Dinnerladies from the genius mind of the late, great Victoria Wood remains one of my firm favourite sitcoms to this day, all these years on. The man who played Victoria’s character, Bren’s love interest, Tony – is the brilliant Andrew Dunn. Andrew is playing the role of Gerald in the UK tour of The Full Monty so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to chat to him about the show.
Thank you for chatting to Entertainment Views, Andrew tell me about The Full Monty and the character you’re playing.
If you’re familiar with the film, you’ll know the story. It’s set in Sheffield and set around six out of work steelworkers who get together to become male strippers. I play Gerald, he hasn’t told his wife that he’s been made redundant, he goes out ‘to work’ every morning – but he has nowhere to go and its all an act to keep up the pretence.
What do you think the strengths of the show are?
The subject matters dealt with are relevant today. It’s a feelgood piece of theatre but as the writer, Simon Beaufoy says, he’s amazed that it’s a feelgood piece when the subject matter is depression.
How does it compare to the movie version?
Unlike the musical version the play is just the same as the film. We have the dole queue scene where the lads start dancing to ‘Hot Stuff’ and we do the full monty at the end. There are big lights on stage which are supposed to ‘blind’ the audience at the end but there have been times when the audience haven’t been blinded by the lights!
What have audience reactions been like so far?
Well they’ve bought a ticket to see it because of what they think they’ll see at the end! We get standing ovations and the audience are always on our side. It’s a fun show to do, that’s why I’m still touring with it. The audience get into it and they follow the story to the end.
I can’t not mention Dinnerladies as I still love the sitcom now, what was the best thing about being part of the series?
All the people I got to work with, there’s one episode where I’m standing with the late Dame Thora Hird, Dora Bryan and Eric Sykes. I grew up watching them on television. People wanted to work with Victoria.
The series has maintained its popularity after twenty years….
Yes, and its been shown on Gold channel which helps. We also toured theatres with it and it was amazing to see that young children were watching it and giving us pictures they’d drawn of the characters. People still stop me in the street and quote lines from it. I don’t think that she thought about the future but the way she wrote things meant that the humour is still there and relevant.
Back to The Full Monty, why should everyone buy a ticket to come and see it?
It’s a feelgood piece and a great night at the theatre, come along and have a good night out!
The all-important link to check out the tour dates/venues and buy tickets to see The Full Monty, is here: fullmontytheplay.com/
Crucible of the Vampire was released in cinemas yesterday and it looks set to be a thrilling piece of cinematography. Actress Florence Cady plays the role of Scarlet in the film and I caught up with her to find out all about the character she plays and why she thinks that vampire movies have stood the test of time.
Thanks for chatting to Enertainment Views, Scarlet. Tell me about Crucible of the Vampire and what attracted you to be part of it?
Crucible Of The Vampire is a Gothic Vampire Thriller set in present day Shropshire in a large country house. Stylistically, it draws from classic British horror of the 1950s and 1960s, along with modern Korean and Japanese psychological horror. I was attracted to the idea of playing a strong, multi-faceted female character. It was a great opportunity to get my teeth into (excuse the pun) a complex, dynamic and varied role. I was also drawn to the idea of doing my own action scenes, including: horse-riding, fight scenes and a dance sequence. It is not often that you get the chance to play a lead role and also do your own physical work.
What are the strengths and quirks of your character?
Scarlet is a strong character both physically and mentally. She is extremely powerful and incredibly manipulative, but this is born out of her inner anxiety and feeling of isolation and entrapment. Scarlet initially appears to be a petulant child, and then she develops into a dangerous seductress and manipulative psychopath. She has a strong character arc and a deep secret. She is very volatile and becomes intensely angry at the flick of a switch, which can be quite sinister. But, she is also very playful and girlish at times. She is a dreamer, driven by her fantasy of escape. Our director, Iain Ross-McNamee was brilliant at allowing us the space for our characters to develop whilst also having a clear vision of what he wanted Scarlet and Isabelle’s relationship to be like.
What’s your favourite scene from the film?
I think my favourite scenes to film were the action sequences choreographed by stunt co-ordinator, Justin Pearson. Katie and I worked with Justin to learn the fight scenes, almost like a dance sequence. It was quite exhilarating to chase each other down the corridors at night, whilst trying to get the moves in the right order, which became second nature after a short rehearsal period. I also enjoyed learning the dance sequence set in the ballroom, which was choreographed by Vikki Burns. The room had such beautiful natural light and it was a great space to work in. In preparation for the role, I went back to barre classes to refresh my ballet, and I stretched daily to ensure I was prepared for the short rehearsal period on set with Vikki.
