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Next up: I will be featuring in the short films Dark & Stormy and Belfast Caliber 9.

4 Jan 2017

Past Work: Romancing the Score at the Pentameters Theatre Hampstead (2015)

One of the stage productions I had been part of in London that I didn't produce myself was Romancing the Score in the quaint little Pentameters Theatre in Hampstead. The comedy was written by Armagh writer Shane White, about a group of no-hopers who represented a small Belfast pub in a local 5-a-side league.
Rehearsal shot of Romancing the Score. L-R: Myself, Damien Regan, Jon Adams, James Anthony, Mark Moore

In the eyes of my character, Brian the inspirational (!) team captain, the pub team represented everything that was pure about a traditional pub, "with none of the modern trappings like warmth and comfort," against the rising tide of hipster bars and gastro pubs. It's a viewpoint I have sympathy for - there's too much emphasis placed on decorating pub interiors with gimmicky furniture than actually getting a good atmosphere in the place, just so they can justify astronomical beer prices! I'm not sure I agree with his assertion that there shouldn't be any craft beers though!
The character was supposed to be in his forties, so I had to age up - so obviously I grew out a moustache! Part of the reason was that I remember being in an airport and knowing which gate it was to get me back to Belfast by seeing the one with all the men with moustaches! 

Dress rehearsal: L-R Maura Judges, myself, Damian Regan, Jon Adams, James Anthony, Mark Moore

The director was the ever-striving John Dunne, whose output is extraordinary - he directs and often writes up to ten plays per year. Never letting setbacks effect him, he still manages to meet all deadlines and put productions on in the face of adversity. He lets actors breathe into roles and allows creative expression to thrive. He currently directs and produces theatre for London Irish Theatre

His relationship with the producer, Leonie Scott-Matthews, who owns the Pentameters has been a fruitful one, with the two working together on numerous occasions. Leonie is a bundle of energy which belies the fact she has been running the theatre for nearly 50 years. She introduces every performance of every play in the theatre and has maintained a thoroughly unique space among the gentrification of Hamstead. Her dog was often a guest on stage during rehearsals, which lead to many literal trip ups on stage as we had to step over him at times!

Full cast, Romancing the Score
(back row l-r): Karen Lane, Maura Judges, Paulina Peters, James Antony, Damian Regan, Victoria Armstrong
(front row l-r): Mark Moore, James McAnespy, Jon Adams
The cast were great craic to work with as well, which was good, because we had to trundle up through January rush hours to get to rehearsals on the Northern Line, and feel the bite of the wind off the Heath!
Paulina Peters, who played my love interest has worked with John on numerous occasions, and was not afraid to bring out her characters more outrageous tendancies! Maura Judges, who is based in Birmingham but travelled to London every week is a retired school teacher who continues to act in a variety of d screen productions. James Anthony, a Derry man (one of two in the cast!), took his character's love for conspiracy theories and applied his own love of conspiracy action films like the Bourne trilogy to round out his character. Jon Adams, a Yorkshireman could perform a note-prefect Northern Irish accent - to the extent that it shocked me when he went back to speaking in his own voice! Damian Regan joined the cast late but brought a great lived-in world-weariness to the character of the love-lorn barman. Mark Moore (the other Derry man) worked with John again in his next production, and his character introduced us all to the uniquely Derry affliction of eating spoiled food and ending up  struck down by 'E Colly'. Victoria Armstrong played a journalist and the narrator and her performance was singled out in numerous reviews for praise.

This is the introduction to my character - as you can see he was passionate about his football, and cheating refs!
  

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