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20 Questions with ... Will Adamsdale

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Actor and comedian Will Adamsdale is about to appear in Detroit, which begins previews at the National Theatre this week (8 May 2012, opens 15 May).

Adamsdale’s theatre credits include The Receipt, a collaboration with sonic artist Chris Branch and Jackson’s Way, a one-man show which won the Perrier Award for Comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2004.

Date & place of birth?
4 May 1974. Hereford.

Lives now in?

What made you want to become an actor?
Doing school plays -  being allowed to stay out late to do them and to rehearse. And sometimes there were girls in them from girls schools nearby.

If you hadn’t become an actor, what might you have done professionally?
Maybe a painter.

First big break?
I did a show I had written called Jackson's Way at the fringe in 2004 which - with a lot of luck- became successful in a niche sort of way.

Career highlights to date?
My "career" has been a bit strange. I sort of became a comedian halfway through it by mistake. But now I'm back on track.

Favourite co-stars?
Gosh, I've been doing a lot of one man shows recently ...what are co-stars? My friend and collaborator Chris Branch (composer) with whom I wrote The Receipt is probably my favourite co-star. He cracks me up. and Ed Gaughan (star of  Skeletons) is a comedy inferno. Philip Seymour Hoffman was OK too.

Favourite writers?
Richard Brautigan, Raymond Carver, Jack Kerouac, Hemingway's short stories, Charles Bukowski's poems, Tennessee Williams (particularly his lovely stage directions). I recently read Ragtime by EL Doctorow - brilliant.

What was the first thing you saw on stage that had a big impact on you?
Peter Pan.

And the last?
Spymonkey's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at Latitude.

What's the best advice you have ever received?
Try and be nice to all the people you meet.

Favourite film?
Bottle Rocket (Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson's first film).

Favourite holiday destination?
Isle of Wight.

Are there any parts you would particularly like to play?
For a while I wanted to play Tom in The Glass Menagerie but I'm a bit past it. Glass Menagerie 2?

Whose career would you most like to emulate?
I'm OK just seeing where this one goes.

What's Detroit about?
It's about how people encounter each other randomly, need each other and change each other . It's like a chemical experiment in which you have a view through the play's microscope of the petri dish of some mid-western town's outer ring suburbs.

What’s your favourite line in the show?
"We don't have a dog"

Were you familiar with Steppenwolf before?
Not too much. I know John Malcovich started there. They sound quite an outfit.

How are you finding working at the National?
It's exciting to be working here. They really look after you!

What have you got lined up next?
I've got one or two shows in development. One is about a procrastinating 30-something writer (me) who finds a Victorian man living in his wall. Also, I'm getting married. 


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