Any particular memories from making the film?
I have lots of fond memories from making the film. It was a fantastic opportunity so early on in my career, and also a chance to escape London and live in the beautiful Shropshire countryside. One particular memory I have is of shooting the dream sequence on a gorgeous white stallion. I remember at one point the horse-handler saying to me ‘there are 18 acres of land here, and he hasn’t had a gallop in a while, so don’t get too confident!’ Luckily the horse was very well-behaved, and I manged to stay upright. It was a challenge to try and remain calm, get the horse to do as it was told, whilst looking elegant and serene.
What’s your best loved genre of film?
I’m a big fan of Film Noir. I wrote my dissertation on Women in Film Noir, looking at the on-going fascination of the femme fatale from the classic noir of the 1940’s onwards, to neo-noir from the 1970’s to present day. I’m fascinated by the elusive archetype of the femme fatale and the distinct visual style of the ‘genre’. Our film shares one of its key themes: the blurred lines between fantasy and reality, which we used to explore the dreamlike quality of certain parts of the film.
Why do you think that Vampires hold such fascination for film fans?
I think Vampires hold such a fascination for films fans because they are an archetype that instantly conjures up a strong image of a dark, brooding, charming and sexually provocative character. They also represent the disparity of how a person can appear to be one thing, but are completely the opposite. As with Scarlet in the film, at the beginning we wanted to make it feel like she was just a troubled, tormented soul driven by her desire to escape her life confined to her parent’s house. Vampires are often lonely, isolated characters and I think all humans can I identify with that feeling at some point in their life. They are also fascinating because they are superhuman, extremely powerful and can live for hundreds of years. They transcend the ordinary.
Why should we all watch Crucible of the Vampire?
You should all watch Crucible of the Vampire because it has garnered rave reviews at major festivals, including Starburst International Film Festival which called it “an engaging story that is both broodingly ethereal, visually eloquent and thoroughly enjoyable.” It is an intense, provocative and disturbing horror that will make you uncomfortable at times and challenge your perceptions, harking back to the classic British horror of a by-gone era.
Thanks to Florence for an insightful interview.
Crucible of the Vampire is in cinemas 1st Feb and on Dual Format (DVD & Blu-ray) on 4 Feb 2019 from Screenbound Pictures
Duffy and Chuffy fans who tune in regularly to the BBC One drama, Casualty will be in for a few surprises. The popular Nurse, who’s already in the throes of dealing with her diagnosis of Clinical Depression and Anxiety, is set to behave uncharacteristically and become a worry to her husband, Charlie (Derek Thompson) for more reason than one.
Entertainment Views caught up with actress Cathy Shipton who plays the troubled Nurse.
Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Cathy – we’ve seen Duffy diagnosed with Clinical Depression and Anxiety, which she hasn’t revealed to Charlie yet. What are you able to tell us about the latest storyline?
You’ll have just seen the episode with the CQC inspection where Duffy was called in by Charlie even though she’d just done a twilight shift. Charlie’s been working days while Duffy’s working nights so they’re on parallel lines and not communicating very well. During Duffy’s interview with the CQC Inspector you might have noticed she’s a bit jaded in her response, she’s knackered though and almost pulled a 24 hour shift as well as al the while losing confidence in her abilities.
The miscommunication between Duffy and Charlie almost led her to make a fatal error on that extra shift…
Yes, but did she mishear Charlie’s instructions because of her anxiety which has made her slightly unfocused?
So her way of dealing with the altercation with Charlie was to call Bill!
She calls Bill and he meets her at the pub. What you’ll see next at the start of the subsequent episode is Bill and Duffy in a hotel room at a Boutique Hotel! The room is littered with all their clothes, Duffy wakes up not knowing where she is and Bill walks out of the bathroom in a robe!
Is this the beginning of the end for Duffy and Charlie?
Duffy tells Bill to get out and is clearly angry that it has happened. She’s trying to get away and ends up called back to settle the invoice just as a guy runs out to alert them to the fact his girlfriend’s been in the hotel swimming pool and can’t breathe.
And of course, Duffy is a Nurse….!
Yes, so Duffy goes to attend to the hotel guest and upon calling 999, she’s met by Ian and Ruby who are questioning as to why she’s at the hotel. Duffy says she’s been attending a conference there but she cant look either of them in the eye.
Will she tell Charlie the truth?
