Close this search box.

Rochdale’s rising star Jack Whittle takes on the divisive Tony Blair in a rock opera

Rochdale actor Jack Whittle takes on the iconic role of Tony Blair in a hilarious rock opera penned by Harry Hill.

Rochdale actor Jack Whittle has performed in plenty of comedies with Mischief Theatre who make those plays that go wrong.

But he is about to star in his first musical.

And he is playing former Prime Minister and Labour Party Leader Tony Blair, in a rock opera – as written by Harry Hill.

We caught up with him to find out more.

Tony Blair is a divisive figure. Is that one of the reasons you were attracted to the show?

It’s always an exciting challenge playing a character that splits the audience 50/50. The brilliant thing about this show is that it allows Tony to win the whole audience over through the jokes, songs and physical comedy before giving them a bit of a sucker punch towards the end and reminding everyone how it all ended.

Is there anything you found out about him which surprised you?

It’s not something I found out necessarily, but I watched a lot of videos of Tony delivering speeches in preparation for the show and I was gripped to his every word.

He was such a brilliant orator, incredibly witty and charming, I think that’s something we’ve missed in recent years.

What has it been like working with Harry Hill as a writer?

It’s a dream really. I grew up watching Harry and truly any piece of advice he gives is like gold dust, he just knows what makes an audience tick.

To work in comedy for as long as he has is an inspiration. He’s been incredibly generous and let me take the character and the script in my own direction and together with Steve Brown, our composer and Peter Rowe, our director it’s been a true creative collaboration that I’ll take away a great deal from.

Do you have any favourite numbers in the show. Can you talk us through some and why you like them?

The two that stick out for me finish each act.

The first is “The People’s Princess” where Tony and the Labour Party attempt to shape the grief of the nation after Princess Diana’s death.

The sheer brazenness of the party using such a tragedy for positive approval ratings will make you question any move that any politician ever makes!

The final number is my favourite in the show. I won’t ruin the title for everyone as it’s the best punchline!

We see Tony directly address the audience and ask ‘do we ever really get the leaders we deserve?’

It sends everyone home on a high and unites the audience against every awful decision made for us by various world leaders.

What do you love about Manchester?

There’s almost too much to list.

Great food, great bars, brilliant theatres, amazing music and comedy and lovely people.

It’s such a cool city and it almost feeds creativity. It’ll be really special performing here.

 If you could change one thing about the city, what would it be?

We could get rid of one of the football clubs. I won’t say which one so I don’t get heckled too much on stage!

If you could give just three reasons why people should see this show, what would they be?

It’s a seriously funny, silly comedy that will send you home with a big smile on your face.

Toe-tapping songs that you’ll be humming for days.

Where else can you see a show with George Bush and Saddam Hussein sharing the stage?

 Tony! The Tony Blair Rock Opera is on tour across the UK and arrives at the Lowry from 2nd – 7th October and can be booked here.

Did we miss something? Let us know: [email protected]

Want to be the first to receive all the latest news stories, what’s on and events from the heart of Manchester? Sign up here.


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

Got a story worth sharing?

What’s the story? We are all ears when it comes to positive news and inspiring stories. You can send story ideas to [email protected]

Close this search box.