Scott Mills has handed control of his musical over to his Radio One listeners, and what started as a prank has taken on a life of its own.
Radio One DJ Scott Mills thought his first visit to the Edinburgh Festival was going to involve a couple of relaxed broadcasts from the hub of the action, followed by a glass or several of his beloved pinot grigio. But a few months ago, a flyer started circulating online for a Fringe production called Rick Rollin’ The Musical starring Mills in the roles of Rick Astley and other questionable 80s pop icons such as Chris De Burgh and Leo Sayer.
The show turned out to be a figment of some prankster’s fertile imagination, but, in a moment of “let’s do the show right here” hubris, Mills and his radio team decided to stage a musical at the Fringe anyway. They came up with a title – Mills The Musical. All they needed now was a plot, a script, some songs and a cast.
Mills’ radio show has always been an interactive affair, so they turned to the listeners for assistance, who have been only too forthcoming with plot points, songs and other creative contributions, which can be charted on Mills’ Radio One blog.
Through the process, Mills is gaining some insight into how he is perceived by his public. “The relationship between me and my co-host Chappers seems to be one of the major plotlines that keeps being sent in,” he notes. Another recurring theme in the early development stages has been his love of wine – one of the submitted songs is called My Pinot Grigio.
So Mills is a connoisseur of the grape, but is he also a connoisseur of musicals? “Nothing bores me more than sitting through Les Miserables,” he says. However, he looks pretty happy at the press shoot, prancing around a dance studio in a headband (with legwarmers presumably just out of shot), which suggests a possible Kids From Fame aesthetic.
“I would love it to be a feelgood Fame/Hairspray-style musical,” says Mills. “I’d like there to be lots of dancing. We need to have some kind of love element as well, or some kind of tragedy. But I actually don’t know what it’s going to be like because they won’t tell me. I’m out of the creative process altogether!”
Mills’ role will simply be to introduce the show each night. He doesn’t even get to play himself. “We’re going to do a search for a Scott – you know, like those Graham Norton shows?” he says. The roles of other Radio One DJs such as Chris Moyles and Jo Whiley are also up for grabs.
Although Mills is not entirely sure what to expect from his Edinburgh debut, he is learning quickly what the spirit of the Fringe entails. “People are offering up their services all the time – people who are going to the festival, people who do costumes, people who do lighting and sound. I just keep having nightmares about nobody turning up at the theatre.”
Mills the Musical, Pleasance Courtyard, 11-13 August, 10.30pm 0131 556 6550
If you like this, try The Great British Soap Opera, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21-23, 26, 28, 30 August