Duffy’s been AWOL over night so Charlie’s been worried about her and wants to know where she’s been. She tells him she had to clear her head and needed space and admits that she spent the night in a hotel. He’s trying to make it up to her by suggesting they do things together, like swimming at the hotel she’s just spent the night at. Duffy is desperate for him not to be nice to her though!
So it hasn’t taken long for Duffy and Charlie’s marriage to hot the rocks, but is Duffy’s behaviour a ‘side-effect’ of her state of mind? We’ll have to wait and see! Thanks as always to Cathy for a fantastic interview, looking forward to seeing where this storyline will take the character.
Actress Su Pollard has long been a favourite performer of mine, both on screen and in her various stage roles. As a pantomime villain she’s second to none so I was delighted to hear she was going to play the Wicked Queen in Malvern Theatres’ pantomime this year, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Here, Su tells me why she thinks that pantomime remains a popular tradition at Christmas and we chat about her appearance in the ITV reality television programme ‘Last Laugh In Vegas‘.
Thank you for talking to Entertainment Views, Su – what do you love about pantomime?
I like panto because it’s a real tradition and I believe that traditional theatre should keep going as long as possible. In the same way that people love Shakespeare, so many people love panto. You’re never too old to get into the spirit of it all. I like it when the kids are screaming and that they’re allowed to be noisy, in other instances they’d be expected to be on their best behaviour. If I don’t make at least one child cry then I think I’ve failed in my job! I love it when a child gets carried out, result!
So you enjoy being the baddie then?
Oh I do love playing the baddie and scaring the children, but it’s important that everybody goes home happy and feels they’ve had value for money.
Do you agree that being able to introduce children to theatre from a young age is important?
Absolutely, it’s great that parents can bring their children to see a panto and not have to tell them to ssh! Of course you have to be careful that they don’t behave the same way when they’re introduced to Shakespeare and other shows! I was playing the Nurse in Rome and Juliet years ago and I had to say “oh Miss Juliet, Tybalt has died” and someone shouted “hi de hi!” I just had to move swiftly on, I did smile to myself a bit.
Do audiences shout “hi de hi!” to you when you’re on stage in panto?
Yes, all the time, I don’t mind if they do it, I try to say something mean back to them as there’s a part in the show where the audience are encouraged to say it – although I won’t say where in the show it happens.
How do you keep the energy going throughout the pantomime season?
People often ask “how do you do it?” but you pace yourself and you learn how to in rehearsals, because that’s where you learn what you’re supposed to be doing and you know what you’re in for.
Have you got a favourite pantomime?
My favourite pantomime and story is Aladdin but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a very close second. There’s no veering off from the story and the pureness of the fairy tale and I love the fact that good triumphs over evil. It teaches people that in life you can never get away with being mean. As is shown with the Wicked Queen as something bad happens to her as a result of her being mean.
Stepping away from pantomime for a moment, I have to mention ITV’s Last Laugh in Vegas, it was an amazing show which I thoroughly enjoyed – what did you get out of the experience?
I loved doing that show because I’ve never wanted to do anything like Big Brother, but at the end of this one, although it was a very similar format with us staying in the house together, we got to do a proper show. To me it was a culmination of what we were going out there to do, we got on really well there was no back-biting, we were going out there to do the best we could and have fun. The unfortunate thing was I left my mobile phone in the path of a sprinkler back at the house – there were sprinklers on all day for the plants – I put it in a rice box for two days but it did no good. Other than that it was enormous fun!
Finally, what would you everybody to encourage them to buy a ticket to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Malvern Theatres this season?
It’s VFM which stands for Value for Money! You’ll have a fabulous night out and get exactly what you want, great singing, amazing costumes, plenty to join in with. It’s got something for all the family so buy a ticket and come and see us!
Huge thanks to Su for her time – I can’t wait to see her in action – oh no I can’t!
Earlier in the year I was delighted to see the latest cast of MAMMA MIA! in the west end production and they blew me away. Collectively, the Dynamos are the best three I’ve seen in all my years of watching and occasionally reviewing the show. Sara Poyzer plays Donna and she sparkles with a down to earth quality which I always feel ought to be an overt trait in Donna. Kate Graham is obviously in her element as Tanya, tongue-in-cheek humour, glamorous and loving life whilst attracting the younger man! Ricky Butt as Rosie is everything I expect the character to be – perfect comic timing and her understanding of the character’s persona shows.
To be able to interview the three actresses who have reignited my passion for the musical was an absolutely superb opportunity, so without further ado – I give you…. DONNA AND THE DYNAMOS!!!
