The Marlowe
Food for thought (and not just Black Jack sweets!)

Food for thought (and not just Black Jack sweets!)

Ahead of the highly-anticipated visit by Papatango Theatre Company’s Shook, we speak with three of the cast about the production. In Samuel Bailey’s play about the young men society shuts away, Andrea Hall plays Grace, Josh Finan is Cain and Ivan Oyik is Riyad.

What can audiences expect from Shook?
Andrea: To be entertained, to laugh and to maybe even shed a tear. Hopefully, if they have never given a second thought to the themes in the play, Shook will give them something to think about long after they have left the theatre.

Josh: They can expect a play which presents a surprisingly funny insight into a perhaps unfamiliar world and which has a great amount of respect for its subjects and subject matter.

Ivan: They can expect a rollercoaster of emotions from happiness to laughter to sadness. A play that makes you reflect on society right now and how we view people in the system and whether we see them as humans or as what the environment they are in defines them as. Overall expect a great experience.

How does it feel to be originating your roles in this new play?

Andrea: It feels like a huge privilege as it is such a brilliant play by a very talented new playwright and has been so well received by audiences so far.

Josh: It has been a real privilege to take these brilliant words off the page for the first time. Sam is a very talented and generous writer and I really respect his attention to honing some of the different geographical vernacular based on which actor was playing the parts.

Ivan: For me personally it’s such an honour to be able to bring to life a character that I have loved from the moment I read the play. He’s so close to home and a character that you don’t really get the chance to play as often as you want. Just knowing that from now on anyone that plays Riyad will be able to associate it with me just brings joy to me.

Shook is incredibly funny but has quite serious themes – how did you find balancing the two?
Andrea: Sam’s script is so brilliant that the humour never feels like it’s there at the expense of those serious themes. George [Turvey]’s direction has complimented Sam’s script by knowing when to foreground the humour and when to highlight the characters’ vulnerability.

Josh: It’s certainly a challenge to pitch it right every night but we are aided by a very sensitive and clever text which does most of the hard work for you!

Ivan: By just understanding the play and also the work myself and my fellow cast have put in to be able to make sure all those moments are given the truest feelings possible. They can only hit home if we stay true to it all.

What are you most looking forward to about touring?
Andrea: Seeing how the different audiences respond to the show and being able to tell this important story to more people.

Josh: I’m excited to have an excuse visit a few places I’ve always wanted to go to but I’m particularly looking forward to performing back home in Liverpool. I think my mum has literally booked all of the tickets…

Ivan: Seeing how other city’s outside of London take the play. However I’d love to believe that this play can be seen as universal for all to understand and take the most from it.

What is one thing you have in common with your character?
Andrea: Believing that it is possible for people to overcome difficult circumstances if they have the right help and support.

Josh: The need to use humour to feel comfortable – and a penchant for Black Jack sweets!

Ivan: The hope that Riyad has for himself and others. We both love to make sure that everyone can aim to be the best that they can be regardless of their circumstances.

Shook: Wednesday 4 to Saturday 7 December.