August’s BONUS Spotlight On…
*** Robin Sebastian ***
Can you tell us when you realised you could impersonate Kenneth Williams so accurately and if you were a particular fan of the gentleman, himself?
Well I was working as a wine waiter at a private party in London and I was being as gregarious as I could, asking people “if they’d like another bottle up their end” that sort of thing, but I found that the voice I was using was naturally the king of innuendo Kenneth Williams. I had always enjoyed his performances and had owned a copy of Rambling Syd Rumpo since I was 11. At that party was the actor Nigel Lindsay who was doing the London Cuckolds at the National directed by Terry Johnson. Nigel told me that Terry was desperately trying to find a Kenneth Williams for his new play Carry on Camping Emmanuelle and Dick and that I should apply. I was too late as he had already got the excellent Adam Godley instead. It planted the idea in my head and a few years later I landed the role in Round the Horne revisited. Kenneth Williams has been my saving grace.
Did you envisage that your career would involve portraying Mr Williams so frequently?
Not at first, but I would happily play Kenneth in every show; from Shakespeare to Brecht!
Are you a fan of the ‘Carry On’ films and which is your favourite?
Naturally I have an inclination towards the Carry Ons. My favourite being Carry On Screaming! I did land the role of Sir Desmond Uppingham Knightly in Carry on London, but unfortunately Peter Rogers died and the funding was pulled. Boo hoo!
Apart from the man you’re so famous for impersonating, which role has been your best loved to date?
Well I have been in two productions of The importance of being Earnest playing Algernon Moncrieff who is the wittiest character on the stage. I also enjoyed playing Carmen Ghia in The Producers playing opposite Peter Kay. Lots of laughs and masses of ad libs!
Are there are any particular roles you would like to take in the future or shows that you have an ambition to appear in?
I have no ambitions to play a particular role…. Except James Bond of course, but somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen. I would however like to try stand up as me!
Please tell our readers about ‘The Missing Hancocks’ and what they can expect from its appearance at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
These are comedy gold! We are performing four lost recordings : Prime Minister Hancock, The Winter Holiday, The Three Sons and New Year’s Resolutions. We play two episodes per show. So if you’ve enjoyed one show you can come back the next day and see two different episodes. The cast are Stella with Kevin McNally as Hancock, Simon Meerkat Greenall as Sid James, the hilarious Alex Lowe as Bill Kerr, Susy Kane brilliantly captures Andree Melly and Me messing about as Kenneth Williams! It’s quick fire humour at its best with plenty of added banter!
Any advice for budding actors?
Seriously think about doing a plumbing diploma….. As back up!
Favourite Things (quick-fire questions):
What are your favourite things, if you could only name three in total?
My wife, champagne and dressing up!
Bath Theatre Royal. It is perfectly built and perfectly run.
I have had many from David Mitchell to Rob Webb, Peter Kay, Russia Abbott, Jonathan Rigby, Joe Pasquale, Jenny Seagrove, Roy Marsden and the lovely Sara Crowe. They have all been joyous to work and play with.
I love music, but my two favourites are Oli Girizo by the Greek band Marsheaux and sprawl two by Arcade Fire. Two very catchy tunes!
Favourite childhood memory?
I have so many. As I was brought up in the beautiful Surrey Countryside in a very loving family. It has to be running through the sprinkler in the garden in the hot summer of 1976.
The Missing Hancocks is at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and tickets can be purchased here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/missing-hancocks-live-in-edinburgh-show-a