Sara Poyzer (Donna)
Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Sara, I know you’ve played Donna before on international tour, what enticed you back and made you want to play the role in the West End?
When I finished the international tour after being on the road for four years, it was the travelling I was tired of rather than the role itself so it was a real treat to be asked to come into the west end and do it. Particularly with the second film coming out and the 20th anniversary of the show coming up. Of course there was no guarantee that I would get the job when I went for it so to be offered it was like being offered the role all over again. I was absolutely delighted!
The chemistry between the three Dynamos works so well, what do you think the secret is?
I’ve known Kate (Graham, who plays Tanya) for years and we are very old friends and because I’ve done this show for a few years, as soon as I knew Kate was in the cast and that Ricky (Butt, who plays Rosie) had been cast as Rosie we met for coffee ahead of rehearsals and said “right, we’re mates, we’re mates on stage and off stage” and that’s grown over the past few months as we’ve got to know Ricky. We have a genuine friendship and we support each other professionally, emotionally and personally. We’re mates and I’m glad that shows on stage.
What’s your favourite Abba song in the show?
I love singing The Winner Takes It All.
What did you think of MAMMA MIA! 2? Did it live up to your expectations?
I thought it ticked every box as far as being very sentimental with great story telling and excellent performances. I left with a smile on my face, which was exactly how I reacted to the first film as well. I think in this day and age the film is a real tonic for life’s daily pressures and challenges. I went to the film premiere and I was star struck by the stars and celebs sitting by me so I was half watching the film and half watching Cher out the corner of my eye!
Do you think there’s room for a MAMMA MIA! 3?
I don’t know but I’d like to see Mamma Mia 2 on stage!
If you weren’t in MAMMA MIA! what would you have your eye on doing next in your career?
I don’t know, my heart is in theatre, I love doing theatre – maybe I’d go for something more serious and classical which is where my training is. I think maybe I’d like to work at the National Theatre next.
What led you into a career as a performer?
I got a job at Nottingham Playhouse Theatre and started to see a lot of plays and it was a bit like an epiphany, I fell in love with performing and the whole romantic notion of what theatre is. So at the age of 24 I decided I wanted to go to drama school. I auditioned for a few drama schools, got in to one and got a local council grant. I trained as a straight actor but I ended up in the cast of Billy Elliot which propelled me into the world of musical theatre. I have no regrets because I absolutely love musical theatre, I think it’s a really powerful medium.
Finally, what would you say to encourage potential audience members to book a ticket and come and see you all?
The show has so many universal themes such as friendship, love, guilt, joy and comedy. There are so many different elements in this show that I think although it sounds such a cliché when I look out during the finale each night I see people from all walks of life and it feels like it’s appealing to all of them. It’s one of those shows that ticks every box and it features the music of Abba, and they have written such amazing pop songs.
Kate Graham (Tanya)
Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Kate, so you’re no stranger to the show and indeed the role as you played Tanya on international tour, what made you decide to play the role again?
I played the role eight years ago and I loved it. After I finished the international tour I had been waiting for it to come up when I was free.
What’s your all-time favourite Abba song?
I like Angel Eyes but I also like When All Is Said and Done. I can’t ever fail to be moved by Happy New Year, whenever I hear it I start bawling, no matter what time of year it is!
What’s your personal highlight from Mamma Mia?
I like Under Attack, although I’m not in it! I think it’s a really good song, I love Sophie on the bed surrounded by the dads and Donna gets a really sexy costume in it. My favourite scene that I’m involved in is the bedroom scene where we sing Chiquitita and Dancing Queen, it’s just a really great scene from start to finish, the progression of it is really fun. The connection that the three of us have is great.
What did you think of MAMMA MIA! 2?
I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m sure it’s marvellous?
It is, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! So, moving on to your career, what led you on this particular career path?
I just really liked doing it, I’ve always liked creating something or performing something or telling a story. I came from quite an academic family so they forced me to go to college and do a proper degree first but all the way through I carried on acting and singing in my spare time. Eventually when I’d done all my qualifications I said “now can I go and do it?” and I was told yes!
Are there any roles that are on your bucket list for the future?
I just like working and actually the roles that I would play probably haven’t even been created yet, I love doing new things. Prior to doing it I would have said I’d like to play Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot but now I’ve done it! That’s the only role I’ve really hankered after. I always play character roles, I always play smaller roles so they tend to be quirkier and come up in things that are new and you don’t know exist yet.
Previously you worked as assistant director with the children who starred in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is that something you’d be keen to go back to in the future?
