Spotlight On… Casualty Supporting Artist, Paul Anderson AKA Oscar

Paul Anderson is instantly recognisable on screen as a regular extra in Casualty, in fact he’s been with the programme for 30 years and he’s played a variety of characters in the show. Paul was kind enough to chat to me about his experience on the show as well as the 30th anniversary episode.

Hi Paul, thank you for talking to Break A Leg, so how long have you been working as a Supporting Artist on the show?

I’ve been in the programme for 30 years! I started off as a Doctor and then the following years Casualty moved from London to Bristol, completely and I became a Porter and I’ve been a Porter for around 28 to 29 years on the programme. My nickname is Oscar and they call me Oscar on the programme. Outside of the show, I am a dancer and I teach.

What’s it like being a regular part of the Casualty team?

It’s fantastic, I’m a fan, and even though there are weeks when I’m not in it, I’ll still watch it. 4 years ago I was very ill with Pneumonia and I still watched the programme every week, I was in hospital for 7 weeks but I still watched the programme! It’s brilliant, there’s all the great cast members that I work with and some that have come back after a time away and I’m still in touch with most of the cast members that I have worked with. It’s my life, really and now that the studios have moved to Cardiff I still commute, I travel from Bristol, backwards and forwards. We have a lot of fun here, a lot of the guest artists that come in say what a lovely bunch of people we are.

My role as a Supporting Artist involves working with the Assistant Directors who tell us what to do and there’s a bunch of us who are regulars here every week, and we help as much as we can as we know where we can be on the set.

What did you do before Casualty?

Before Casualty I was working in London doing some TV and commercials. I did a bit of Eastenders, The Bill and London’s Burning. When Casualty started I was doing the studio scenes in London and then they moved filming to Bristol, so that’s where I live, now.

Have you been part of the 30th anniversary episode?

Yes, I have, they’ve given me a nice little ‘bit’ in it as well. It’s been fun to shoot. When Charlie gets his 30 years celebration I’m there as well, part of that. It’s an epic episode, there have been train crashes, car crashes and plane crashes over the years, but this is the one!

Have you a favourite episode or a particular highlight?

It’s so hard to choose, one newspaper once quoted that I had done 500 episodes! I have so many favourites and as I watch it every week, too, I think they’re all good. This 30th anniversary episode is going to be something special, though.

 Thanks to Paul for his time, he was a joy to chat to and I shall continue to ensure that I spot him when I tune in!


Spotlight On… Casualty’s Head of Make-Up, Kirstie Stanway

Kirstie Stanway has worked on Casualty on and off , for a number of years. While she was busy working on a rather gory looking prosthetic, I caught up with her to find out about her job and also the 30th anniversary episode!

Hi Kirstie, thank you for talking to Break A Leg, how long have you been working as Head of Make-up on the show?

You’re welcome, my pleasure, I’ve been working on the show on and off for about 15 or 16 years, now.

Wow, so you must enjoy the job, here?

Oh yes it’s always been lovely!

Have there been any particular highlights or challenges presented to you?

For me, it’s the prosthetics, like this one I’m doing here (Editor’s note: Kirstie was working on a full thickness burn prosthetic while we chatted!) full thickness burns are quite hard to sculpt, things like that present a challenge. You do get challenges all the time that make you stop and think “how am I going to make that?”.

What led you to this career path?

I always wanted to do make-up from a young age and I was lucky enough to get into it and here I am!

Were you familiar with the show before you started working on it?

Yes, I’ve been watching it since I was a child and I’ve always been passionate about the show.

Any particular prosthetic that you’ve been responsible for creating that stands out for you?

Recently I had to make one for a guy who had lost a considerable amount of weight, so I had to sculpt all of this hanging skin. Things like that, that you don’t do everyday, obviously making arms, legs and chests is a different thing and this that that I’m sculpting is full body burns on a child that is supposed to be from seven years ago so that’s a different thing again. It’s easy to do things that are raw and bloody, but things like old scars are a bit harder. The blood is the only red that we have on the show, there is no red allowed anywhere else!

