Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Live shows still hold a thrill for Yorkshire lad

COMARK Curry has a passion for theatre which is infectious.

COMARK Curry has a passion for theatre which is infectious.

The Yorkshire-born actor may have made his name presenting various TV shows in the Eighties and beyond but it is acting which is his first love.

His interest was piqued at a young age when he would spend his holidays to Butlins sat in the theatres watching the actors ply their trade rather than running outside, enjoying the sunshine.

He said: “They had a rep company doing plays in the theatre so I used to go to the theatre and veryone else would be swimming and outdoors. My mum and my brother used to say to me ‘what are you doing?’ But I just loved it.

“I managed to get on TV on Junior Showtime. It was singing and dancing and presenting and I could not wait to get to the studio. I would rather have been there than at school. Forty years later the passion is still there.

“I love the live feeling you get. You are telling a story in one night. For two hours you go on a journey and tell this story and the audience comes with you.

“There is something about live theatre which is timeless. The audience walks in and then walks out having shared something with you.”

Any kid who grew up in the Eighties will remember Curry as a presenter of several of the popular children’s programmes including Blue Peter, Get Set For Summer and Record Breakers.

Alongside his presenting projects he appeared in several West End and touring productions including several Alan Ayckbourn plays at the Theatre Royal Windsor and three consecutive seasons at the Mill at Sonning.

Indeed he is just coming to the end of a three-month stint the lead character in Ray Cooney’s Out of Order at the Mill. Playing Richard Willey MP by night and rehearsing for his role as Dr Armstrong in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None by day.

Rehearsals and having to learn a second script meant Christmas was a busy one for Curry, who admits this is the first time he has had such an overlap.

The 53-year-old said: “I really just lived in the moment. So I just do what I am doing at that moment and try not to think about the other play.

“The main worry is all the logistics of it, the travelling and ‘will I get to Sonning on time’ and that kind of stuff. It [learning two scripts] can be done you just have to train your mind. The part in the Agatha Christie play is completely different.”

Curry admits the switch from comedy to more dramatic productions was once a difficult one but now he relishes in the audience reaction. He explained: “I remember when I did The Woman in Black in the West End. It was my first serious drama and I remember saying it’s going to be strange not having the laughs.

“An actor friend of mine said to me feeling an audience being scared or feeling an audience listening to you is as big a reaction as getting the laughs.”

In And Then There Were None, Dr Armstrong is one of seven people stranded on an island where a murder has been committed.

Curry added: “It is like looking at a piece of British history. When you watch Agatha Christie now it is looking back to a different time, like Downton Abbey.

“The language is so different and the world she writes about is very proper. The characters are well-dressed and glamorous.

“I have just read the novel and it is a really great read.”

Curry says he looks forward to exploring new towns and theatres during the eight-month tour of the production, saying every first night in a new venue is like the first night all over again.

He plans to take just one week off, in May, when he will pursue his other passion in life, tennis. Curry will act as MC for the Aegon classic pre-Wimbledon women’s tournament in Edgbaston.

He confesses it is the only sport he follows and, had it not been for a late start — Curry only began playing himself once he reached his teens — he would have relished the chance to play professionally.

“Where I grew up in West Yorkshire none played tennis for some reason I loved watching it. I play a pretty good game now. I have a home in Mijas, Costa del Sol, where I can play tennis without it getting rained off!”

l Mark is joined by Paul Nicholas, Colin Buchanan, Susan Penhaligon, Verity Rushworth, Frazer Hines and Ben Nealon in the 125th anniversary production of And Then There Were None.

The show runs at the Theatre Royal Windsor until January 24. Tickets available at the box office online at www.theatreroyal or 01753 853888.

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