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Noah and the Whale frontman Charlie Fink brings his theatrical debut to Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 15:38 21 September 2017

Jade Anouka (Sarah) and Charlie Fink (Frank) in Cover My Tracks at The Old Vic. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Jade Anouka (Sarah) and Charlie Fink (Frank) in Cover My Tracks at The Old Vic. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Manuel Harlan

Cover My Tracks interweaves theatre and music to tell the tale of an idealistic young musician who sets out to write a 21st century pop masterpiece and vanishes without a trace.

Charlie Fink (Frank) in Cover My Tracks at The Old Vic. Photo: Manuel Harlan Charlie Fink (Frank) in Cover My Tracks at The Old Vic. Photo: Manuel Harlan

“This is the first time I do any acting. I only do a little bit but I’ve really enjoyed doing it. People will have to judge for themselves how well it goes,” says former Noah and the Whale frontman Charlie Fink of his first theatrical show.

Theatre and music interweave in the unique show Cover My Tracks that sees the songwriter team up with multi-award-winning playwright David Greig, and director Max Webster to tell the tale of an idealistic young musician who sets out to write a 21st century pop masterpiece and vanishes without a trace. Might her personal songbook be the key to unlocking the mystery?

The show premiered at London’s The Old Vic to rave reviews in June, with Charlie making his acting debut as the character Frank, opposite Jade Anouka as Sarah.

It was subsequently also performed at this summer’s Latitude Festival and a national autumn tour brings it back to the region for a date at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, starring Fink and Rona Morison as Sarah.

Jade Anouka (Sarah) and Charlie Fink (Frank) in Cover My Tracks at The Old Vic. Photo: Manuel Harlan Jade Anouka (Sarah) and Charlie Fink (Frank) in Cover My Tracks at The Old Vic. Photo: Manuel Harlan

The idea for the show came about when Charlie and David Greig discovered a shared love of folk music and storytelling while collaborating on The Old Vic’s colourful production of Dr Seuss’s The Lorax.

“I wrote the songs in that and it was through conversations about folk music and about how to listen to music and what the album means in the modern day that idea came about for Cover My Tracks,” explains Charlie.

A hybrid of live gig and a modern folk tale, the 10 songs in Cover My Tracks also make up Charlie’s solo album of the same title, his first since Noah and the Whale.

As the lead singer-songwriter for Noah and the Whale, Charlie sold over a million albums and headlined at notable venues around the world, including a sold-out show at the Royal Albert Hall.

Jade Anouka (Sarah) and Charlie Fink (Frank) in Cover My Tracks at The Old Vic. Photo: Manuel Harlan Jade Anouka (Sarah) and Charlie Fink (Frank) in Cover My Tracks at The Old Vic. Photo: Manuel Harlan

He was the producer of Laura Marling’s Mercury Prize nominated album Alas, I Cannot Swim and has written and produced music for artists including Charlotte Gainsbourg, Foxes, Rhodes and Eliot Sumner.

Cover My Tracks has been compared to the sound of Noah and the Whale’s 2011 album The First Days Of Spring and has shades of Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen in its wry lyrical storytelling.

“The album is quite a redundant format right now,” he said. “We’re in a time when every song ever written is in our pocket. You don’t play one album on repeat for months anymore, which is a shame. I was thinking about how to make an album worthwhile, given the way people currently listen to songs, and one idea was a story.

“For me, that’s a way to make an album feel relevant now — you need to listen to all the songs to understand the whole thing.

Jade Anouka (Sarah) and Charlie Fink (Frank) in Cover My Tracks at The Old Vic. Photo: Manuel Harlan Jade Anouka (Sarah) and Charlie Fink (Frank) in Cover My Tracks at The Old Vic. Photo: Manuel Harlan

“Then expanding on that, I was thinking — what’s the ultimate way to tell a story, and it’s in a theatre. It’s interesting because if you’re making a film you’re showing people a world, whereas in a theatre you’re inviting the audience to create the world in their head. They’re just looking at two people on stage, one of them has a guitar, but they’re being asked to create these images of this story.”

• Charlie Fink’s Cover My Tracks, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, September 24, 8pm, £20, 01284 758000, theapex.co.uk

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