When the Original Theatre Company teamed up with Perfectly Normal Productions o present the first revival of Barnes’ People, a series of four theatrical monologues starring Jon Culshaw, Matthew Kelly, Jemma Redgrave and Adrian Scarborough and directed by Philip Franks and Charlotte Peters they provided more than just something to watch and something in which to work – they provided a beacon shining out through the fog of the pandemic.
While many in the industry have been wondering when they might work again or even IF they might work again, The Original Theatre Company and Perfectly Normal Productions have provided not just work but hope with Barnes’ People which has been running successfully since February 18 and is set to continue until July 31.
We met two of the stars of these productions – Adrian Scarborough and Jemma Redgrave.
Adrian Scarborough stars in True Born Englishman directed by Philip Franks. The story is about Leslie who has been a footman at Buckingham Palace for thirty years, a life of service, a life of discretion and a lifetime of secrets.
“He was a great character to play and to record it at the Windsor Theatre Royal was a great experience,” said Adrian. “I have played many different roles in my time but this was a little different in that Leslie is an ordinary chap in an extraordinary work environment.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a privilege to be involved in something during the difficult year we have had. That is among the perils of being an actor – there are no guarantees. Today you have a great job, tomorrow – well – who knows?”
Adrian does have an escape route though.
“I have a decent garden and I have an allotment and I disappear there when I am not working. I am a family man and they don’t seem to mind when I go off to the allotment for most of the day, actually I think they prefer it! I grow all sorts of things. Gardening is a fascination of mine. When I am not digging, pulling or pushing, I even read about it. Not exclusively of course but growing is a bit of a passion. I can get quite moody if the fruit isn’t yielding properly or the cabbages are not as good as they might be.
“I have other interests of course – like whale watching for instance. I have done a little whale watching when I have been away filming where there are opportunities but I wouldn’t mind to go on a proper whale-watching expedition. They are the most amazing creatures and seem to love to play to an audience – perhaps that’s why I like them!”
Jemma Redgrave stars in and as Rosa, also directed by Philip Franks and totally relates to her character – Dr Rosa Hamilton.
“She is a legend in that she did so much for the health of the elderly and poor in London’s East End,” said Jemma. “It is morally wrong that people should have been so neglected but Rose was tireless in her efforts for them, not just for their health issues but for their general living conditions and they way they were regarded. Sadly there are still people all over the world in need of such a champion as Rosa.
“Sometimes it takes something like the pandemic to give us all a reality check and yet for some it is seen as an inconvenience rather than an opportunity for change.
I don’t know if I would ever have gone into the nursing profession but I do like to help where I can. I think it was pretty clear that I was going to be an actress form the very start. There was no family pressure, it was just a career that I wanted and worked hard for.
“I enjoy my work and my career, I have been places and met people and had experiences that I might not have had. Underneath it all I mostly enjoy a quiet weekend with sunshine and peace, a glass of something and good company.
“With all the pressures that this pandemic has brought there is something to be said for a simple time at home. I don’t like not working though, I enjoy what I do and if there is a quiet spell I can’t wait for the next job to come along. Being at the Windsor Theatre Royal and playing Rosa has been quite brilliant, great to be on stage again and an honour to play such an excellent lady.”