Yes I would, I really enjoyed it. I always think you’re better at teaching performance while you’re still performing yourself.
Finally what would you say to encourage everyone to come and see MAMMA MIA!?
Come and see us, it’s a really great evening out at the theatre.
Ricky Butt (Rosie)
Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Ricky, so first of all, how familiar were you with MAMMA MIA! before you took the role of Rosie?
Very familiar, I’m friend with Jenny Galloway who was Rosie in the original cast and I remember meeting up with her and she told me how all the songs were going to fit in and I thought that sounds amazing. Funnily enough I did the sound effects for the very first MAMMA MIA! film as a Foley Artist. So this was a natural next step.
Congratulations on winning an Emmy for your work as a Foley Artist, by the way! What led you in that direction in the first place?
It was when I’d had children and a friend of mine was doing it, an opportunity came up to do it with her – and it fitted in with my family. What they liked was my dancing background as it helps if you have a natural ability to move. It’s become a secondary career as when I had my children I’d turned my back on the theatre really. Now I’m back working in the theatre and I’ve been doing the Foley along with it.
As the Dynamos in Mamma Mia, yourself, Sara and Kate are by far my favourites to date – what makes that chemistry work so well?
We just seem to click and complement each other very well. I share a dressing room with Kate who plays Tanya and we’ve got to know each other very well so we bring something new into the relationship of Rosie and Tanya every night. I take whatever she throws at me on stage and throw something back.
You also have great chemistry with Stephen Beckett as Bill…
Yes, we are on the same page, we wanted to make it feel as if the characters really like each other, I wanted it to come across that Rosie is testing the waters to begin with and not just after a man. Also, instead of wearing heels for the wedding as Rosie sometimes does, I wear flats so that we can make use of the height difference between us too.
What did you think of MAMMA MIA! 2?
I loved it, I thought particularly when the older characters came on it seemed to give it a bit of a boost and then I thought the rest of the film really worked.
Which roles have you got an ambition to play in the future? Would you carry on in musical theatre if you could?
I’m at an age where there isn’t that much for women of my casing so I think I’ve won the lottery playing Rosie! These roles don’t really come up very often and this time I got the golden ticket! I’d been asked to audition for the role a couple of years ago and I turned it down, but I’m doing it at the right time now.
Finally, what would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket to see MAMMA MIA!?
I know of people, even other actors who have been to see the show and have come out feeling moved and haven’t been able to believe how good it is. It is a jukebox musical and I think people think it’s going to be a bit cheesy but it’s much better than you might think it’s going to be. You’ll have a great time.
I’d like to thank all three ladies for their time, it was great fun chatting to them all and I urge you all to buy a ticket to see MAMMA MIA!:Mamma Mia Tickets
Can I also draw your attention to the Entertainment Views Awards which are voted for by the public and part nominated by the public, part nominated by the panel. Sara Poyzer, Kate Graham, Ricky Butt and Stephen Beckett are all shortlisted as is the show itself – cast your vote by 1st November: Entertainment Views Awards 2018
Musical Theatre Star, Lucy O’Byrne first appeared on my radar when she appeared on The Voice in 2015 and made it to the final under the mentorship of renowned coach Will.i.am. I’ve watched her as Maria in The Sound of Music and now she’s setting the stage alight as Eva Peron in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic ‘Evita’. I saw the show in Malvern and in my humble opinion, O’Byrne is giving Elaine Paige a run for her money. I chatted to Lucy about the show, the challenges of such an iconic role and her favourite musical numbers in the score.
Thank for chatting to Entertainment Views, Lucy – may I congratulate you on an amazing performance as Eva. First of all, how familiar were you with Evita before you took the role?
I played the role in college, so I learned it then and I grew up listening to the soundtrack with my dad singing along to a lot of the songs, it was like the soundtrack of my childhood. I remember seeing the movie, although I wasn’t allowed to see it when it first came out, I wasn’t old enough to watch it at the cinema so I remember watching it later on video when my parents bought it. It just has such fantastic music. It has four of my favourite songs in it.
What are your four favourite songs?
‘High Flying Adored’, ‘You Must Love Me’, ‘The Lament’ and ‘Rainbow High’.
My favourite song from the show is Rainbow High…
Yes it’s a lot of fun to perform, Bill Deamer’s staging and choreography makes it so much fun. It’s a bit of a power trip in a weird way, just listening to it gives you an empowered feeling because it’s Eva at her strongest. That song is her saying “I know I’m this good just watch me”.
What do you feel are the challenges of the role?
