What attracted you to the role of Sidney Bruhl?
An opportunity to play a genuinely evil character in a comedy homage to the thriller genre isn’t something that comes an actor’s way every day. It was a challenge I couldn’t refuse. And I’d always wanted to work at Salisbury and I’d always wanted to work with our director, Adam Penford, so it was a no-brainer really.
What do you think are the biggest challenges of playing this part?
Striking the balance (walking the tightrope – whatever the expression is) between horrifying an audience and making them laugh. It’s also physically quite demanding – there’s a fair bit of action and I’m not so young as I was.
What do you do to prepare before rehearsals begin?
Read the script (a lot). Think about it (a lot). Adam also asked if we could learn certain sections before rehearsals started to free us up for some of the livelier sequences. I also started training my mouth to wrap itself around some of the more tricky American vowel sounds.
How do you find working on fight sequences – have you had to do much stage combat in previous productions?
I’ve done a fair amount of stage fighting of the swash and buckle variety though, to be honest, most of it was quite a few years ago, so I was quite rusty at the beginning of rehearsals. We were really very fortunate to have an absolutely brilliant fight director in Rachel Bown-Williams, who through a combination of inexhaustible patience and steely determination got what she wanted out of us (swash and buckle it ain’t). It was (and is) a very satisfying process, building up the complexity and intensity of the fights with each rehearsal and one I found very enjoyable.
How would you describe Sidney in five words?
Egomaniacal. Amoral. Repressed. Witty. Pathetic.
Deathtrap runs in the Main House at Salisbury Playhouse from Thursday 4 to Saturday 27 February 2016. For tickets or more information please contact the Ticket Office on 01722 320333 or visit the website.