If somebody wanted to go into this sort of career, what would you suggest that they did to achieve their goal?

You’ve got to do a good make-up course and there’s plenty of those around, then just try and get as much experience as you can, offer to work for free to get that experience. Make sure you’ve got a good, strong portfolio. Do as many courses as you can, even down to barbering and hairdressing, because it is so varied, I don’t just do prosthetics.

Finally, what can you tell me about the 30th anniversary episode?

Obviously the episode’s quite epic, some of it is quite gory, there’s a few things in there that might make people squirm. It’s just going to be really exiting. Because it’s so epic and a lot bigger than usual and some of the stunts are on a much larger scale.

Thanks to Kirstie for her time, I’m looking forward to seeing her handiwork that I witnessed in progress, in an upcoming episode.

Spotlight On… Make It A Double Stars, Pippa Winslow and Tammy Davies

a late night cabaret  fundraising in aid of Swansea Mind 
The Garage – Whitez Pool Lounge and Late Night Bar 47 Uplands Crescent, Swansea SA2 0NP Thursday 25th August 10:45pm   FEATURING  
While performing in the UK tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the Swansea Grand Theatre, Tammy Davies and Pippa Winslow double up for a late night cabaret benefiting local charity Swansea Mind. With songs from WICKED, PHANTOM, CITY OF ANGELS and many more, this is an evening not to be missed.
Originally from Wales, Tammy’s varied career has taken her from rock to opera and everything in between. She has backed up artists including Elton John, Brian May and Kerry Ellis at venues such as Wembley Stadium and the Royal Albert Hall as well as toured the UK with the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company for eight years.
Originally from the US, Pippa has toured with THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA as well as created the role of the Thought Girl in the Off-Broadway musical OPAL. She has appeared in West End plays STRANGERS ON A TRAIN at the Gielgud and OTHER DESERT CITIES at the Old Vic as well as playing Carlotta in the UK premiere production of Yeston/Kopit’s PHANTOM. She also has appeared in many film and TV projects including the Sky1’s quirky comedy YOU, ME AND THE APOCALYPSE.
Tammy and Pippa met while touring with THE SOUND OF MUSIC and their love of cabaret performing has led them to teaming up for this evening of comedy and musical gems. Both have extensive solo cabaret experience, more than 15 years between them, in London and throughout the UK, and look forward bringing this brilliant variety of duets to their new show.
Pippa stated “It’s thrilling singing with someone who’s voice is such a perfect fit for mine. We’re pushing the envelope on some of our song selections and I know audiences are going to get a kick out of our choices.” “We hope it’s not entirely what you might expect from two musical theatre geeks,” Tammy added.
10% of profits will go to Swansea Mind and there will be additional opportunities to donate on the evening. Swansea Mind is a registered charity that works with, and for, people who experience mental health problems. As well as providing open drop-in
sessions for anyone in need of emotional support, they also run specialist support groups and speak to people on a one-to-one basis for more tailored support. All funds raised in aid of Swansea Mind helps makes this work possible and helps us keep their services accessible for people on no or low incomes. Registered charity in England and Wales (226732).
The Garage is part of Whitez Pool Lounge and Late Night Bar and is Swansea’s finest, most intimate live music venue. With great music ranging from local favourites to international superstars we take great pride in bringing you the finest live music Swansea has to offer, alongside some great drinks deals we truly do have something for everyone. Past acts include: Pete Doherty (the Libertines/Babyshambles), Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Goldie Lookin’ Chain, Terry Hall (The Specials), Scratch Perverts and many, many more.

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I thought that this sounded like a winning formula, so I decided to catch up with these two lovely ladies to find out more about their new show.

Thank you so much for talking to Break A Leg, ladies, so tell me about the show and where the idea originated from.

We were in Blackpool with The Sound of Music at the Winter Gardens and we went out to watch a wonderful cabaret at the legendary ‘Funny Girls’ and thought how fun it would be to put one of our own together.

What can the audience expect from the production?

An evening of comedy and music, some songs very recognisable, some not, and stories about our lives as actresses.

