Having played former Prime Minster Tony Blair on stage for the past six months, Jack Whittle is facing a serious problem.

“I’ve noticed recently that is the last few photos I’ve taken with friends or family my smile has tripled in size,” he laughed. “Seriously, it’s just got huge. I think I’m possessed by Tony Blair. I’m trying to tone it down.”

Tony! (The Tony Blair Rock Opera) is heading to The Lowry next month having left audiences around the country in stitches.

Written by Harry Hill - yes, that Harry Hill - it covers Tony Blair’s years in office and is an irreverent and at times madcap romp.

Lancashire Telegraph: Tori Burgess and Jack Whittle in Tony! (The Tony Blair Rock Opera)

“If you’re studying history I’m not sure you would quote it in your work,” said Jack, “but it does make some good points.

“It doesn’t take a political standpoint as such; it’s more a farce and a satire aimed at every single politician that has ever been in power. It’s not anti Labour or anti Tory; it’s just poking fun at the characters we see even now.”

It’s frenetic stuff with Jack’s Tony Blair at the centre of it all.

“It’s like I’m stood at the centre of a whirlpool on stage with absolute chaos happening all around me,” he said. “You have all these characters running on and off from John Prescott and David Blunkett all the way through to Princess Diana and Saddam Hussein (who does a very good Groucho Marx impression!).

“It’s extremely funny but it’s also very tough on the performers. You have to be switched on all the time. For me particularly I have to be in exactly the right place at the right time

“All these slick, choreographed routines for an hour and a half might not look as though that much effort has gone into it but believe me it has. If one beat is slightly off you can feel it on stage.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Jack Whittle (Picture Phil Sharp)

Jack was offered the role of Tony Blair having worked with acclaimed company Mischief in their productions of The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About a Bank Robbery in the West End.

“Having been able to be involved in farces before really worked nicely for me,” said Jack. “I was able to bring some stuff to the role which Harry hadn’t though about, just little bits of physical comedy. Working on this show has been a very collaborative process.

“Sometimes you don’t get the freedom to bring own spin to a role but everyone involved has really trusted all of the cast and have given us, within reason, a licence to have fun with it.

“Of course, it helps when you have a script which is so easy to follow. Harry and Steve Brown, who wrote the songs, have been in the business for a long time and they know how to work an audience.

“That really makes our lives as performers easier. When you have got a script as good as this, you really don’t have to force anything.”

Covering the 10 year period between 1997 and 2007 when Tony Blair was Prime Minister, Jack admits that he wasn’t aware of many of the events and personalities covered in the show at first.

“My earliest memory of Tony Blair was of him leaving office,” he said. “The jokes are so good that the punchlines still work even if you don’t know any of the background but once I got the part I started to read up on the events; I wanted to know the ins and outs of it all.

“I also watched an awful lot of videos of Tony Blair speaking, picking up on his mannerisms - there’s a lot of hand acting and a lot of smiling!”

So has it been easy for Jack to channel his inner Tony Blair?

“I wouldn’t say he has massive stand out traits but he has enough about him which makes him instantly recognisable,” said Jack. “There are other characters like Cherie Blair with her smile and Scouse accent which are very obvious caricatures.

Lancashire Telegraph: Cast of Tony! (The Tony Blair Rock Opera)

“But Tony Blair was so charming and he took himself so seriously. I remember Harry Hill saying it’s much more exciting to make fun of someone who takes himself seriously. It’s so easy to undercut somebody who is trying to be earnest.”

Jack’s portrayal of Tony Blair has been so good that on a number of occasions audience members have tried to convince him to go into politics.

“They will say ‘you’re very good at speaking’ and I have to remind them that it is a show and I am an actor,” he said. “But being a politician is definitely not for me.”

Although politics and a decade’s worth of current events are at the heart of Tony! Jack believes the show has a very wide appeal.

“I truly think the audience could be anybody. It appeals to lovers of comedy and lovers of politics. If you are not into politics but love theatre you will love the show. If you remember the time period you will love it as the references are non stop.

“But even if you know nothing about the period, you will find it very funny and get a lot from it.

“I think one of the aims of show is to highlight that politics is a cycle which we just go through again and again. You could swap out prime ministers and worldwide tragedies quite easily.”

What, I wonder would Tony Blair make of the show?

“There are two tickets on door for him at every show,” said Jack, “but he has not been to see us yet. Apparently Cherie is quite keen but Tony’s not into it. Who knows he might take something away from it if he came?”

Tony! (The Tony Blair Rock Opera), The Lowry, Salford Quays, Monday, October 2 to Saturday, October 7. Details from www.thelowry.com