Us Two: Matilda the Musical's Stephen Amos and Katrina Talbot
Stephen Amos, 46, associate musical supervisor for Matilda The Musical, met his partner Katrina Talbot, 43, a chaperone on the production, 16 years ago when casting for the original Australian production of Mamma Mia!
KATRINA: I auditioned for Mamma Mia! in Wellington and he was on the panel. I was so nervous, and he had this leather jacket on and this really warm smile. Every time I went back for a callback, I just thought: "Oh, look for that nice man who has a nice smile." As the auditions went on, he didn't smile as much – he was more stressed – so he was harder to spot.
We moved in together after a month, which was very unlike me, and him. We're just really good at working together and living together. He wasn't actually my normal type. We're polar opposites. But we're both very empathetic people and very good at meeting in the middle.
During the Mamma Mia! tour I had a nervous breakdown – I was burnt out, because I'd been performing since I was 6. He got to see the real, kinda, s... stuff. He's very good at not making a big deal out of things. He just carries on. So he's really good at dealing with me.
He's the most intelligent person I've ever met. He's learning like, two languages at the moment. He's doing his course, he's doing all these shows. His time management is incredible.
Being a chaperone is a really strange job because you're actually minding the children, really, you're deciding where they have to be or making sure they get ready on time, but you're not actually teaching them or anything. You're in the rehearsal room but you just have to sit there.
Every 15 minutes you've gotta go, "OK, break time". Then they break for 10 minutes. You've gotta make sure they're fed and watered and wee'd, and get them back into the room. There are so many rules! And in different states, the rules are different. It's difficult for me because I swear a lot. So I get told off.
Stephen and I write musicals together. I haven't actually performed for about 10 years so it's nice to still be working within the industry without having to perform. I write the script and the lyrics, and Stephen writes the music. I'm very collaborative, and chatty. He just goes into his own space.
We FaceTime every morning. We have breakfast together every day. The trick for me is not having any expectations. When he works in those environments, it's extremely stressful. It's just a massive bubble and it's really hard to be able to come out of that to be able to deal with anything that's happening at home. Because I understand the industry, I think that helps a lot. But I much prefer him being home.
He's got a really, really loud sneeze. It echoes through the entire house. Glass shatters, it's so loud. He's so quiet in the morning, when he gets up it's almost like he's not there. He's good to live with but he does need his own space. I'm rather loud and like to sing around the house a lot and stuff. So that's annoying because I'm very aware of trying to be quieter.
STEPHEN: At the moment Kat and I have spent quite a lot of time apart. When we are together, it's very valuable, precious time. In terms of Matilda, we often do different hours – her schedule with the kids doesn't necessarily match my schedule. We try to match them up as much as we can, but it doesn't always work that way.
We met on the original Australian production of Mamma Mia! We cast her in the show. Over the course of the rehearsals and time together on the show, we discovered that we quite liked each other. We did Mamma Mia! for four years, and we basically lived together, every single day, in hotel rooms around Australia and Asia. We didn't really get much time apart, but that was great. We just found that worked for us.
Katrina often reminds me that I said when I met her I didn't think she was the kind of person I'd naturally choose to hang out with. I consider myself quite a quiet, private sort of person. Katrina's very outgoing and gregarious – the life and soul of the party. As we've got a bit older and more mellow, both of us are a little bit quieter, more homebodies, than we used to be.
I always say she's the nicest person I've ever met. It probably doesn't seem real, but we really hardly ever fight.
I don't really ever listen to music because music's such a huge part of what I do. But Kat loves to listen to music, so whenever I'm not around I know she has the radio on.
We love watching movies together. We have quite different tastes so that's always an interesting negotiation of what we're going to watch. I tend to go for very intellectual, cerebral things – maybe a bit weird – and she often loves romantic comedies and light-hearted kinds of things.
I'm probably the really tidy one. She can be very tidy but she likes to leave clothes and shoes and things around the house. I have been known to throw the odd shoe around the house when I've tripped over it.
- Sunday Magazine