The musical may be Wicked, but George isn't...

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George Ure stars as Boq in Wicked, which comes to Glasgow next month
George Ure stars as Boq in Wicked, which comes to Glasgow next month

Isn't it? Not according to George Ure.

George may be in his second stint in Wicked, starring as Boq in the West End musical seen by more than a million people, but there is absolutely no chance his Airdrie-born head will start to swell.

"I've realised I've been given a great chance to be in this business and to appear in the West End and tour with a show such as Wicked," he admits.

"I'm not going to do anything that's going to affect my performance.

"That's why I go for a three to five-mile run every day and I watch what I eat and drink.

"We're doing eight shows a week at the moment and you really have to be at the top of your game. You have to be disciplined."

But the world of theatre does offer compensation. Working with lots of gorgeous young people, for example?

"Yes, but I don't want to have relationships with anyone in the cast," says the 26-year-old.

"Anyway, after doing eight shows a week you can become sick of the sight of each other."

He adds; "The reality is we're all really close. But brother and sister close."

George is making the most of the chance to recreate the role of Boq in the musical, which tells the back story of the Wizard of Oz, following the adventures of school friends Glinda and Elphaba who become the good and the bad witch.

His Wicked life began as a second understudy, gradually waiting for the chance to shine.

And it came. But then the signs were there it would.

Having applied for prestigious stage school in London, George not only won a place - going up against 3000 other hopefuls - he was offered a scholarship.

"I couldn't quite believe it," he recalls. "I'd gone down to London taking a chance. But it really paid off."

George set his sights on musical theatre as a ten-year-old after seeing shows at the King's Theatre.

"My parents had a friend who was a stage hand, and we'd get tickets for the likes of Joseph and Jesus Christ Superstar. I was blown away. But I'd never have been able to go to London to see a show. We could never have afforded that."

George had been part of children's theatre in Coatbridge and had a stint with Scottish Youth Theatre.

From there he trained at the UK Theatre School in Glasgow, moved to Gamta and then on to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London.

Was it a surprise for his family when he announced his dream to become a musical theatre star?

"It was," he says, smiling. "But they've been really supportive. What's brilliant is I'm part of the most non-theatrical famiy ever. They don't talk about showbiz at all."

Being a fan of musical theatre and a trumpet-piano playing youth in North Lanarkshire could be alienating.

"It was a bit Billy Elliot," he reveals of his time at St Margaret's High School.

"And at the time it wasn't the coolest thing in the world to be doing. I suppose I coped with it by surrounding myself with similar people.

"And by age 14, when I was starting to get recognition, I was able to turn by back on the critics who would now speak to me saying 'Sorry, too little too late.'"

It's six years to the week when George was first offered the chance to appear in Wicked, the show packed with great songs such as Defying Gravity.

"And now the show is coming to Glasgow and we're doing the top venues right across the country."

It's no surprise to hear he's a huge John Barrowman fan.

"He ticks all the career boxes," he says. "He's shown what he can do in theatre and television. Why would you not want to be like him?"

George is ambitious. And that's why he'll leave the tour after a year.

"When you're young you have to take chances," he says.

"I want to see what's out there for me. And I don't have a child or a mortgage to worry about."

He adds: "Who knows. I may go back to the show at some point, but meantime, I'm really going to enjoy my time with Wicked. I'm going to give it my all because you can't take a thing for granted in this business."

George Ure sounds incredibly level headed and focused. And with his talent he should go along way in the business.

But surely he must have surrendered to a moment of showbiz excess? And bought a flash car perhaps?

"There's the odd day when you treat yourself to a pair of Armani sunglasses," he says, grinning.

"That's about it."

l Wicked, the King's Theatre, May 6-31.

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