The young, handsome and modest – Peter Polycarpou talks about starring in INDECENT at the Menier Chocolate Factory and how “bad acting makes me cringe”

Hello and thank you for taking time out to talk to us today at West End Wilma.

What have been some of your highlights in your career so far?
Follies at The Royal Albert Hall. Working alongside Christine Baransky. Sweeney Todd and working with Imelda Staunton…working with Jonathan Pryce four times and each time has been a blast…and the evening I did at the GARRICK Theatre called The Songs Of My Life. There are so many it’s hard to single out these…

What is your current show about and what attracted you to the part you are playing?
It tells the story of another play called The God Of Vengeance by Sholem Asch. A groundbreaking play which was banned for being Indecent after playing only a few performances on Broadway. the actors were all arrested, though not the writer and they were found guilty of “presenting an “Indecent, Obscene and Immoral Play.”

What West End show would you like to see make a comeback and why?
I’d like to see an updated version of Kiss Of The Spiderwoman. I’d also like to see A Most Happy Fella in The West End and from Broadway, I would love to see The Bands Visit.

If I asked your friends to describe you in three words, what would they be?
Young, Handsome and modest.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Thinking I was supposed to be onstage when the orchestra were playing when I was still putting my clothes on running down the stairs because I though I’d missed my cue. It was in fact a joke played on me by the lovely Jane Salberg.

What are your thoughts on theatre etiquette? What things annoy you when you are performing or when you are in the audience?
I think that mobile phones shouldn’t be taken into the theatre. People keep them on and their screens are bright and intrusive to performers…people also don’t care about making a noise when they eat and this can not only spoil it for the people siting next to them but it’s also very off-putting to hear the unwrapping of a sweet wrapper when you’re trying to stay in character. Bad acting makes me cringe when I see it. Actors who fluff lines don’t really bother me but actors who can’t either sing or act in leading roles do.

We are living in a time where films are often being turned into stage plays and musicals. If you had to choose one, what film would you like to see adapted to the stage?
It’s a Wonderful Life would probably make a good musical if the music was right. I also think I’ll probably be shot for saying so…

If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what theatre role would you love to have a go at playing?
Oh that’s an easy one. I’d love to play Mama Rose in Gypsy or Dolly in Hello Dolly.

If you won the lottery and could stage one theatre show of your choice, what would you choose and who would be your dream cast?
I’d put on Death Of A Salesman and cast myself as Willy Loman. I’d have Linda Marlowe playing my wife. My two sons would be played by Philip Arditti and Tom Brooke. I’d have Nina Gold to cast the rest of it.

Why do you think people should come and see your show?
Primarily it’s the quality of the writing by Paula Vogel and the fact that it’s a play about another play that had all the actors in it being arrested for presenting an “Indecent, Obscene and Immoral Play.” The music is also a hugely important factor. It’s all Kletzmer influenced and comes from a tradition of Yiddish Theatre in which musicians are accompany the storytelling. The fact that the director Rebecca Taichman is directing it here in London and she won a Tony for directing it on Broadway, is also a key factor in me accepting the challenge of playing at least five or six different characters during the course of the evening and why the audiences will see something rather special.

Photo: Johan Persson