Wales-based theatre company, Gurnwah Productions, recently went toured with their show, The Man Whose Hair Grew Black, written by Anthony Bunko and directed by Neil Maidman.
Drawing comparisons with The Goon Show and The Young Ones, the story follows the surreal adventures of Clive the Postman whose appearance sent shock waves through a small Welsh village, triggering a bus load of insanity turning up wearing Jesus sandals, dark shades and in search of answers
Ahead of the company performing the show in Leicester Square Theatre, London on February 1, Andy Howells chats to actor Julian Richards
How did you become involved with Gurnwah Productions?
I first became involved with the company in 2017. My friend Sharon has been with the company for several years and kept telling me how much I would love working with them. I got in touch with Bunko and managed to get a part and went from there.
What other productions/roles have you performed in?
My first role with the company was playing a Nun who patrolled the school in “I have been an Astronaut if it wasn’t for Malachy McAleer” When we reperformed the play again I played the part of Jenkins who was one of the School kids. In our Christmas play “A Gurnwah Carol” I played several roles including a very flamboyant Spice Head and a Siamese twin which in a sense was the Tiny Tim character.
I have worked for Spectacle Theatre and Valley and Vale Theatre company in the past working on Community Theatre projects. The role I was most proud of was playing Martin Sharpe in an adaptation of Nick Hornby’s “Long Way Down” Nick Hornby was involved in the adaptation process and we were funded by the Welsh Government to lead the project on Mental Health. We toured the play around Wales in 2009 for Valley and Vale.
Who are you playing in The Man Whose Hair Grew Black and can you tell us a little bit about your character?
In a “Man whose hair grew black” I play the part of Jules who Is a frustrated actor. In the actual story I play the part of Arthur who Is one of the pub locals determined to uncover what has happened with Clive’s hair. I also play the gossip mongering Jean who is the arch enemy of Mavis Jenkins. I play Travis who Is a member of the secretive organisation called the JFM. I do also play a SS Officer assigned to the Pope…
Technically you could be doing one of many parts in the production, is it difficult to keep changing personas or even keeping track with what everyone else is doing?
Playing multiple roles in such a quick time is what I love about the play. It’s so much fun going from one character to another and can feel completely chaotic but its brilliant fun.
Has the show presented any challenges to yourself or the cast?
For me, the biggest challenge has been having a script in hand, this may seem like an actor dream to have the script in hand but maybe we can become a little reliant on it.
If you could pick your own personal highlight of the show and describe it in just three words what would it be?
Night in Cwmaman
Who do you hope will come and see the show?
I hope people come to see this play as I think it’s a very different Theatre experience to the norm. People will laugh and laugh and laugh.
What else are you working on presently?
I am currently working on a project called Tenby which will be taking place in March 2020.