London Road in Bloom: An interview with Callum McIntyre

Last week we caught a rehearsal of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School’s production of London Road, and it’s looking amazing. Ahead of it’s opening in our Studio next week, here’s a sneaky peek of what’s in store.

We speak to final year Bristol Old Vic Theatre School student Callum McIntyre about flexing his acting muscles, learning how to umm and err in character and London Road’s similarities to Ardman Animation’s Creature Comforts

Are you excited to perform at Bristol Old Vic?

I am. Bristol Old Vic has such a rich history and after seeing so many shows there and performing in so many other venues around Bristol, it seems fitting that my final Grad show would be at the Old Vic.

What’s it like as an actor to take up the challenge of performing a show like London Road?

It’s very exciting. It was performed at the National Theatre 3 years ago, and we are the first company to take it on since them. The score is unbelievably tricky and we have literally devoted whole rehearsals to just counting, as the music is so specific. It is such a unique experience to work on a project that is the first of its kind and fairly ground breaking. The show has approximately 66 characters in it and so all of us are multi-roleing all the time, which is great because it gives us all the opportunity to flex our acting muscles! It really has stretched all of us in a positive way and now we are all keen to see what an audience makes of it!

Can you explain what verbatim is for those who haven’t experienced it before?

In the original production the actors were wired up to headphones with recordings taken from local people in Ipswich, real people who were asked to give an account of their views regarding the murders of the 5 prostitutes. Their challenge was to copy these recordings word for word and beat for beat, trying to replicate the inflections used (as well as the umms and errs) which are so common in every day speech. For us, it has been slightly different as we haven’t been able access all of the recordings, so we have been given a bit more freedom but it’s still within a very rigid structure.

Why should people come to watch London Road?

It’s truly like nothing you would have seen before. It is labelled as a musical but really it is a musical marathon mixed with a Creature Comforts documentary-style script. It is a fantastically intricate piece of writing and when done right it is extremely impressive. We are all very confident we can do it justice and make it as good as we all know it can be.

What makes it different to things we’ve seen performed by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School before?

It is the first time any drama school has performed this exciting and challenging show. I think it is testament to the high standards held by the school and the faith they show in the students that they would give us the opportunity to perform it.

Callum McIntyre is a final year student at BOVTS, who recently triumphed as runner up at the 2014 Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Awards. Check back next week for a drama school special, when we find out from Callum what it’s like to hone your craft at a world renowned institution.

Catch London Road at Bristol Old Vic Studio 10-21 June, 7pm (2pm Thurs + Sat mats). Tickets and more information here.


Photography by Graham Burke


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