Is this a style of show you’ve done before? For you, personally, how does it compare to being part of a show like The Sound of Music?

Pippa – I have done two different duet cabarets in the last year and a half, but both were with men. This is a chance to sing with a woman who makes me laugh every day at work and who’s voice blends perfectly with mine.

Tammy – I was just bored.

Is this a show that you hope to turn into a tour?

Absolutely. We already are looking for a venue in Guildford for the week our tour is in Wimbledon because that’s my home town and all my friends have asked to see it. After that, there are so many brilliant fringe festivals that this would be perfect for – Brighton, London, Edinburgh. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for news of future bookings.

Finally, what would you say to encourage people to come?

For a fun evening with a couple of semi-bonkers musical theatre geeks this can’t be beat.

I’m sold, I don’t know about you lot out there? All the details you need to book tickets are below and thanks to this wonderful duo for a great interview.

Ticket Booking Information Tickets can be booked for ‘Make it a Double’ at: Ticketsource Box Office online Or on the door
Performance Time and Ticket Prices: Thursday 25th August at 10:45pm Tickets £5 in advance or on the door

Make it a Double: Twitter: Facebook:

Photo Credits: Kate Scott


Blast From The Past ~ Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Camden Fringe

Star Rating: *****

“I can’t even have a w*nk in peace” sets the tone for a piece which cunningly and cleverly deceives you into believing you are watching a comedy akin to Benidorm/Shameless/Trollied. However, there’s a serious undertone to Blast From The Past, and when it unfolds, it makes for one of the most beautiful moments in a piece of theatre that I have witnessed, in a very long time.

Centred around the Tate family and their bizarre social circle, we were taken on a journey between Blackpool and London in 1999. At the heart of the story is the very real event which took place on 30 April 1999, the Nail bombing at the Admiral Duncan Pub in Soho. The fictional Tates consist of Julie, a foul-mouthed, often foul-tempered, brassy tart, and her three kids, Danny (he’s been electronically tagged and appeared on Kilroy), Nathan (hair dresser by day, drag artiste by night, who does a mean impersonation of Cher) and Kelly-Lou, unseen throughout the majority of the play, who is always crying and has a penchant for dolly mixtures! The journey is not without ups, down, twists, turns and rivals any rollercoaster ride. Along for the ride are Mark Harrington (Danny’s old friend from school), Lola (owner of a swingers hotel), Nicole (friend of the Tate family who is always complete with lollipop!) and Caz who runs the Out and Proud magazine.

Richard Rhodes as Nathan/Phoenix Rose – Cher extraordinaire!

What strikes me about this production is that not only some of the wittiest exchanges I’ve seen since the last series of Benidorm, but there is a good balance of heart, intelligence and grit. It has all the right elements to make it a comedy drama de force and I find it fascinating that the audience are left to make up their own minds on some matters. Not only did that leave me wanting more, but I rather enjoy being left to ponder. The set is a hot-bed of nostalgia and every detail is meaningful and poignant, the piece itself is reflected in the set, props and costumes.

It’s been cast exceedingly well, Andrew Irvine gives a sharp performance as Mark, I enjoyed his reactions to his 21 year old, air-headed fiancee, Melanie (played hilariously by Felicity Dean, she pulled it off well). I was moved by the chemistry that he demonstrated with both Danny and ultimately, Nathan. There is an important shift in Mark’s relationship with Nathan, and it was subtle yet blindingly obvious, simultaneously, and that’s an art in itself. Dean also has the opportunity to showcase herself in two other roles, Lola, which she plays with slurring naughtiness and Caz, a character who comes across as a quiet, thoughtful reflector.

Andrew Irvine as Mark, Richard Rhodes as Nathan and Felicity Dean as Caz.

