medication amongst women. Grant herself was on the contraceptive pill for period pain from the age of fourteen and it was only ten years later that she became aware of its terrifying side effects. With the rising wave of abortion restrictions in America, Grant hopes Vulvarine will inspire women to take control of their own bodies and revolt against those who wish to restrict womankind. Despite these powerful themes, Vulvarine: A New Musical never takes itself too seriously and succeeds in engaging its audience with these important topics in a fun and light-hearted way.

Vulvarine: A New Musical is exceedingly funny. The cast take a little while to warm up, but the show is soon in full swing with a laugh a minute. The dialogue is quick and hyperaware of the superhero clichés it draws on. Instances of actors breaking the fourth wall such as when a stagehand lifts a chair to demonstrate Vulvarine’s super-strength before looking at the audience, going ‘oops!’ and running off stage are wonderfully humorous additions.

The stage consists of a simple cardboard townscape for most of the show but becomes more elaborate towards the performance’s end with the incorporation of a (cardboard) control panel and shark tank when the protagonists infiltrate Mansplainer’s lair. The props (Hugh Purves) are a lot of fun and include a plastic pigeon on a stick which transports Bryony and Poppy to a park bench and a muppet-style puppet acting as Elton the Cat. At times the stage does seem rather crowded, but the cast work well with the space they have.

Grant shines throughout and Munro is a strong lead. Wells, Mawson and Rizzi all provided excellent support with the former electrifying the stage with the solo ‘Boys will be Boys’. Other notable songs are the Avenue Q-esque ‘Licking My Anus’ performed by Elton the Cat and ‘Who’s that Girl’ performed by both Bryony and Poppy and nicely threaded throughout the musical in multiple reprises. Bryony Buckle may be ‘astoundingly average’ but Vulvarine’s cast and direction are anything but.


Reviewed by Flora Doble

Photography by Lidia Crisafulli



King’s Head Theatre until 6th July then UK Tour continues


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Outlying Islands | ★★★★ | January 2019
Carmen | ★★★★ | February 2019
Timpson: The Musical | ★★★ | February 2019
The Crown Dual | ★★★★ | March 2019
Undetectable | ★★★★ | March 2019
Awkward Conversations With Animals … | ★★★★ | April 2019
HMS Pinafore | ★★★★ | April 2019
Unsung | ★★★½ | April 2019
Coral Browne: This F***Ing Lady! | ★★ | May 2019
This Island’s Mine | ★★★★★ | May 2019


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