Brian Beacom

CHRISTOPHER Jordan-Marshall grins as he admits wearing a wedding dress has given a helping hand to his career.

Chris, who grew up in East Kilbride, dressed up as the bride when he appeared in last year’s Tron panto, The Snaw Queen.

“Sometimes you put on a costume and you have to do a double take,” he recalls.

“I remember I had a moment when I found myself getting into the wedding dress.

“I looked in the mirror and said to myself ‘This is my job?’ But it was all worth it. And writer Johnny McKnight’s pantos are full of camp and drag.”

It was all worth it because the former Royal Scottish Conservatoire student needed the experience.

Right now, the 22 year-old has hit the big time, starring as Sky - the boyfriend of central character Sophie - in the west end production of Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre.

But he explains the coveted west end role didn’t fall into his lap.

“During my third year at drama college we did a showcase in Glasgow and London. From that I got an amazing London agent, and began auditioning and my first audition was for Mamma Mia! last year.”

He adds, smiling; “I remember telling my mother and she was like ‘Oh my God, that’s a West End show!’ I tried to play it all down saying it didn’t mean I would get the part.

“But she wouldn’t let it go, telling me she’d just been watching the movie on television with my gran.”

Chris however knew in his own heart he wouldn’t land the part.

“I got called back to the dance section of the audition but I panicked a bit. For that instant, I didn’t get the moves correct. I was a little bit out of it.”

He was out of the auditioning process. Mamma Mia! came calling again a few months later when a tour was announced.

But yet again he didn’t make the final cut..

It was all too much too soon. Chris needed experience from which to develop a calm.

“I had also auditioned for the Tron Theatre, and landed a part in The Snaw Queen (in which he appeared as Elvis, as well as a bride.)

“And then once I graduated in July I came back to London and landed a role in an obscure musical, Floyd Collins.”

Meantime, the young actor added to his experience with an appearance in Still Game at the Hydro.

And when Mamma Mia! announced a new round of auditions for the west end show, at least this time, Chris knew exactly what to expect.

“The atmosphere was chilled out and I managed to focus on me. I really got into the zone. Even though at one point there were 30 boys on stage, all going for the same part, I felt fine.”

The agent’s call came through. “He said ‘I have some good news for you’ and I was so excited I swore into the phone.”

Chris’s industrial language could be forgiven. The part of Sky is one of the best in the business.

Mamma Mia! has been running on stage for in the west end since 1999 and has played in more than 50 countries. Musical theatre hopefuls would almost die to be a part of it.

“It’s a great show,” says Chris. “It all works like clockwork. The audience love it and are all up dancing by the end of it.

“Even if you have a day when you’re not feeling great you go into work and get such a buzz.”

He reflects for a moment. “I’m 22 and not too many people get to go into the west end so soon. It’s amazing.”

Not too many get to do it at all, Chris. But then he has been building up to the success.

The actor reveals he film in love with Mamma Mia! – the movie - when he was 12.

“That was one of the reasons for me wanting to go into the business in the first place.”

Chris, who lives in Crystal Palace, was born in the States but the family moved to East Kilbride when he was five, his dad working in oil and project management.

The youngster was a natural performer who would dance around the house and sing.

Thankfully, his mum managed to enrol him in a local panto and he never looked back.

“When I went to high school, drama and theatre was my main outlet.

“It helped in the growing up process and I honestly don’t know how I would have felt if I hadn’t been part of that world.”

Now that he’s working in the hugely demanding, tiring world of west end theatre, does he have time for a personal life?

“You have to make sure you do,” he says. “You can aim for something, but then it becomes your job and you realise you need to do other things in life.

“I’ve just come back from a holiday in New York after five months of solid working.”

He adds; “It took me a while to get to this point, and it’s taken me a while to find new friends in London.

But I’m getting there.

Did he ever see himself as Sky on stage one day?

“It’s funny, but when I was at drama school a few people suggested I would make a good Sky. And then it happened. But you know, I still can’t quite believe it.”

Sometimes a man has to wear a few wedding dresses to realise his dream.

“That’s the truth of it,” he says, smiling.

“And in fact, I’m wearing a wedding dress every night.

“It’s one of the costumes I have to wear as Sky,” he says, grinning.

“But I’m not complaining. It’s all part of the job.”