In a 1984 Observer Magazine feature titled Fear and Loathing In Battersea I was pictured precariously balanced on the rooftop of the then newly opened Gate at The Latchmere (now Theatre 503). Heady stuff, but don't try it at home. The picture was taken by renowned Guardian and Observer photographer Brian Griffin who coaxed me into climbing on the roof of the Latchmere and "relaxing" five stories high on a balustrade.
The opening production at the Latchmere of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was widely praised and transferred soon after to the Fortune Theatre in the West End, with the original cast. It was a real turning point in my career, but it can be difficult to get a perspective on things when they happen fast.
It was at that time that I met Anthony Field, a partner of Theatre Projects and a West End producer in his own right. He helped give me wise advice about being true to your creative instincts. We later re-acquainted ourselves soon after I worked with my wife, Deirdre Gribbin, on a ground-breaking national tour of her violin concerto, Venus Blazing, in 2005.
I asked Tony if he could interview me for my website at that time, and gave him a free hand to explore whatever aspect of my career he cared to. Always supportive, Tony asked questions and interrogated aspects of my career which demonstrated a real understanding of a span of a career, and not just the last production. I learned a lot just by talking to him.
More recently, shortly after leaving Chickenshed in 2021, I asked the journalist Susan Elkin, who amongst many other trade papers wrote for The Stage for many years, and now has her own, widely read blog Sardines. She was a regular attender of most of my work during my five years at Chickenshed and I always found her journalism to be honest, intelligent and even-handed. I asked her if she would give her own perspective on my journey in 2021.
I've put their two pieces together and called it Then and Now. Together, though written twenty years apart, their interviews give some objective insight into a key trajectory in my career.
FEAR AND LOATHING IN BATTERSEA
THEN AND NOW