Being 50 and just being himself - Jason Donovan talks midlife crisis

Jason Donovan - photo by Rhian Ap Gruffydd
Jason Donovan - photo by Rhian Ap Gruffydd

Time was if you weren’t in love with Kylie then you definitely were with Jason, and the golden pair ruled the charts as well as our hearts having found fame in TV’s Neighbours.

Those times are long gone but last month Jason Donovan swept his former girlfriend off her feet at BBCR2’s Hyde Park Festival, in front of an audience of 70,000, just as she sang a solo version of their 1989 hit Especially For You.

“I didn’t drop her anyway, which is always good,” he commented. “It was a bit of fun. That sort of thing is happening quite a lot at the moment, with nostalgia for those times which are held in a lot of affection. It was very colourful. There was something about the 80s, the culture, TV, MTV, Wham, Dallas, Miami Vice, big hairdos, double denim, VHS, Neighbours; people are looking back to that.”

Thirty years rolled away as Jason twirled Kylie, making it all the harder to believe he is 50 years old now and touring the country visiting smaller, intimate venues with new show Jason Donovan And His Amazing Midlife Crisis.

He comes to the Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne on Thursday October 18 at 7.30pm when he will talk unscripted about his life and career, the highs and lows, and answer any questions from the public in an honest and open way.

Jason said of reaching his half-century: “How did that happen? But if I am honest, turning 50 hasn’t been that big a deal, I havent thought that much about it. and doing this tour has allowed me to talk about it and get it all off my chest. It has been a bit of therapy.

“And they do say if you can get through your 50s then it is a bit like passing through a sniper’s alley; if you don’t get ill, you don’t start losing people, and you get through intact, then you are going to be okay for the rest of your existence.”

Of his new show he commented: “This is the third leg of this tour, we have done 80 shows already. We are a well-oiled machine now, it’s great. This show is not what I expected to be doing...in a way this is very different for me, but I have really enjoyed the process. We play the smaller circuit of theatres which I really enjoy. There is less pressure, It is more intimate. There is less baggage for people. To sit and talk about your life and turning 50...it is quite pleasing that that has happened. I enjoy that process, and it is better than sitting on a TV couch and trying to squash your life story into 3.5 minutes. I can just be myself, that’s the essence of it. I am talking about my character, my hopes and dreams, my aspirations and what makes my life, what it is like to be a household name, Neighbours, Joseph, drugs, Strictly Come Dancing, my wife, my family, it’s all there.”

He enjoys questions from the audience and said: “Someone did ask me if there are too many broken hearts in this world, how many am I responsible for? I said - too many! Also another question was - the stage door or Wetherspoons at 10 o’clock? I was shocked.”

Jason is interviewed on stage by journalist Andy Richardson and he is enjoying the informal performance with just two or three shows a week.

“I am not really interested in doing eight shows a week, up and down the country, becoming a stranger in my own house. I did that for 10 years, but not any more.”

“It is not scripted but we sort of know where we want to go with it. Having been a seasoned touring performer and knowing my own script very well, because I am talking about myself, you might think I would get bored talking about myself, but actually I don’t - its weird.” Tickets £26.

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