It’s relentless from the moment you walk on the stage until the very end, I pretty much sing everything in the show, I’m in every number. The show spans about eighteen years and it’s the journey she goes on all the way from her as a teenager to her dying at the end, along the way you see her at the height of her power – the character has incredible energy all the way through which she holds onto even at the end. It’s quite emotionally, physically and mentally draining and there are times for example during a warm up for a matinee where you think “I’m not going to get through this” then you get to the number ‘Buenos Aires’ and the energy surrounds you.
What other roles would you like to play in the future?
There’s so many, I’ve been incredibly lucky so far, I’ve ticked off three of my bucket list roles in quite a short space of time. I’ve got a long, long list that I’m working away at.
I first saw you when you appeared on The Voice, did you always feel that a theatrical path would be the one for you or did you have something else in mind?
No, I always had theatre in mind, my family are all involved in theatre my dad is an actor and singer, he’s now a musical director. My mum was an actor and dancer and she now has her own stage school. We grew up around it, it was never really a choice that I remember making. My dad said to me “get a real job” but I think we all knew which way it was going to go!
Finally, what would you say to encourage people to come and see the show?
I think it’s worth a watch, I’ve always enjoyed watching the show myself, I have a ball doing it and everybody I’ve spoken to so far who’s seen the show has enjoyed it. It’s a great story and what’s amazing about it is that it’s a true story. It’s the ultimate rags to riches, it’s the story of a strong woman, a woman who knew what she was about. It’s got some of the best show tunes ever written and some of the best melodies ever written as well.
In the clash between the political and the personal, The Sword of Alex by award-winning playwright Rib Davis examines how identity fares in the struggle, coming to the White Bear Theatre in Autumn 2018, starring Kate Terence, Georgia Winters, Patrick Regis and DK Ugonna.
You’d never defeat me in politics, not in the politics of left and right. But it’s a hell of a lot easier to get people to fight over identity than it is over ideas. Isn’t that right?
A country on the verge of civil war as a region attempts to break away from the state. Two versions of nationalism clash head-on. Two leaders and their nations pitted against each other. Each must destroy the others’ version of history. But families are no less tribal than nations. As the great games are played out at a national level, so too are domestic power struggles. This is a play that brings together national destiny, gender politics and the very ideas of identity and belonging.
Come back in ten years. Or twenty. Or when you’re dead. That’s always a good time to be forgiven. I think it’s called a pardon.
Rib Davis began his writing career in documentary theatre at The Living Archive Project. He has now worked in oral history-based theatre for over 30 years. He has worked extensively in radio (his many plays include Corridor and A Few Kind Words, and series include Unwritten Law) as well writing for television (including for The Bill). His non-documentary stage play No Further Cause for Concern, about a prison riot, won an Edinburgh Fringe First award before he went on to adapt it for television. His best-selling book Writing Dialogue for Scripts is now in its 4th edition. Rib Davis is currently holder of the Goodison Fellowship at the British Library.
Kate Terence has performed with the RSC and the Globe, and appeared on screens in Bad Girls and The Kindness of Strangers. Georgia Winters is a member of the Actors Ensemble theatre company and appeared in the film Jupiter Ascending. Patrick Regis received the Best Newcomer Award at the Screen Nations Awards, and has since appeared in Hard Sun for the BBC, and will be appearing in the second season of Snatch. DK Ugonna originated the role Vartan Sarafian in a new play Paradise Road (Tales Retold) at the Sheffield Library Theatre this year, played Othello (Lights of London) at the Moor’s Bar Theatre in Crouch End in 2017.
One of the stars of ‘The Sword Of Alex’, Kate Terence, chatted to Entertainment Views about the production and threw in some tips for budding actors too!
Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Kate. Tell me about the production and your character.
The production is one of the more exciting challenges that I have taken on in a long time. I am among a cast of four; they are all excellent actors, so the bar has been raised for me. My character, Calantha has all the qualities of a strong but complex female character, so I am enjoying the challenge of trying to reach all aspects of her in rehearsal.
What was your initial impression of the script?
My initial impression of the script was it’s immediacy and it’s relevance to our current world. It has a classical, timeless quality to it, but if you were to equate it with music, it is more like extremely precisely written jazz structured in a classical form. I wanted to be part of it straight away.
What are the challenges of the piece?
The challenges are in the fact that there is the macro-view of the characters but there is also the micro view of their personal worlds, so making that have a flow that serves the play to its best is a stimulating challenge. And there are plenty of lines to learn, but I’m not complaining!
