A TRIBUTE to the greatest movie musicals of all time is coming to Colchester.

Come What May at the Mercury Theatre will feature Britain’s Got Talent winner Jai McDowall alongside a cast of West End theatre performers and promises an evening of much-loved songs, pure glitz and old-time glamour.

Jai won the fifth season of Britain’s Got Talent and although he lives in Scotland, the singer is no stranger to Essex.

“My cousin lives in Romford,” he said, “so performing down this way is nice because I get to see her.”

When we caught up with the 35-year-old, he rather had his hands full.

“I’m currently babysitting my niece,” he confessed when he picked up the phone. “I’m in her toy room and I just leaned on something that made the most weirdest noise!”

Once the situation in the toy room is resolved I ask him what the appeal of Come What May was?

“It’s a strange one actually,” he said. “I’d been listening to the new Broadway soundtrack of Moulin Rouge for weeks and then they announced they were going to bring Moulin Rouge to the West End and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I love the music, I’d love to be in the show, it’s great.’ But they’d already cast it.

“I was gutted and then this came up. So, I felt like it was weird because I really love the music and I want to sing the songs and I was like, I maybe didn’t get the show, but this is kind of the same thing.”

Just how did he find lockdown? Many of us, I put to him, spent much of the time baking or drinking...

“All of the above,” he admitted.

“I loved it to start with. I had so much time at home that I don’t get. But I am a doer, I need to be doing stuff, I need to be on the move and on the go and it got to the stage where you’re like right, this is enough now. I want to be doing my job.”

How does he feel about performing again?

“I am a bit nervous,” he admitted. “Hopefully I’ll get into the swing of it again and I’ll feel fine, but I’m going from doing nothing. And it’s so full on. You’re like, am I going to survive this? Am I too used to bed and Netflix?

“But the response has been brilliant. A lot of folk have shown a nicer side, like some people have obviously shown a plonkery side in lockdown with certain things but I think it’s been nice that a lot of people have reconnected with people that they wouldn’t have. Especially at the beginning when people were asking if you were OK and they meant it.

“Hopefully that will be one of the things that will carry on, people will look out for each other more.”

Come What May is at the Mercury Theatre on Saturday at 7.30pm. For more information, go to www.mercurytheatre.co.uk.

Photography by Mark McGee Photography