Spotlight On… Star of Present Laughter, Patrick Walshe McBride

Present Laughter is enjoying a final week at – must end on Saturday 20th August!

Patrick Walshe McBride may be a name which is unfamiliar to you. However, if you have been to see Present Laughter on its UK tour or you are intending to catch it in its final week in Malvern, you will know this wonderful actor. He’s playing the madcap character of Mr Roland Maule and brings a good deal of laughter to the aptly titled show. I chatted to Patrick prior to the company’s first night in Malvern.

Thank you for talking to Break A Leg, Patrick, so tell me all about your character in Present Laughter.

I play a young man called Roland Maule who has grown up in Uckfield and he has a very interesting bond with one of the main characters.

How familiar were you with the play before you were cast in it?

I have seen several of his plays, but I had not seen Present Laughter. I find them interesting, there are so many motifs that run throughout his plays. They mirror each other and there are similar scenes. It’s been a real joy to run with this one.

Did you have an idea of how you wanted to play the character?

It was developed during rehearsals, really as it’s very much a collaborative process. You have your own response to it as soon as you read it because the writing does so much of it for you. The script demands that you play the character in a certain way. Also at the audition you talk about the role with the director, so you can get an idea of the general flavour of what they’re looking for quite early on in the process.

Do you find that you’re changing any aspect of the character as you progress through the run?

You find that you have to adjust to the theatre that you’re playing. I noticed in one of the smaller theatres we played, that the audience were quite shell shocked after my initial entrance! So I toned it down, and continued to tone it down and the response improved.

What’s next for you after this tour finishes?

At the moment I’m not sure, there are a couple of things that are bubbling away but not confirmed yet. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve come to the end of a job with nothing definite to go to, I’ve been very lucky to be able to go from job to job to job, so it’s nice to think that I have a bit of time.

What made you want to become an actor?

It’s been something I’ve wanted to do since I was really little! I think I got too much attention when I was a little kid because I was the only kid in my family for years and years. I guess with all actors, they enjoy getting the attention and the reaction. Also I was shown a lot of films when I was little and that inspired me, too.

Did you have any particular aspirations when you were at drama school?

I think my main aspiration was to work in a variety of roles and not to play the same type of role for too long. I feel really lucky to have played a variety so far. I wanted and still want to have a go at everything from comedy to drama to contemporary plays.

So, finally, what would you say to encourage people to come to Malvern and buy a ticket to see the show?

The play was written in 1939 and one of the things that strikes me about this play is that there’s a real philosophy behind this, as there is with a lot of Coward’s work. It shows difficult times, and 2016 has been a difficult time, particular this show deals with the character, Garry Essendine (played by Samuel West) learning how to cope with the difficulties that life throws at you. I think what the play encourages you to do is live for the moment. I think  that that’s an interesting thing to see, now.

Thank you Patrick for a fabulous interview, break a leg for the remaining performances.

Photo Credits: Richard Stone Partnership and Theatre Royal, Bath

Patrick recently appeared in BBC One’s Shakespeare & Hathaway Private Investigators, get your hands on a copy of the DVD here: 


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