Anthony Kavanagh has made a brilliant and remarkable transition from singer to actor. As Danny, he is bawdy with plenty of bad attitude, but a heart of gold buried many fathoms below. The various aspects of the character are all played to superb effect and I’d love to see Kavanagh tread the boards again in the future. There is so much that he can bring to a role, I felt his performance was spot on. Likewise, Richard Rhodes as Nathan/Phoenix Rose, is a revelation, his comic timing is incredible, his Cher impersonation will be imprinted on my memory forever. My over-riding feeling is that he is an important discovery, multi-talented and boundless capabilities. It was a pleasure and a privilege to watch him. Judy Buxton reprises her role as Julie Tate, she was in receipt of the vast majority of laughs, she is awe-inspiring in all four of the roles that she plays and her versatility is, in my humble opinion, second to none. Buxton is obviously comfortable with the role of Julie, yet she has still upped her performance ten-fold since the last time she took on the part (and she was amazing the first time around!). As Mystical Maureen, she demonstrates another dimension to her character acting ability, the same can be said when she ‘becomes’ Beverley Scanton (Danny and Mark’s old school teacher). I particularly roared with laughter when she portrayed cleaning lady, Mrs Grimshaw, with an ‘innocent’ twinkle in her eye when she used the term “blow job” instead of “blow dry”.

JudyJudy 2016

Judy Buxton plays both Julie Tate and Mrs Grimshaw.

Anna-Lisa Maree, who plays Kelly-Lou and Nicole, is a chameleon of an actress and her ability to switch between accents is incredible. As a director it appears that she has endeavoured to get the best out of her cast and in interesting and innovative ways, too. As a writer? Move over Derren Litten! Or at least collaborate with this talented lady!

There is still time to book tickets to see this fantastic show, tonight:

Photo Credits: Simon Annand

Spotlight on… F*cking Men Stars, Harper James and Richard de Lisle

King’s Head Theatre Presents F*cking Men by Joe DiPietro Assembly George Square, Studio 2 4-29 August, 3:55pm (not 9, 16, 23) 
Following smash-hit, sell-out runs in London, The King’s Head are bringing their 5-star production of F*cking Men to Edinburgh for its Fringe premiere. Based on Arthur Schnitzler’s classic La Ronde, Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) transplants the interweaving tales of sexual power, discovery and exploration to a contemporary urban gay subculture.  
A slick dramatic comedy of gay sexual manners, ten characters crisscross in a series of erotic encounters asking the important questions – is it all about sucking and f*cking? Are we really trapped by monogamy, or are our sexual encounters fuelled by the hunger for elusive, meaningful connections with each other? 

LISTING INFORMATION Venue:  Assembly George Square Studios, Studio 2, George Square, EH8 9LH Time:  15:55  Running Time: 70mins Dates: 04 – 29 August. Previews 4-5 August. No show Tues 9, 16, 23 August.  Tickets: Previews £10; 6-7, 10-11, 15, 17-18, 22, 24-25 & 29 August £13 (£11); 8, 12-14, 19-21, 26-28 August  £15 (£13) Bookings:, 0131 623 3030 or Assembly box offices at Assembly Hall and Assembly Roxy, Assembly George Square and Assembly Checkpoint 

I was delighted to be invited to interview stars of the show, Harper James and Richard de Lisle, here’s what they had to say about the show.

Tell me about the show and how the rehearsal process has affected the transition from page to stage.

