April in Paris is coming to Aylesbury next month

Shobna Gulati and Joe McGann

Shobna Gulati and Joe McGann

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

LIVING the good life in Hampshire when he is home with his wife, Joe McGann is back on the road touring with April in Paris- a two man play starring alongside Shobna Gulati.

The 55-year-old actor said he has rarely been home over the last five to six years as the phone has kept ringing for various different jobs.

And he is relishing his current role of Al in the John Godber play, April in Paris.

It focuses on the relationship between Al and Bet, which is on the rocks. He has lost his job and she works in a shoe shop and can only dream of a better life.

When she wins a romantic night in Paris the couple start to rekindle their relationship.

Joe said his character, Al is an interesting guy: "He's not the kind of guy who at first look you might like.

"He is a lot more than that. He has some interesting sides to him.

"He has just been made redundant and has a bit of a moan about the state of things.

"He is already taking up a painting and is interested in art- there is a different side to him."

And he said the play is a very good study of a relationship.

He said: "The way they are with each other- they have been together a long time. No holds barred.

"It is funny and touching but it not without little bits of sadness here and there."

Joe is a seasoned actor but he said he still gets nerves, and it is because he cares.

He said: "I have always admired John Godber's work. He has written this and directed this.

"I know Shobna Gulati from around and about. Our paths had crossed but we had never done a decent sized project together."

Joe's most well known role is as Charlie Burrows in the TV comedy series The Upper Hand from 1990 to 1996.

His brother, Stephen, plays Dr Turner in Call The Midwife and his other two brothers, Paul and Mark are also actors.

Joe said: "People tend to know my face and my brother's face. We have been around a long time now.

"For the most part, people are nice. You do get some idiots who are full of lager. I don't tend to frequent that type of place now."

Joe lives in the sticks in Hampshire, with his wife, Tamzin who is a holistic therapist who teaches yoga and gives massage and Reiki. They have a 25-year-old daughter.

He grew up in Liverpool but moved away in 1976, but he said he still gets back a lot with work.

In May he starred in Love, Billy playing Sir Kenneth Branagh at The Lyric Theatre in Belfast and prior to that was in in the West End up to Christmas in a show called The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, where he previously performed it at Chichester over last summer.

He joked he has also joined the rise of the Mamils- middle aged men in lycra and has been cycling a lot. But which of his roles has he most enjoyed? He said: "Probably in the theatre- not the tv roles- not that I disliked the tv.

"Charlie in the Upper Hand was a great fun job.

"I really enjoyed One Fine Day, a one man show which transferred from Liverpool to the West End.

"Lennie from of Mice and Men I have played twice."

And he said actually doing a one man show is easier than a two man show likes April in Paris, where there is very quick dialogue.

He said: "You are setting the pace- there is no-one else on stage. If you get a couple of things out of order you can always say them again.

"There is always a way to get it back and breathe through it. Everything gets a little bit high pitched."

In 2009, he appeared on BBC's Celebrity MasterChef alongside Linda Barker and Ninia Benjamin and dropped out in the semi-finals.

He said: "I always did do all the cooking at home. My wife has discovered baking. It is something I like to do. It is relaxing."

But he said he rarely watches TV now and he has never really coveted roles. When he was younger he wanted to play Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet but his chance never came.

He said: "I am one of the lucky ones. The phone rings for me and I have options.

"I hope that continues."

April in Paris is at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from August 5 to 9 at 7.30pm, with a Thursday and Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets are £10 to £32.40 from 0844 8717607 or go to www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury

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