Former Kinks legend Ray Davies’s new musical Come Dancing is stepping out at the Theatre Royal Stratford and CLAIRE HACK talks to its star Delroy Atkinson.

Centred around the Ilford Palais in the late 1950s, Come Dancing is the creation of former Kinks frontman Ray Davies.

The musical, featuring 20 new songs by Davies, is to come to the Theatre Royal Stratford East, which has been home to the Olivier award-nominated Cinderella and The Harder They Come, based on the film that launched Jimmy Cliff’s career.

“I was in The Harder They Come when it was originally done at Stratford,” says Delroy Atkinson, who is to play Hamilton, a Jamaican saxophonist, in Come Dancing.

“That was an amazing process - Perry Henzell, who wrote the original film, was there with us for a lot of the rehearsals.

“It was nice for him to get to see it on stage as he passed away not long after the first production.”

Having just come off a run in the West End as Gary Coleman in hit musical comedy Avenue Q, Atkinson is excited about working with the “legendary” Davies, who is also taking on the role of “storyteller”.

“A lot of my friends have asked me about it,” he says.

“He’s just cool - he doesn’t swan around acting like a rock star. “He’s really enthusiastic when we’re rehearsing his music - he’s still passionate and always has a twinkle in his eye.”

The musical follows the fortunes of a working class family who spend their week slogging away so that they can enjoy Saturday nights, dancing at the Palais.

“I play a Jamaican saxophonist who’s just come over to England in the Windrush,” says Atkinson.

“He’s looking for a job and ends up falling in love with the younger sister in the family.”

But Atkinson is reluctant to give away too much of the plot in what’s billed as a “universal tale of love triumphing over adversity”.

“There’s comedy, there’s high drama and there’s tragedy,” he says, coyly.

“It’s a well rounded, full book that we’ve got.

“There aren’t huge dance numbers like in a big West End show - it’s all very real.

“If you took out the music, you’d still have a very, very valid play.”

And Atkinson is looking forward to coming back to the Theatre Royal, whose boards he’s trodden plenty of times before.

“Stratford audiences can be really raucous and I love it,” he says.

“They’ll talk back to you and let you know what they think.”

Come Dancing is at at the Theatre Royal Stratford East from September 13. For more details and for box office information, visit .