Hungerford actor Nicholas Lumley reports on his latest role as Peter Quince in the star-studded Shakespeare Live! show on BBC 2 on Saturday 23 April. Quince is horrified to discover Bottom (Al Murray) “translated” into an ass shortly before Titania (Dame Judy Dench) awakes to fall in love with Bottom. The scene starts about 47:00 into the show (click image below to watch – available until 18 May).
“It was extraordinary to be involved in the production,” Nick explains. “I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. And when I arrived I was pleased to see familiar faces. The show’s producer was Hedda Beeby, who used to run the Watermill Theatre near Newbury and I was amazed at how many of the luminaries I had actually worked with before including David Tennant, Catherine Tate, David Suchet, Benedict Cumberbatch, Roger Allam, John Lithgow and Dame Judy. Luckily they were all pleased to see me!
“I only got the script two days beforehand and we had just one rehearsal and a dress rehearsal with an audience. Thank goodness I didn’t have too much to learn. It was terrifying that it went out live and there was no room for error.
“Al Murray was delightful, very un-pub-landlord-like. The funniest moment of the day was when his left false ear fell off and the right one slipped to half mast in the dress rehearsal and bless him he just kept going. The rest of us were on the floor like the Cadbury Smash advert…
“At least I got to act on the big stage at the RSC Stratford upon Avon – even if it was only two lines and three steps onto the stage!”
Nick has now returned to his roles in the double production of Don Quixote (at the Swan Theatre in Stratford upon Avon until 21 May) and Dr Faustus (at Swan Theatre Stratford until 4 August, then at the Barbican, London 7 Sept – 1 Oct).