Harper: We spent a lot of time on characterisation before working on the scenes, this has brought the characters to life and through improvisation we blended the characters with the text.
Richard: The rehearsal process has been useful in developing the four characters I play. Using the process to experiment  with different accents and mannerisms until myself and the director felt the portrayal was staying true to what the writer (Joe DiPietro) was saying with the piece.
What is your favourite moment or favourite line in the production?
Harper: My favourite moment is probably the scene between the married men. I suppose its a scene for me that hits home. In the scene they confront their open relationship status and how it could affect the rest of their lives.
Richard: My favourite moments are when playing the playwright  character (Sammy). He has a lot of energy and my favourite line he’s says is “Je suis guilty!”
What do you hope audiences will take away with them from this piece?
Harper: I hope they will take away that a relationship is a relationship, whether gay, lesbian or straight we all have the same relationship issues to combat in modern society.
Richard: I would like the audience to feel they can relate to the characters regardless of their sexuality and enjoy the humour of the play as well as the most serious moments.
How does the space lend itself to the production?
Harper: Having performed in the round previously, this end on production gives the audience something different. It allows us to play on different levels but at the same time keeps the intimacy.
Rick: The space is fantastic. We have performed in different venues over the last year but this is the biggest one with fantastic acoustics yet still keeps the intimacy of the piece.
Have you experienced a fringe festival before? What has your experience been?
Harper: This is my first Fringe as a performer, and what a blast I’m having. So far its been a fantastic experience, so many performances from so many cultures. Its hard to cram everything in.
Rick: I’m a Fringe virgin and the whole experience as been overwhelming so far. The energy of the city is fantastic and the range of shows is amazing. It feels like an actor’s Christmas!!
Sell the show to me, what would you say to encourage potential audience members to come?
Harper: It’s a frank look at the modern world of gay men, its a story about relationsips and how we connect using sex in modern society. Its about sexuality, but also a look at how we all search for human connection.
Richard: The piece really works at the fringe because it ticks all the boxes of being funny, sad, poignant and also you get see some naked boys, which is never a bad thing!
Thanks for chatting to me, boys! You’ve sold the show to me, that’s for sure!!

Spotlight On… Trainspotting Star, Rachael Anderson


In Your Face Theatre and King’s Head Theatre Present Trainspotting Assembly George Square Studios Underground 3-29 August, 6pm and 8:30pm (not 9, 16, 23)  

“Ah’ve hud a long-standing problem with heroin addiction. Ah’ve been trying tae combat this, but it has curtailed my employment activities. I feel it’s important tae be honest and mention this tae you.  “

Irvine Welsh’s cult classic Trainspotting lands in its home territory with a bang after sell-out runs in Edinburgh, London and a UK tour. Immerse yourself – literally – in the Worst Toilet In Scotland as we follow the lives of Renton, Sick Boy and Begbie in an interactive, no-holds-barred take on the Edinburgh junkie underworld. 

LISTING INFORMATION Venue:  Assembly George Square Studios Underground, EH8 9JZ Time:  18:00 and 20:30 (20:30 only 3 August, 18:00 only 29 August)  Running Time: 75mins Dates: 3-29 August. Previews 3-5 August. No shows Tues 9, 16, 23 August Tickets: Previews £10 (£8); 10-11, 15, 17-18, 22, 24-25 & 29 August £13 (£11); 6-8, 12-14, 19-21, 26-28 August  £15 (£13) Bookings:, 0131 623 3030 or Assembly box offices at Assembly Hall and Assembly Roxy, Assembly George Square and Assembly Checkpoint

Trainspotting is an outstanding piece of work and it is a brilliant film as well as an amazing stage production. I chatted with Rachael Anderson from the cast, she plays Laura McEwan and June, among others!

Tell me about the show and how the rehearsal process has affected the transition from page to stage.

The journey the show has taken over the past three years has been insane. For me a lot of the work for my characters came from Irvine’s original novel, as we took a lot of characters written into solo monologues and brought them to life so the only way to find their real backstory was from the original books. Getting to create and originate characters that hadn’t been played on the stage before has been such an exciting and challenging experience. Having all these characters present and alive for an audience to see helps our story become so much more real, I just hope I’ve done them all justice!

What is your favourite moment or favourite line in the production?

My favourite moment is actually when I’m off stage and being able to listen in to the audience’s reactions. The moment Gavin (Mark Renton) wakes up in the bed with a few surprises beneath the sheets is by far the best moment of the show. For me, it’s when I can really tell if the audience are on board with our show and ready to join in on the journey. I don’t want to give too much away but it makes sure the show starts off with a bang.

What do you hope audiences will take away with them from this piece?

Trainspotting has so many themes still current in this day and age, so all I really want is for people to be able to relate to the story we’re telling them and find something that they can really connect to. Ultimately, we just want everyone to enjoy and be moved in some way by the show. I absolutely love Trainspotting, and just hope our audiences feel the same.

How does the space lend itself to the production?

Our show wouldn’t be what it is without the spaces we perform it in. Taking everyone out their comfort zone, breaking the fourth wall and giving them the experience we aim for wouldn’t be the same in any other usual theatre space. It sets up the whole show and gets them straight into our world.

