Corrie stars thrill fans

Nancy
Nancy MacPhee
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SUMMERSIDE — Even ‘Elvis’ is a Coronation Street fan.

Coronation Street stars, Alan Halsall (left) and Andy Whyment on stage during Thursday’s event at Harbourfront Theatre.

Thane Dunn, a well-known Moncton-based Elvis impersonator, and wife, Melly, a transplanted Brit and lifelong Corrie fan, were among the more than 400 people that packed Harbourfront Theatre for an interactive evening with two of the shows stars.

Alan Halsall, and Andy Whyment, better known to fans as soft hearted mechanic Tyrone Dobbs and simple but loveable nicker factory worker Kirk Sullivan, stopped in Summerside Thursday night as part of their Canadian tour.

“It’s one of those shows that sucks you in,” said Thane. “You get enthralled with the characters and you actually feel like you know them.”

Melly can’t remember a time when she didn’t watch ‘the Street’.

“I watched it since I was born. My mom and dad always liked it so I always watched it,” said the Newcastle native. “It’s huge.”

The evening, hosted by staunch Corrie fan, the colourful flower shop owner, TV personality and writer, Neville MacKay, was filled with stories from the pair’s collective 27 years on the Street and even a few hints about upcoming storylines.

It was the second time in six months that stars of the world’s longest running television drama were in the city for a behind-the-scenes intimate and interactive look into the famed show.

Halsall, a 14-year Coronation Street veteran, is currently in one of the most talked about storylines to be played out on the famed cobbles.

‘Tyrone’ is the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of partner, ‘Kirsty’, who is played by Natalie Gumede.

“He’s under her thumb,” said Melly, a self-proclaimed Kirsty hater. “They need to make the storyline more dramatic. There should be some type of murder, but not Tyrone. Don’t kill him off but maybe her.”

Halsall spoke about the dramatic storyline and Gumede’s portrayal the ex-copper with a very short fuse.

“As an actor this has been, by far, the best storyline I’ve been involved with,” said Halsall, adding the fact that ‘Kirsty’ is so hated by Corrie fans is a testament to Gumede’s abilities as an actress. “She (Gumede) is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met. We get along really, really well.”

When it comes to the storyline, he said this: “It kind of comes into a climax. I can’t say too much. We’ve got a lot going on.”

Whyment has portrayed Kirk, the simple sap who is as unlucky in love as he is in holding down a job, for 13 years.

His current storyline has him paired up with Underworld seamstress, the loud-mouthed and brash, Beth, played by Lisa George.

“She is a great girl,” Whyment said of George. “When (character) Janice left the factory I think they really missed that gobby character.”

When asked where he sees Kirk in 10 years, Whyment said he hopes Kirk will still be on the Street and married, hopefully, to Beth.

Halsall hopes in 10 years Tyrone would finally be happy.

“I think to go six months without crying would be great,” he added with a laugh.

The actors said they hold some similarities to their characters.

Whyment described Halsall as kind hearted and genuine, much like Tyrone, and Halsall described Whyment as “very honest guy” who “wears his heart on his sleeve” and “slightly brighter” than Kirk.

“We see each other like brothers,” added Whyment. “We’re just normal guys.”

But, quipped Halsall, when it comes to cars (Tyrone is a mechanic), he’s clueless.

They also spoke of their favourite Corrie characters and actors, how they got into acting and of Halsall’s behind-the-scenes pranks.

The second half of the show consisted of audience members asking the actors questions, from what exactly is in all those ‘pints’ they drink at the Rover’s Return to what female characters on the street they would like to hook up with.

Afterwards, the pair spent an hour posing for pictures and signing autographs.

“It was awesome. It was so great,” said Lana Chaisson, who travelled from Souris with friend Martina Cheverie for the show.

Chaisson posed for a photo with the actors holding a sign saying, “It’s my birthday.”

“It was absolutely fantastic,” said Cheverie, who along with Chaisson, in true British style donned a fascinator to meet the British television stars. “Coronation Street is my life. I was proposed to while it was on. I asked him to pause it because I wanted to watch Coronation Street.”

 

For more photos from the event, click here: http://www.journalpioneer.com/Slideshow/7536/Coronation-Street-stars/1

 

nmacphee@journalpioneer.com

 

 

 

 

Organizations: Harbourfront Theatre

Geographic location: Coronation Street, Summerside, Newcastle

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