How do you feel the space will lend itself to the production?
The space is very intimate so the audience will receive it very clearly. There is no room for error, which can be exposing to an actor, but is also massively exciting. They will see something that they may well recognise and have a chance to reflect upon it more instantly.
What do you hope the reactions from the audience will be?
I hope they are stimulated and provoked by it, that they come out at the end and find themselves talking about it’s content, relating it to their lives and the world’s politics.
Why should everybody buy a ticket to come and see it?
It is not often that a brilliantly written play comes out, with four excellent actors and a superb director. That is why it is worth buying a ticket.
Finally, any advice for budding actors and what’s your preferred medium, stage or screen?
Advice for budding actors: stick at it, persist, develop the skin of a rhinoceros but maintain the soul of a baby. Be choosy in what you do and challenge yourself: if you are scared of it, it’s often a reason to do it. Always believe in yourself, but have the humility to believe you can also improve and become even better.
In terms of preferences, I love both the stage and screen. They are two completely different mediums and over the years I’ve discovered that I enjoy both equally for differing reasons.
The creators of multi-award-winning The Marriage of Kim K, leoe&hyde, return with an uplifting new musical about modern masculinity, body image, and the hook-ups and downs of dating in the 21st century. GUY’s heart-pounding electronic score will reel you in to this FOMO-arousing, catch-he gay rom-com, transferring to the King’s Head Theatre in a revised version after a successful premier and tour, winning multiple awards.
***** “exceptional cast… catchy [music]… a joy to watch” Theatre Box
Guy is a gay millennial looking for love. Guy is fat, nerdy and shy. Guy feels like he doesn’t fit in to the gay community. But when a rejection on Grindr pushes Guy to make terrible life choices, he is forced to confront his inner demons, all the while pushing away everyone close to him. With 12 heart-pounding electronic-pop anthems, this millennial odyssey through bingeing, gyming, prejudice, hook ups, beauty standards, and stolen identity is a much-needed reminder that the only person you can be is yourself.
****½ “[An] irresistible rom-com of the highest order… [this] show has the potential to be very big indeed” The Reviews Hub
Sometimes sexy, always real, GUY is a game-changing gay rom-com for the 2010s: with nakedly honest characters; an unapologetically moving portrayal of the hook-ups and downs of 21st-century dating; and a thought-provoking glimpse behind the veil of modern masculinity, male beauty standards, and unspoken prejudices within marginal communities. Tied together with a pioneering and infectiously catchy electronic score, GUY channels floor-filling EDM anthems, indie electronica, queer hip-hop, and PC Music with the lyrical charm of Sondheim, and the earworm melodies of Schwartz.
**** “A really fresh new musical with fantastic songs and great performances” West End Wilma
Following an acclaimed run at The Bunker, GUY’s tour won the show Best New Writing at the Buxton Fringe 2018, and the show now returns to London. The lead role of Guy is played by Brendan Matthew, who is joined by Seann Miley Moore. Moore first came to the attention of the UK public in The X Factor 2015, where he reached the finals. Since then, he’s toured gay pride internationally and launched a successful solo pop career, releasing his first EP last year. GUY is his UK theatre debut. The show is written and produced by leoe&hyde, following the success of their debut production The Marriage of Kim K (2017). The rising millennial musical theatre company received strong reviews, multiple awards and international attention last summer for the show, and have been called ‘a formidable partnership’ (Review Hub).
Leo Mercer chatted to Entertainment Views about the musical, focusing on the challenges and what the audience can expect.
Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Leo. Tell me about the production, how did the idea form, how long did it take before the script was ready to be read/work-shopped?
After the success of The Marriage of Kim K, Stephen and I wanted to do something a little bit different. Kim K was so ornate, operatic and complex, but we’d really been getting obsessed with electronic-pop. So in October, we just sat down and wrote the pop songs that we were feeling at the time, really raw, honest and emotional, without having to worry about crafting a story.
As it turned out, a few weeks later I had an “aha” moment, when I realised that those songs essentially tell a love story not dissimilar to those that my generation tend to experience, and I drafted a script around them. Some of the songs in the show – Mutual Prostitution, Is Your Body Who You Are – were written then, and as we’ve developed the show, lots of new material has been created to fill in the important moments.
This show really was an accidental baby – WE HAD OTHER PLANS! But once an idea grabs you, you’re grabbed. We then got performance slots at Hope Mill and The Bunker, and rushed through seven drafts of the show to get it ready. We’ve redrafted it again between those performances and the run we’re about to do at The King’s Head.
