From Fun Home to Waitress, from Next to Normal to Finding Neverland - it's always fun collating the various rumours flying around theatreland. After a very busy...
Michael Xavier starred as 'Oliver Barratt IV' in Love Story at Duchess Theatre
My birthday is on the 27th November.
Place of birth?
Did you go to training school, if so which one?
Acting at Manchester Met.
Briefly tell us how you became involved with Love Story.
I was sent for an audition whilst doing a workshop at The National Theatre. I was asked to read with Emma (Williams) and before the end of the week we did the final audition. One of the producers shook my hand after the audition and said "well done, it's all very exciting". I took that as a good sign but as an actor you learn never to assume anything until you sign the contract!
Briefly tell us about the character of Oliver Barratt you play in Love Story.
Oliver IV is the son of an Olympic rower and lives in the shadow of his successful, rich and sporty father. Their relationship (based around his father's emotional ineptitude) is a very integral part of Love Story. Oliver is a student at Harvard and is the top ice hockey goal scorer. He comes from a wealthy heritage but begins to see life as more of a socialist when he meets Jenny.
Your first stage performance?
My first stage performance was singing 'Walking In The Air' in front of my primary school at the age of about 9. I was so nervous that I remember focusing on the clock at the back of the hall as I didn't want to make eye contact with anyone. My parents sat on the back row because they thought I'd be awful. They sit much closer these days!
Career highlight to date?
I've been so fortunate to have enjoyed every job I've done since starting professionally in 1999. Highlights range from my first West End job in Pageant to singing 'On The Street Where You Live' in My Fair Lady at Drury Lane in front of the Queen (who I later met and chatted to). Love Story is professionally my biggest achievement as it's the first time I have originated a West End leading role.
What roles would you most like to play?
I have always wanted to play Hamlet! It's one of the greatest roles written for a young man. I would also love to play Macbeth. And I'd love to star opposite Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman or Sean Penn in a film.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
"Don't close the door on the things you are good at." (given to me by an acting coach when talking about how I wanted to give up Musicals and just do films).
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
My first job out of College was working as a singer and compere with Robbie Williams' father Pete Conway at a luxury hotel. The sound system crashed on the first night and the boss pushed me out on stage and said "say something". I had no jokes up my sleeve and so I wandered around asking where people had come from. "Who here is from Wales?" Man puts up his hand. Me - "Whereabouts in Wales sir?" Man - "Cardiff" Me - "O.K. Who here is from Scotland?" This went on far too long and is etched horrifically in my memory!
What is the most annoying part about your job?
Absolutely nothing. I love coming to work to perform 'Love Story' every day. I'm very lucky and I know it. Oh, I suppose unemployment is an annoying part of being an actor.
If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
Brain surgery. I reckon it requires an equal amount of talent and concentration.
Favourite after-show haunts
The Ivy Club is a new one for me but they have live music and you just can't beat that!
Who are your favourite actors/actresses
Answered this earlier but, Denzel Washington, Sean Penn, Gary Oldman. But Chiwetel Ejiofor is remarkable on both stage AND screen! Dame Judy Dench, Diane Keaton, Charlize Theron.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
David Cameron: "Please give more money to the Arts and the NHS and get our troops home"
What was the last book you read, and name some of your favourite authors?
I have just finished reading 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak. It's beautifully written and very touching. I'm a big fan of Sebastian Faulks but I love reading autobiographies.
What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favourite movies?
The last film I saw was 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo'. My favourite films are 'Life Is Beautiful', 'Jean De Florette/Manon Des Sources' and 'Schindler's List'.
Favourite TV programs?
Mad Men, 24, The West Wing and This Morning!
Favourite holiday destinations?
Anywhere sunny! I love the Caribbean (Grand Caman, Cancun, St Lucia).
Do you have any hobbies?
Photography. I also love playing the guitar when I get time.
Do you have any superstitions?
No. I create my destiny.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
Guitar, Ipod, Sun tan lotion.
What are your future plans?
I just want to keep acting. It's my life and without it I'm not sure I'd be content. However, I really don't want to be famous, just revered.