Have you experienced a fringe festival before? What has your experience been?

I’ve performed in the Fringe with Trainspotting the past 3 years, however this year I happen to be performing in two other shows as well, both of which are musicals, one being commercial and the other being a new development piece. They are both a far cry from Trainspotting but it has been amazing to be fully immersed in so many different worlds. The Fringe Festival is the best thing about Edinburgh, and even though I may be doing five shows in one day, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sell the show to me, what would you say to encourage potential audience members to come?

There is no other theatre experience like it. It’s an absolute emotional roller coaster. You aren’t just an audience member, you become part of the cast, part of the journey and part of a unique experience. We’re a fully Scottish cast with an immense passion and insane amount of pride for the show. Don’t miss out!

Thanks Rachael, I’m sure this show will be fantastic and I send all my best wishes for the run.

Spotlight on… The Faction’s Mark Leipacher and Rachel Valentine Smith

It has ben announced that Selfridges will open a fully-fledged theatre with a new production of Much Ado About Nothing presented by critically-acclaimed theatre company, The Faction.

Celebrating Shakespeare400, Selfridges are joining forces with one of the most exciting young British theatre companies in the UK with a reputation for contemporary Shakespeare productions and innovative collaborations.

The reFASHIONed Theatre, complete with workshops and rare access to rehearsals, is an intimate 100-seat auditorium with a traditional box office, furniture designed royal box and seats, and bespoke rib by the masters of stage-lighting Whitelight. It’s not just any pop-up!

Much Ado About Nothing – The Faction @ Selfridges 
Selfridges & Co, 400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB 

Production: Tuesday 23rd August – Saturday 24th September 2016 Press Night: Friday 26th August, 7.30pm 

Box Office Tickets are available from Selfridges on phone number or online at

I thought that this sounded like a fantastic idea and decided a chat with Director, Mark Leipacher and Co-Director, Rachel Valentine Smith was in order!

Thank you for talking to Break A Leg, tell me all about the production and why audiences will love it.

Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s most dazzling comedies – packed full of witty banter and physical comedy that audiences will lap up. It’s also a play in which reputations are quickly built and the tiniest slither of gossip can lead to a very public shaming. It has a distinctly 21st century vibe, and we’ve taken it as a play for ‘now’ – where rumour can spread like wildfire on social media, and tabloid slander can undo anybody. So we hope that the audience recognises something of themselves, or the world around them, up on stage. Ultimately it’s a play that’s full of joy – that’s something that we’ve worked hard to release in rehearsals and something that the audience will love in performance

What was the inspiration for this unusual piece?

The inspiration was actually Shakespeare himself! The Faction were excited by the idea of celebrating #Shakespeare400 in the spirit of the bard himself by creating something in a boundary breaking, irreverent way. Being part of the Selfridges Shakespeare Refashioned campaign has been a great way to push that idea as we present this full-fledged production in a new, albeit temporary, studio space in the heart of Selfridges.

How long has the process taken to being the piece to the stage and what were the initial ideas in the creative process?

We had our first meeting back in November following which we pitched some small, some medium and some large scale ideas. Selfridges have a rich heritage of innovation and collaboration, working with some world class artists in the past. Our large scale idea was a fully-fledged theatre and programming a new Shakespeare production. Fast forward 9 months and here we are on the brink of technical rehearsals. Much Ado as a title sprung out to us because of its joyfulness, it’s a brilliant comedy that we think represents the Bard at his most mischievous and is an exciting play for anybody experiencing Shakespeare for the first time.

The other ideas included some pop-up performances that have been taking place on the shop floor over the last few weeks so we have already opened up a direct dialogue with the public and hope this has encouraged them to enjoy the Shakespeare Refashioned campaign further.

What’s your personal favourite Shakespeare play and why?

The Winter’s Tale. There are so many exciting themes to explore, and so much scope for theatrical opportunities. The splitting of time and space, the characters and it feels like Shakespeare at the height of his powers, experimenting with the verse and ideas. A play so full of imagination is a gift to a director.