Did you have a clear ideas of who you wanted to cast?
Not at all: we went into auditions with a mega open mind. It’s always difficult rejecting auditionees – there are so many brilliant people out there deserving of a part, and you just want to send them each huge emails explaining why they’re wonderful too. However, we’ve never once doubted the cast members we ended up choosing: they’re dedicated, hard-working, lovely and absolutely talented. They’ve said they feel like the characters; the audience keep commenting on the fit between cast and character; it’s become a very lovely and collaborative process.
Has your vision for the piece altered during rehearsals?
Not really, but it has deepened. There are things we want to achieve in GUY – for example: a sophisticated, almost filmic show – and the chance to practice means we’re understanding what that actually involves more day by day. It often feels like when you have an idea for a show, and it’s so clear and simple in your mind, that the whole writing and production process is about trying to reach that simple, end point, but you go through lots of complex groundwork to get there.
What can the audience expect from the show?
Someone tweeted after the show saying the show fulfilled their expectations of being unexpected, and I think that sounds about right. Our shows always take a very pop culture matter – Kim Kardashian in The Marriage of Kim K, Grindr in GUY – but approaches them as if they’re something you’d expect from something much more “establishedly cultural”
What do you envisage audience reactions might be?
Stephen and I always joke that we wish we had a mind-scanner, and as everyone leaves the show could collect all the thoughts that people have. Based on what we’ve heard, I’d imagine that mind-scanner would detect several earworms, an intense sense of connection with Guy, and a sense that they’ve seen some aspect of their own life mirrored back at them.
What do you hope they’ll take away from the piece?
I don’t really know what catharsis is, but I think that’s the aim? 21st century society has made a lot of humans very confused about their bodies and what love should be, and watching a closely observed character deal with this will hopefully let a reader go on their own psychological journey at the same time as Guy does.
Thanks to Leo for an insightful interview, wishing the cast and crew all the best for their run. The show runs until Saturday 1 September 2018.
BBC Two’s Versailles has recently enjoyed a third series, did you catch it? Based on the life and times of Louis XIV it stars the inimitable Catherine Walker in the role of Madame de Maintenon. Catherine chatted to Entertainment Views about the recent series and the extraordinary character she plays (wonderfully, in our humble opinion!).
Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Catherine. Tell me about the latest series of Versailles and how you feel your character has grown.
The latest series of Versailles looks at the path to absolute power. France is expanding its empire and Louis is unstoppable in his ambition. however he comes up against the church and the growing unrest of the protestants and the people of France who are suffering economically as a result of these ambitions. Maintenon is integral to this as she guides Louis on the path of Absolutism with her unwavering and zealot like belief in the divine right of Kings. There is also at the heart of the series the mystery of the man in the iron mask a secret which could unravel the very bedrock of the throne
What was your opinion of your character back when you first read the script?
When I first read the scripts I was fascinated by this women, who when we first meet her is nothing more than a nanny to the kings children, during season 3 she becomes the most powerful women in Europe. Its a fascinating trajectory. She was not of nobility but there’s was a very true love, a meeting of minds and of equals. She was the great strength behind the throne.
Why do you think Versailles has picked up such a strong following?
I think Versailles has picked up a strong following because it is such a rich story with brilliant well drawn characters. When you are working on actual historical figures they are so far beyond what could be imagined fictionally. It is also such an aesthetically beautiful and sumptuous period. It is a visual feat for the audience and the attention to detail is unparalleled.
What are the challenges of your role?
The challenges of my role was getting into the mind-set of someone who is so zealot like in their beliefs. She is a devout catholic and absolutely believes that Louis is in direct line to God. It was important to get to the root of that because all her decision making comes from there and that can lead to some very dark places as you will see in the series.
What would you say to current viewers to encourage them to stick with it?
For current viewers, I would say the series will keep surprising you. This is the ultimate series and the conclusions for all the characters won’t disappoint. There is much still to come!
What would you say to potential new viewers to entice them to start watching it?
For new viewers I would say it’s a world that has to be seen to be believed, and much of it is based on truth. It is a rich story, beautifully told, with a great cast of characters, filled with intrigue and darkness – but there was also much fun to be had at Versailles – they knew how to party!
Finally, if you could play any other character in the series, who would it be and why?
If I could play another character in the series it would have to be the Chevalier. Maintenon is so strict in her beliefs she doesn’t get to let her hair down and go to the party…so that would be fun.
Huge thanks to Catherine for a superb interview!
Versailles series 3 and 1-3 box set arrive on DVD 13 August