When did you first Act/write/direct etc? And what was it?
I think the first thing I did was Fiddler on the Roof at school, I can’t say it was the show that really made me want to enter the theatre world, I think the show that really gave me that impetus was The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard. The sound of laughter is such a drug and it’s easy to get hooked.
What or who was your greatest inspiration?
A fellow Welsh actor called Philip Sayer (right). He took over from Tim Curry in The Rocky Horror Show when it transferred from the Royal Court to the Kings Road Theatre. It was the first show I saw in London and I think it made me realise that people from my background really could make their way in the theatre. Phil went on to do great work but sadly died at the age of 42
What professional training have you had? Do you think it was relevant?
I was a student at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. It seemed very relevant at the time, although I’m not somebody that believes that training is the be all and end all. It is a slightly clearer pathway into the profession.
What has been your favourite part/play/production etc?
Death of a Salesman is my favourite play and I was lucky enough to do it on tour with the great Roy Barraclough. Roy was known for his partnership with Les Dawson in the Cissie and Ada sketches (below) but he was a superb actor. I remember him hugging me on stage, saying ‘where did it all go wrong for Biff’, I would see tears fall from his face and bounce on the dusty stage below and I remember thinking, ‘I never want this moment to end’.
What has been the most wonderful thing you’ve seen on the pub theatre circuit?
Cardiff has a fairly new pub theatre called The Other Room, which has taken the city by storm and has developed some great new writers and directors. One of their early shows was Blackbird (below) by David Harrower, directed by Rupert Hands. Enjoyed it enormously.
Pub theatre is having something of a renaissance. Why do think this is?
In London, I think it’s because the West End is so overcrowded with musicals that good quality drama is not as easy to find as it used to be and also the cost can be somewhat prohibitive. So many of the new wave of playwrights, write plays that really suit the intimate setting that most pub venues give.
Where would you like to be in ten years time?
Tell us something about yourself that nobody else would know?
I think I’m genuinely naughty! Difficult to define what I mean, but I like to be a little daring and do things that I know most people will ‘tut tut’ at. I suppose it’s a bit like being that naughty child that winds everybody up but you can’t help liking them.
What is the song that most moves you?
Anything by Antony and the Johnsons (below) moves me; every song is about a struggle and Antony Hegarty ( now known as Anohni) really inhabits them and tears at your soul. I had a friend who was dying and the song Another World came on – the lyrics: - I need another world, cus this one is nearly over, I’m going to miss the sun, I’m going to miss the animals, I’m going to miss you all. It blasted me right between the eyes but ultimately helped me to come to terms with our loss.
Musical, comedy, drama? What would you choose?
I Love drama but comedy is probably my favourite, both as an actor and director. It’s where I’ve had most success and for me it’s the most difficult and to that end, most rewarding.
The crime you would carry out if you could get away with it?
Kidnapping Trump and keeping him locked up for the next decade.
The happiest moment of your life?
Outside of getting married and having children, probably Liverpool winning the European Cup in 2005
The saddest moment of your life?
The death of loved ones is obviously up there but outside of that, I’m fortunate to say that I’ve not really experienced real sadness, I know it will come at some point and I’m not looking forward to it but I’m thankful that it’s taken this long to experience it. I was beside myself when Kinnock lost the election but we get over these things!
What historical figures would you invite to a dinner party?
William Shakespeare, Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Edward De Vere, William Stanley. Topic – Now which one of you wrote these bloody plays eh?
How would you like to be remembered?
That lovely naughty man.
GRAV directed by Peter Doran, is at The Hope Theatre, Islington, 17, 18, 24 & 25 Mar 2019
Gareth J Bale reprises the role of ‘Grav’ in this remarkable one-man show exploring the life and times of one of Wales’ most loved sons, Ray Gravell.
Whether you are a Rugby fan or not, only the hardest of hearts would fail to enjoy this production…
@February 2019 London Pub Theatres Company Limited
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