Oliver master of quick change in Worthing's Gangsta Granny
If there's a certain similarity between the doctor, the teacher, the judge, the truck driver and a number of other characters besides, it's easily explained.
They are all played by Oliver Hume as cabbage-crunching criminal mastermind Gangsta Granny heads towards Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre (April 20-22).
Gangsta Granny is the story of Ben and his grandmother. It’s Friday night and Ben knows that means only one thing – staying with Granny.
It is the dullest of prospects, he fears.
There will be cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake and Ben knows one thing for sure – it’s going to be so boring...
But what Ben doesn’t know is that Granny has a secret – and Friday nights are about to get more exciting than he could ever imagine as he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime with his very own Gangsta Granny…
Filling in plenty of the characters they meet along the way is Oliver.
“I am new to the show and to this company for this year. When the job came up, I just thought it looked interesting, and it has been great.
“It has been really interesting. I am multi-roling, playing a lot of tiny parts which are all quite memorable, and that is really good fun to do. It is a different perspective.
“If you playing a major role, if you were playing Ben for instance, there would be a lot of pressure.
“But playing all these roles means that you can really enjoy them. It’s just part of the job, really.
“I have done multi-roling in the past. You just have to shift and try to make the differences between the characters.
“My teacher is quite friendly and Welsh; my policeman is quite strong and London-ish. I have got about ten different roles, and I am changing all the time.”
Fortunately, he has lost his bear, though.
“There was one change that was going to be really, really quite tight. I had to go as out a bear, get out of a bear costume and then go on as a Russian solider. We just said it was crazy, and fortunately there was a spare member of the cast who could play the bear.
“So I have lost my bear! Obviously, I am deeply upset, but it makes it easier!”
For Oliver, part of the attraction is that the show is genuinely family theatre rather than simply children’s theatre.
“You know the children are going to love it and you know the parents are going to love it too, but you see them coming in and sitting down and you know they are thinking they are going to be bored for a couple of hours, and then you sense their delight when they realise just how much they really are actually enjoying it, when they realise that it is actually great fun!
“I think that reflects (Neal Foster’s) direction. He has kept saying that yes, it has got to be fun, but also there has got to be an honesty about it, a truth about it.
“The characters have also got to be quite real.
“There is something that is quite real about this grandmother who is prepared to steal the Crown Jewels!
“If there is a message, I think it is that we are too quick to dismiss the older generation and that we need to realise that the older generation has got something to offer. We have all been rehearsing it and thinking ‘Oh! I really must go and phone my mum!’’”
Tickets to see Gangsta Granny in Worthing are available from the Worthing Theatres box office on 01903 206206 and online at worthingtheatres.co.uk.
Also by Phil: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2