Intense military musical at Coventry’s Belgrade has it all

Prolific West End star Simon Bowman still gets goosebumps during rehearsals for what will be the Belgrade’s first show of the autumn season.

Simon Bowman.
Simon Bowman.

Simon - known for his performances in Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Mack and Mabel and the rock opera Blondel - is loving his new role as Colonel Luke Gibson in The Prodigals: A Man Had Two Sons, written by the Belgrade’s creative associate Joe Harmston and creative producer Ray Goudie.

The musical show is set in a modern-day military environment in which the Colonel is trying to balance his love for his two very different sons - one of whom has been fighting in Afghanistan, while the other has hit rock bottom after touring the country with his drug-fuelled band.

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Speaking to the Courier before the show opens at the Belgrade, Simon said: “I am choosey about work but I wanted to get involved because this is so original and exciting and it’s about what’s actually happening today.

Belgrade Theatre and Inspire production of THE PRODIGALS by Ray Goudie and Joe Harmston directed by Joe Harmston

“It also has a poignant and serious message with wonderful music and a very real script.”

And he has been moved through his training for the role, during which he says he has been put through a “vigorous training regime” with a Colonel and other armed forces personnel. He said: “It’s very humbling to watch and listen to the colonel show us videos of real footage taken on the front line. It does hit home for all of us and it does stir the emotions.”

But Simon has been thoroughly enjoying rehearsals. He said: “It’s intense stuff and it has everything that appeals to everyone.

“I still get goosebumps and I’m in it.”

The Prodigals runs at the Belgrade from tonight (Friday) until September 14 at 7.45pm each evening. For tickets, visit