First produced over 20 years ago in Australia, Faulty Towers the Dining Experience has sold out in places like Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Sydney Opera House. The show returns to the Civic, where it made its Irish Premiere in June 2009. We got chance to get to know the cast a bit better! Last but by no means least it’s James Heatlie who plays Manuel.
Can you tell us a little but about your background and where you grew up?
I grew up Canterbury in Kent and while at school had a wide range of interests including music, performing arts and various sports and outdoor activities. I took part in The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme which is where my love of hiking and camping developed. Through various school trips I also discovered that I liked travelling and visiting new places and seeing different cultures.
Tell us about your background in performing?
At school I was more involved in music than drama and and chose the former when picking GCSE subjects as back then you weren’t allowed to have a syllabus weighted too heavily on the arts! I then took Music for A level as well but performed in a couple of school shows including ‘Macbeth’ where I played Ross. Drama then took a back seat as I mistakenly thought that drama school was something that you had to do right off the bat as soon as you left school, so I went to university and studied something else. After university I decided to train as a stuntman for several years until I realised that I actually wanted to be an actor and that I was at the perfect age (for me) to go to drama school. I’ve been doing it ever since.
What has been your career highlight to date?
I think quite possibly the job I had just prior to coming here. I was on tour with a production of ‘Macbeth’ and as a part of the tour we were performing in Dublin at The Bord Gais Energy Theatre. I was playing both Banquo and The Porter and understudying Macbeth up until the point the actor playing Macbeth had to leave the tour at short notice. I was then on stage as Macbeth and got to perform the full week in Dublin to over eight thousand people and then the rest of the tour. Although sometimes stressful it was an amazing experience to take on such a great leading role and definitely one that has enabled me to grow as an actor. One of the things I love about my job however is that although Macbeth is an incredible character to play and I love performing drama, I also love comedy and now get to perform as Manuel who is another kind of incredible altogether. Yes, I love my job.
What can audiences expect from the show?
Without spoiling any surprises I think the audience can expect to be welcomed with a combination of open arms, distain and confusion and then be well looked after….
What other TV comedy shows do you enjoy?
I’m a big fan of the series ‘Spaced’ written by Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes and love that style of comedy. If you like ‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Hot Fuzz’ or ‘Paul’ and you haven’t seen ‘Spaced’ then you need to go watch it as it’s where it all started.
Faulty Towers the Dining Experience
Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 April