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...
Robert Bathurst starred in Blithe Spirit at Apollo Theatre.
Date of Birth?
Place of birth?
Accra, West Africa
Did you go to training school, if so which one?
No formal training but I put myself (and the accompanist) through some tough singing lessons with the renowned tutor Ian Adam, not for musical theatre but just to learn how to breathe.
Briefly tell us how you became involved with Blithe Spirit?
I was playing Garry Essendine in Present Laughter at Bath and heard that the producer Danny Moar was plotting a production of Blithe Spirit. So I got onto my agent and the rest, as they say, is mystery.
Briefly tell us about the character you play in Blithe Spirit?
Charles Condomine is an author who needs to research how a spiritualist medium performs a seance. He arranges for an eccentric lady from the village, who claims to have psychic powers, to conduct a session in his house, but he gets a lot more than he bargained for.
Your first stage performance?
Amateur: 3rd Shepherd, school nativity. Holy Child Convent, Killiney Co Dublin 1962. Professional: Tim in Noises Off at the Savoy Theatre, 1983
Career highlight to date?
"Cold Feet" I suppose. "Hattie" recently went well.
What roles would you most like to play?
I never do wishlists, the word 'hubris' hangs over them. I'll do anything I feel could engage an audience.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
The actor Michael Bryant bawled me out about diction and posture, I'm grateful to him; Bob Spiers the TV director of "Joking Apart" didn't like discussing motivation and stuff like that, he once snapped "Oh just learn your lines and make it funny", which actually is all you need to know to do a sitcom.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage/TV?
If things go wrong there's no need to be embarrassed. Forgetting lines is ghastly when it happens and your temples throb a bit, but I've had to stop shows about six times because of incidents, like fight in the stalls, technical problems, people collapsing or, most recently, a chair on casters rolling from the stage into the orchestra pit.
What is the most annoying part about your job?
It's not that annoying but people often assume you are like the parts you play. It's only make-believe.
If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
I was a law student a long long time ago so, in the words of EL Wisty: I could've been a judge.
Favourite after-show haunts
On tour I like to find a snooker hall.
Who are your favourite actors/actresses
Lots: anyone who doesn't make me wince.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
My parents are dead. I'd like to say "let's go for a cup o' tea."
What was the last book you read, and name some of your favourite authors?
I occasionally write book reviews for a magazine, they give me showbiz titles usually. Last week's was "Possessed" by Donald Spoto, a life of the movie star Joan Crawford. It's an attempt to restore her reputation so damaged by tales of her flawed parenting skills in "Mommie Dearest". My current crush is the poet Edward Thomas.
What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favourite movies?
Two most recent: "True Grit" made by the performance of Hailee Steinfield. and "Winter's Bone". Favourite films: "King of Comedy", "My Life As A Dog" and, of course, "Where Eagles Dare".
Favourite TV programs?
"Family Guy" Channel 4's "The Morning Line" "An Englishman Abroad" by Alan Bennett. "The Sky At Night"
Favourite holiday destinations?
Morocco and the Dorset coast.
Do you have any hobbies?
Cricket, jump racing, cycling, failing vegetable gardener.
Do you have any superstitions?
I like to think not but there are a couple of ones creeping in that are a bit sad for publication.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
My penknife, walking boots and Ray Mears.
What are your future plans?
To feel lucky to be alive, til the luck runs out.