The Roy Orbison Story comes to Ilfracombe's Landmark Theatre

Barry Steele is Roy Orbison in ‘The Big O’

Barry Steele is Roy Orbison in ‘The Big O’ - Credit: The Landmark Theatre

The one and only Barry Steele is set to put the rock back into ‘The Big O’ as he takes to the stage to commemorate this legend in the West End production ‘The Roy Orbison Story’.  Get ready for an upbeat night of solid gold hits and contemporary genius as Barry Steele and a fabulous cast of musicians and singers, celebrate the late 80s when The Big O was on the cusp of a phenomenal return to super stardom. 

Barry is joined on stage by a five-piece band and sensational guest pianist Boogie Williams as the production presents original material written but never sung by Roy Orbison, and showcases elements of the symphonic orchestration first heard on the recently released Albums. 

This top-class production also features chart busting hits originally performed by Roy Orbison’s friends and culminates in a stunningly brilliant accolade as the whole cast comes together to pay homage to the original super group ‘The Traveling Wilburys.’  

With a feelgood factor built in, this show really does have something for everyone! 

Barry Steele has been stunning audiences with his uncanny ability to recreate the vocal talents of the legendary Roy Orbison, winning rave reviews across the globe. His vocal talents are quite simply ‘True Identikit Brilliance. 

The Roy Orbison Story will be appearing at The Landmark theatre in Ilfracombe on Saturday 23rd October 2021. For more information on the show and to buy tickets visit https://www.landmark-ilfracombe.com 


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Q & A 

Q- What can the Theatre audience expect from your show The Roy Orbison Story? 

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A - I am backed in this all-live multi-media show, with not only a fabulous band and musicians, but a big screen featuring both live streaming, and images from the life and times of Roy Orbison, interspersed with factoids and information about the life and times of what is considered to be one of the best singers the world has ever known.  

Q - When did you first discover your singing abilities and their likeness to Roy Orbison’s? 

A - It was on a family holiday in Cornwall in 2001 that I took the first steps on the road to becoming a professional singer, when my wife Lynne and daughter Leonie entered me into a singing competition without my knowledge. It was there that a fellow competitor said to me, “You know you sound just like Roy Orbison singing Robbie Williams!” so with the help of family and friends a tribute to The Big ‘O’ was born 

Q - What is your favourite Roy Orbison song? 

A - California Blue & Leah 

Q - With so many great songs to choose from, how did you pick which ones to include in the show? 

A - The set list has evolved over the years, and with the back catalogue Roy Orbison has it was difficult to choose, however we used feedback from the audience and of course we sing the best sellers, but there are a few surprises in this year’s show. Orbison’s songs not only have wonderful melodies and tunes, the lyrics are some of the most sublime ever written.  Not only does the music take you back in time, the songs can make you happy, sad and emotive all at the same time. Orbison is known as a balladeer, but he also recorded and performed rocky and contemporary songs. His songs are quite simply timeless. 

Q - What has been one of your fondest memories from your shows? 

A - Touring New Zealand, meeting Wesley Orbison (Roy’s son) and duetting with Bill Dees (co-writer of Oh Pretty Woman.) We have also performed at The Adelphi theatre in London’s West End. That was pretty special too.  

Q - What have been your main challenges surrounding this production and how have you overcome them? 

A - I think like everyone in the world, The Covid pandemic has hit us very hard.  We have not toured for 16 months; we have lost a family member and we have hardly seen our family.  However, on the upside, myself and my wife Lynne have been able to spend some precious time together as just husband and wife, and not working partners.  

Q - What is it about Roy Orbison’s music that you love so much? 

A - Orbison’s songs not only have wonderful melodies and tunes, the lyrics are some of the most sublime ever written.  Not only does the music take you back in time, the songs can make you happy, sad and emotive all at the same time. Orbison is known as a balladeer, but he also recorded and performed rocky and contemporary songs. His songs are quite simply timeless. 

Q - What was your Plan B, in terms of a career? 

A- Plan B. My career in music started quite late in life, so I guess you could say Plan B arrived before Plan A.  Before my musical career took off, I was a qualified HGV and tanker driver, I was also in the RAF.  I have refuelled Vulcans and The Red Arrows, and also worked for many years for ASDA as one of their Drivers.  

Q - Which musicians, apart from Roy Orbison, alive or dead, inspire you? 

A - To be honest the person that has inspired me the most was my uncle and namesake, another Barry Steele, who was on the circuit in the 60s and 70s. He had and still has the most amazing voice, on par with Harry Secombe!  

Q - Your house is on fire, what items do you save? 

A - After the wife, it would be my guitars and the dog.   

Q - Dream dinner party guests? 

A - Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, George Harrison, Bruce Springsteen, and Toyah. - Can you imagine the music that would come out of that get together!  

Q - First thing you’d do if you won £1million? 

A - I don’t think a million would be enough, as I would love to own my own theatre. I would also love to buy an articulated lorry, as I do miss driving them.  

Q - Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know? 

A - I love playing indoor bowls.  

Q - Favourite holiday destination? 

A – We love to holiday in Wales  

Q - What was the last book you read? 

A – Harry Potter – A fabulous read.  

Q - If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

A – Spaghetti Bolognaise  

Q - Describe yourself as if you were a fine wine? 

A – Fresh and Fruity 

Q - What makes you happy? 

A - Meeting the audience after a show, being with family and playing bowls. 

Q - What makes you sad? 

A - Missing playing bowls, not being able to tour and not being able to be with my family.  

Q - Have you ever had a paranormal encounter? 

A – I haven’t but my wife has, she lost her younger brother recently and it was very sudden. Since then, she has had many experiences.   

Q - What was the first album you ever bought? 

A – Wings – Band on the run 

Q - What do you do to unwind? 

A – Playing Bowls, scrabble and doing jig saws. 

Q - Your most embarrassing moment?  

A – Performing in Cyprus with a band that the promoter had organised. They did not know the music at all. I just sang and left them to do their own thing! I was mortified.  

Q - Biggest regret? 

A – Performing in Cyprus.  

Q - What are you proudest of? 

A – Our west end debut last year and doing what we do. I am so proud of our show; it has been a family achievement.  We were told by so many promoters it would not work. So, my wife said, we don’t need them, we will do it ourselves, and everything you see has been achieved by our family. Not a single promoter has had any input at all.  

Q - Who do you admire most?  

A – Roy Orbison and our family.  

Q - And who do you detest?  

A - Artistes who have egos, and promoters and shows that stoop to anything to make a quick buck.  I also detest people who use and manipulate social media to bully. I also detest people who can’t keep confidential information and messages private.  

Q - If you could turn back the clock what one thing would you change? 

A – To start earlier our show earlier, but I am not sure I would have been ready.  

Q - Who would you like to thank? 

A – My wife for pushing me and creating the show, my parents for my voice, and our family for their support, and Mr. Orbison.  

Q - What advice would you give to your younger self? 

A - You only get out of life what you put in. Don’t expect it to come to you.  

Q - What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do? 

A - See above Cyprus in 40c  

Q - Hardest thing you’ve had to give up? 

A – Driving HGV lorries. 

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