You have performed in some amazing shows so far in your career. What have been some of your highlights?
First of all, thank you for the tea. Just the way I like it. And yeah, I guess I’ve been very fortunate to have had a very varied start to my career. Two highlights really stick out; getting to work with Andrew Scott at the National Theatre. I was just out of RWCMD and to get to work so closely with Andrew was a joy to behold. He has a very magical quality about him. Dangerous, spontaneous, charismatic. I always try to emulate his approach when I work.
My second highlight would be the whole experience of Macbeth. My role, the directors Ken Branagh & Rob Ashford, the hard-working company – opening that mammoth play in a derelict church in Manchester – and then the Broadway transfer the following year. It became a surprising, never-ending gift.
You are about to star in Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde at The Bunker Theatre. What is the show about and what attracted you to the part you are playing?
Well, you’re half right. This is a modern reimagining, we’ve updated the setting and the characters in a fantastic & brave version by our director Max Gill. I think our version has managed to keep the lure of the original. The darkness. The temperature. It’s about desire, fundamentally, and using the modern backdrop of 2017 London, we bring all those themes, questions, ideas right to the foreground. It’s hard hitting, fantastical, funny and of course sexual.
As far as the ‘part’ – the beauty (or you could say madness) of our version, is that Max Gill has challenged the cast to have all the roles learnt! All 10 of them. We will be spinning the wheel of fortune every night – playing a very big game of risk with the characters & genders. It sounds bonkers and, well, that’s because it is.
We loved you in BBC smash hit Versailles recently! Does it make a nice change to be on stage rather than in front of the camera? Which do you prefer?
Oh god – stage stage stage. All the way. I find television less rewarding. TV requires a different approach within the same craft, a different discipline if you will – but my heart will & always has been on stage. Long may that continue.
Who are your biggest inspirations in the theatre industry and why?
Ken Branagh. Getting to work so closely with him on Macbeth, seeing how he approaches acting, directing & the text. He is inspirational because of his work ethic. Spinning so many plates and making it look effortless. I am glad to have met him, worked with him and call him a friend. I hope our paths will cross again.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
By rituals you mean a good green room cast gossip, right?
If I asked your friends to describe you in three words, what would they be?
Conscientious. Driven. Creative.
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Not realising I had fractured a rib during ‘Emperor and Galilean’ on the Olivier Stage and struggling to get to my feet during a scene change while the drum revolved around slowly, me lying in the same foetal position. Crippled, with pain & embarrassment.
What are your thoughts on theatre etiquette?
I am a firm believer in tradition. We have a deep rooted, passionate theatrical history in the UK – I am very proud of the etiquette & rules that are in place. Don’t fix what’s not broken, right?
What things annoy you when you are performing or when you are in the audience?
Coughing. If I’m in the audience, or on stage – I have no time for it! None. Hha! For La Ronde, in order to prevent this I plan on handing out strepsils like Falstaff.
Apart from acting, what is your biggest passion?
My fiancée, my cat Astrid, Manchester United & WWE Wrestling. In that order.
Why do you think people should come and see La Ronde at The Bunker Theatre?
No night will be the same. Ever. With a vibrant, talented & committed young company of actors. That’s a rare & rather alluring idea that should tempt the average theatre goer or a chancer wanting a night they’ll never forget.
Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
Interview by Rosie Bambury
LA RONDE plays at The Bunker 11 February 2017 – 11t March 2017
Click here to see who else has been having Tea With Wilma