Have any particular productions influenced you in the past?

The company has always been influenced by European theatre both in practice and in model. The culture of theatre going is very different in France and Germany to here at home. But the spirit of the Schaubühne, the style of the Deutsches Theater the magic of the Bouffes are all inspirational. The Globe’s Globe to Globe festival was amazing, we found the Maori Troilus and Cressida absolutely thrilling and a joy that we may not have been able to behold had it not been for the festival. Another favourite would be Deborah Warner’s Julius Caesar at the Barbican. Cheek By Jowl have also been great inspiration to us.

Finally, sell the show to me, why should everybody come along and see this?

It’s a fantastic play taking place in an unexpected location. It mixes the light and the dark – so you get comedy and tragedy in equal measure. It’s fun, fast-paced, wild and modern. These are wonderful characters of joy, warmth and intelligence and it’s a delight to spend 90 minutes in their company. You’ll want to get up on stage and join in with them. They’re mischievous and bold. Whether you’re a Bardologist or this will be your first experience of a Shakespeare play there’s genuinely something for everyone: it’s really the perfect way to mark Shakespeare400.

Break a leg, everybody and thank you for your time!


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: 


Spotlight On…Musician Tally Spear

Tally Spear is a 20 year old musician and singer/songwriter who was born in London and lives in London. Her website link is here: and you can find her single The Lucky Ones, on Spotify and iTunes:

Tally has a gig at Ronnie Scotts on Tuesday 16 August, here’s the link to the event on Facebook with all the details:

Thank you for talking to Break A Leg. So, Tally, first of all tell me about your set at Ronnie Scotts on 16th August, are you looking forward to performing there and what can the audience expect?

I’ve heard so much praise for Ronnie Scott’s over the years, yet I’ve never actually got round to going there myself. Therefore this will be my first time both playing at and going to Ronnie’s – I’m excited! This is also one of the first London gigs played with my wonderful backing band, so the audience can expect my usual stripped back live style to be transformed into something fuller!

Where did your passion for music first begin and how did you pursue it to start with?

I come from a family of musicians and actors, and so creativity has always been something very much encouraged at home. I was fed the best music by my parents from a very young age, and grew up listening to lots of ‘The Beatles’ and other hugely inspiring artists. Having started piano training at age seven, I was writing and performing my own music at eleven, at every opportunity.

Is there an instrument that you don’t currently play that you would like to learn in the future?

A good question! Yes! I have just been gifted a beautiful mandolin by my parents as a graduation present, – I love it, but I can’t play it. My aim is to be able to perform live with it by the end of 2016.  Ambitious but watch this space…!!


Where does the inspiration for your song writing come from?

I wish I knew. I don’t think there’s any sure thing that’ll inspire me to write new music. My music is my mind in song form; a mix-match of thoughts, feelings, ideas about what’s going on around me and where I’m at in life. Most often, a song will just kind of appear out of no-where and I’ll write it very naturally, other times I’ll have no ideas or inspiration for many months. Songwriting is a mysterious process I’ll never understand.

Have you got a single or album coming out soon and what can we expect from your new work?

Oooh, I have an exciting announcement to make at my gig at Ronnies which may or may not answer this question. Come and find out!

Who inspires your music? Do you have an idol in the business?

I absolutely have to always answer a ‘who inspires you’ question with Bob Dylan: his lyric-writing is endlessly fascinating and inspiring. I love how he fuses poetry with music to express so much in each song. I’ve always wanted my lyrics to be a focus in my music.

What is your ambition for your music career?

I’m driven by the idea that strangers who I may never meet or know, could get to hear what I think and feel by listening to the songs I write. I aspire to use music to connect to others, all over the world. Knowing that some people are out there and might, one day, listen to a song of mine and think ‘I think that too, I get what she’s saying’ is really cool.

Finally, have you a message to encourage people along to Ronnie Scotts?

If you like folky music, come along, and I’ll play some folky music!

Wishing Tally all the best with her upcoming gig, I know she’ll be amazing.

You can follow Tally on Twitter and Instagram @TallySpear.


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