Entertainment & Arts

Teenagers premiere Busted stage musical What I Go To School For

Busted in 2004 Image copyright PA
Image caption Busted scored four UK number one singles in 2003 and '04

Pop band Busted have enlisted teenagers at a theatre summer school to premiere their new jukebox musical, before it reaches the West End.

Busted guitarist James Bourne has co-written What I Go To School For about the group's rise to fame.

The first performances will be staged by around 40 members of Youth Music Theatre (YMT) in Brighton this weekend.

Bourne, who recently reformed the band, said: "Our aim is to try and create a show that can last forever."

The musical will feature songs like Air Hostess, Crashed the Wedding and Year 3000, which were among the eight singles Busted released between 2002-04, all reaching the top three in the UK.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The trio have been on a reunion tour and are releasing a new album

Bourne has written the show with collaborator Elliot Davis. The pair's first musical was Loserville, which was staged by YMT in 2009 before going on to the West End and being nominated for an Olivier Award.

The story of What I Go To School For is "very truthful" at heart, according to Bourne.

"The show quite accurately tells story of the band from 2001 to 2005, though some characters are real and some characters are made-up versions of real people.

"Eventually it would be nice to open in the West End after we've had more time to develop."

As well as working on the musical, Bourne has been back in the recording studio with the band after a break of 10 years. A new Busted album is due for release later this year.

"Matt and Charlie have been asking me lots about the show and they are very interested in what's going on," the guitarist and songwriter said.

Image copyright Leanne Dixon
Image caption Joe Riley has had tips on playing James Bourne from the man himself

Bourne himself will be played by 15-year-old Joe Riley from Walsall - who was not born when Busted formed.

"During the auditions, period he spent a lot of time with the people that were auditioning for James and correcting anything that was wrong," Riley said.

"That's been really good for me because speaking to James about how he was when he was younger has given me a better understanding of him. He's been a massive inspiration of mine for years and years.

"Busted and McFly were the sorts of bands who inspired me to perform, because I always liked their music and I found it really cool to listen to. So I'm glad I'm here."

Bourne said: "Joe Riley stood out as the right person to play my part. He has the same innocence as I had when I was that age.

"The dynamic between all the actors playing the band members reminds me straight away of Busted."

What I Go To School For is at Brighton Theatre Royal from Thursday to Saturday.

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