Birmingham Stage Company

A Horrible Future

13 March 2006

One of the biggest decisions I seem to have made this year is to appear as Dr Dee in the next tour of HORRIBLE HISTORIES. It will be the first time I've gone on one of our national tours, something that has always seemed impossible because of running the company. But I have always loved appearing in our shows for children and indeed some of the happiest times of my theatrical life were in FANTASTIC MR FOX, GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE and THE BFG. Apart from plays for children, modern theatre provides few opportunities for actors to be larger than life, to be a grotesque, to be silly. HORRIBLE HISTORIES is an opportunity to explore all three!

As it happens, I spoke to Mr Dahl once on the phone when I was fifteen. (At that time, before the age of celebrity had dawned, you could find almost anyone’s telephone number in Who’s Who). Unfortunately I asked to speak to Ronald Dahl and the man on the other end was quite clear that no-one of that name lived at that address. Even when I checked the number, the voice at the end was adamant that there no-one called Ronald Dahl at this number. There’s a Roald Dahl living here he offered pointedly. When I acknowledged my embarrassed mistake and asked if I could speak to Roald Dahl, the same man didn’t miss a beat: Speaking!

I was able to play Grandma again when we visited Dubai with GEORGE’ SMARVELLOUS MEDICINE but since 1997 all our plays for children have enjoyed long tours which have
prevented me taking part. So the relatively short twelve week tour of HORRIBLE HISTORIES starting in June is the first opportunity that I’ve had to consider a show for
children and I’ve jumped!

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