Interview with Andrew Still
This week fans of Trainspotting will get the opportunity to see it performed live in Southampton ahead of its London run. I caught up with Andrew who plays Sick Boy to ask a few questions about what this show means to him and which three guests he’d invite to his dinner party.
Glasgow-born Andrew Still shot to fame when he was just 17 and was cast as Joel Dexter in Hollyoaks (winning a Sunday Mail Young Scot Award). He spent 18 months in the soap and its darker offshoot, Hollyoaks Later. In Waterloo Road he played Scott Fairchild, a pupil with multiple exclusions from other schools. He also appeared in the BBC Three comedy Fried, the National Theatre Of Scotland trilogy The James Plays and most recently co-starred with Laurence Fox in a UK tour of The Real Thing.
You are taking on a challenging role in Trainspotting, tell me about your journey and how you approach it?
It was important for me to go back to the source material when preparing for Sick Boy. Johnny Lee Miller is one of my favourite actors and created such an iconic character in his performances but I was keen to bring my own take to it. So I went back to Irvine Welsh’s novel and spent a lot of time annotating and figuring out what his relationships were to each character in the story, his thoughts and views and the impressions he makes on the people around him and us as a reader. I wanted to help convey that in my performance. One of the really helpful things in the book is that because its written in the first person from all the character’s perspective, I could get a real insight in the inner thoughts of Sick Boy. It was a real pleasure.
Trainspotting is such an iconic novel & film, now a play – what’s your first memories of it and how did it move you?
Growing up in Scotland I think Trainspotting is part of our national culture. It’s grim and brutal but also really funny and poignant. I don’t want to speak for every Scottish person but certainly for myself, there is so much to relate too within it, especially as a young Scottish man. I can’t remember a first memory, it seems like it’s always been there but I do remember in school, people talking about it in hushed tones. One of those movies that your mum wouldn’t let you watch until you were old enough. I love the movie. I still think it’s one of my favourites. It brings up a range of emotions and I think it’s still incredibly relevant today.
It’s an important political story too which is a factor I think gets overlooked often. It shows the effect that politically induced poverty can create and I think that’s really relevant for today.
We know you from the TV roles so which do you prefer TV or Theatre?
I like both for different reasons but I think I enjoy the time you’re allowed with theatre to develop and change the performance as you find new things. Television is so quick that sometimes you’re going so fast that you forget to take it all in. Although that pace and doing something new everyday is incredibly fun and rewarding.
What’s the best thing about performing?
When you’re totally in the moment and you feel that connection with the other Actors and the audience.
Do you remember when you decided you wanted to act?
I’ve always wanted to be an actor, I’ve been doing youth theatre and performing in shows since I was 5. It’s always been my passion. I think the first time I felt like it was a dream that was attainable was when I saw NTS’s ‘Black Watch’. That show lit a fire in me.
What’s the best thing you’ve seen recently?
I’ve been touring since last summer so it’s been longer than I’d like since I’ve had a chance to see much. I saw Bold Girls by Rona Munro at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow which I really enjoyed, I’m a big fan of Rona’s work. I’m desperate to see The Birthday Party at the Pinter theatre, hopefully get a chance to see that soon!
You are currently on tour, what do you enjoy most about touring?
I think the best thing about touring is getting the chance to see the country. I like to travel around and experience different places as much as possible. I’ve been lucky that over the past couple of years I’ve been to venues all over the Uk. It gives you a real feel of what makes each area unique, it’s incredibly diverse over such a relatively small island and I think that’s really special.
It sounds really gritty already but the fact that they are opening a tunnel especially for it’s run at the Vaults is particularly exciting – What’s going to be the biggest change to fit this new London run?
I think like with all location-based theatre, it adds so much immersion to the story. The audience really fall in love with it and feel part of the action in a way that you struggle to get in a traditional theatre space. In previous years, the cast have performed in The Vaults so they have an idea of what it’ll be like and the show has been worked for the space. I think for me personally, it’ll add a lot to the feel of the show. It helps being surrounded in that kind of environment for the energy of the show.
Tell my readers why you think they should come and see the show?
I think the show is a really special experience. If you’re a fan of the book and movie or even if you’ve never seen Trainspotting before. The show stands alone as a really relevant, exciting, fun and meaningful piece of theatre.
My usual three quirky questions:
If you could go back in time when would you go back to and why?
I’m really interested in history, especially the classical period so I reckon I’d head back to Ancient Greece and check that out.
Choose three dinner party guests dead or alive who would you invite and what would the theme be?
David Attenborough, Patrick Stewart and William Shakespeare and the theme would be ‘Taco Tuesday’
If you could be a super hero or have a super power what would it be and why?
Teleportation, because I’d never have to spend any money on travelling.
The King’s Head Theatre and In Your Face Theatre
production presented by James Seabright
based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, adapted by Harry Gibson
27 March – 20 May 2018
Entrance via Leake Street
Press Night Thursday 29 March at 7.00pm
Thursday 7.00pm & 8.45pm
Friday 7.00pm, 8.45pm & 10.30pm
Saturday 7.0pm, 8.45pm & 10.30pm
Sunday – Thursday – £20, £25, £35
Friday, Saturday nights – £25, £30, £40
Phone bookings: 0333 012 4982
(£3.50 transaction fee applies)
PRE LONDON TOUR
20 – 24 Feb: SOUTHAMPTON Engine Rooms – trainspottinglive.seetickets.com
27 Feb – 3 Mar: CARDIFF Tramshed – trainspottinglive.seetickets.com
6/7 Mar: CAMBERLEY Theatre – www.camberleytheatre.co.uk
9/10 Mar: GRAVESHAM Woodville – www.woodville.co.uk
13 – 17 Mar: LEICESTER Curve – www.curveonline.co.uk