It was lovely to catch up this week with Nick Lumley who is enjoying being back in Hungerford after almost a year away at the RSC. He was playing six parts in total between two simultaneous productions of Doctor Faustus and Don Quixote (see above), alongside David Threlfall and Rufus Hound. Nick was given an RSC flat in Stratford because the rehearsal schedule meant 80-hour weeks. Every day started with an hour long dancing session to wake up the cast – and being twenty years older than the rest of the cast, Nick was pleased to be able to keep up.
“Age has been kind to me,” reflects Nick. “I’m a bit like Clive Dunn (who in his forties played the doddery Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army). With my whiskers and receded hairline I can play characters in their seventies and eighties. But, as I’m just a sprightly 62, I still have the agility and stamina that actors need to cope with long rehearsal and performance hours.”
Nick’s trademark facial hair can be a liability though when two roles filming simultaneously require different growth. His part in a big feature last year required long whiskers and meant he had to turn down a role as a 1960s judge in Babs, new docu-drama about Barbara Windsor.
After his stint with the RSC, Nick was cast in a Christmas commercial for the Danish Co-op as the lonely old man next door invited in for Christmas (see right). English character actors are often cast in Danish commercials as Danish actors are too recognisable.
He was flown over to Copenhagen for a three-day shoot in October (which involved not only fake snow but a fake moon as well).
November saw Nick popping over to Brussels to play a blind German Nazi sympathiser (speaking English with a German accent) in Where Hands Touch directed by Amma Asanti (who directed Belle) about a black girl hiding in Berlin during World War II. Do keep an eye out for this film which is due out later this year.
Around this time Nick also had a small part in the afore-mentioned high-budget feature film with a chauffeur driven Mercedes picking him up from Hungerford every morning and taking him to either Pinewood or Warner Brothers Studios.
It was lots of fun but Nick is sworn to secrecy and can only reveal details once the film is in the cinemas by Christmas 2017.
In a lower budget yet highly acclaimed indie film Lady Macbeth set in 1840s County Durham, Nick had a small part as a Geordie farmer (see left). The film is due out in cinemas this April.
Nick’s next job is as the villain in a Murder on the Orient Express live theatrical experience, boarding the old Pullman carriages train in Victoria for six hours. It’s hard work improvising for that long but he’s been working with Murder on the Menu for 20 years so he knows what to expect and he knows the other actors very well.
February sees voiceover work as the tour bus for Copenhagen recorded at Oxford – so if you ever visit Copenhagen don’t be surprised if you hear Nick’s voice explaining the sites!
And from the end of February he is starting another role in a big feature film (which again can’t be mentioned) and will be filming for at least three months.
And, after that – who knows?