Medical play for TV doctor

Nadia Albina and John Kelly in Reasons To Be Cheerful.  Picture by  Patrick Baldwin

Show’s new Blockheads song is a reason to be cheerful

0
Have your say

Robert Powell certainly has a long history with TV and stage. Probably most famous for his title role in 1977’s Jesus of Nazareth, the thespian actor has appeared in iconic films such as Tommy and The Italian Job.

He’s even appeared in numerous TV series, including a six year stint in BBC1’s Holby City, and countless productions on stage.

But his latest venture, starring alongside comedian Joe Pasquale and Portsmouth-born actress Emma Barton, is starring in the classic comedy, Doctor In The House.

Arriving at the Kings Theatre, Southsea from April 17-21, it’s based on the hugely successful 1954 film.

The most popular film in the British box office that year, it follows the fortunes of medical student Simon Sparrow as he spends five years training to become a fully-fledged doctor. Robert plays the clueless chief surgeon, Sir Lancelott Spratt.

Speaking about his character, Robert says: ‘He’s a completely agonising bombastic megalomaniac bordering on insane. He’s head of the hospital and runs it, and everybody is scared of him.

‘He doesn’t hear anything anybody says to him, and he can’t remember anybody’s name or remember anybody’s face. It’s very funny and he ploughs through it like a bull dozer. It’s great fun.’

Having been asked to do it, Robert decided to take the role as he hadn’t been in a similar play for a while.

He explains: ‘The last play I did was virtually a two-hour monologue but this is more of a sharing play. It seemed to me that it would be a nice idea to do.

‘The cast are great too. Joe Pasquale seemed like a good person to work with to me and it proved absolutely right. He’s a lovely man and all the people we’re working with are really very talented.’

Even though he spent six years on Holby City as consultant nurse Mark Williams, Robert insists the medical connection between the two is merely incidental.

Robert says: ‘It’s about nostalgia. It’s like a seaside postcard really, it’s not a very sophisticated play. The audience have been packing them out for the past three weeks.

‘It’s a very charming piece set in the mid 1950s, even the music we play before it starts has all the 1950’s numbers in it and we’ve had people ask for a CD because it reminds them of times gone past.’

He adds: ‘The 50s were also a time of austerity because rationing had just finished and there are feelings that I think people recognise and see similarities in today. It’s a very charming piece that’s very much of the time, 60 years ago.’

Tickets cost £15 to £24.50 from the Kings Theatre, Southsea on (023) 9282 8282 or go to kings-southsea.com.