Gregory Cox is playing the part of Tony in the production of Torben Betts’ play Muswell Hill at Park90 from 17th February to 14th March 2015.
His many credits include The Mousetrap (St Martin’s Theatre), Oliver! (West End), Arcadia (National Theatre UK tour), A Tale of Two Cities (Sheffield Crucible), The Rivals (Holland Park Open Air Theatre) and Hamlet (Rose Theatre Kingston). His television work includes Poirot, Trial and Retribution, Coronation Street, and Maigret; for film, X Men: First Class.
Muswell Hill opening to critical acclaim in 2012 – for you what is at the heart of the play?
Miscommunication in modern life. And a play about disintegrating relationships as well. It’s beautifully counterpointed between something that was going on in Haiti during the earthquake and middle class obsessions and lifestyle in Muswell Hill at the same time. It’s a dark comedy and a really powerful piece. I was lucky enough to see the original production at The Orange Tree. I thought then that the part of Tony would be fantastic to play and I got it. It is also great working with director Roger Mortimer. The play was a sell out at the White Bear Theatre, so we thought we would love to revive it and are now at the Park 90.
What can you tell us about rehearsals?
Because we have two new actors in the company it’s been really refreshing. It’s not like just repeating something. We are discovering new things really and looking at the characters and improvising a lot.
You play the role of Tony – what can you tell us about him and how he fits into the storyline?
Well it’s a delicious role. He runs this rather nondescript drama school and comes on to all the young girls in his classes. He has a 23-year-old girlfriend although he is meant to be 60. It is quite a fun role to do. He lives very much in the 70s, which was a golden age of drugs and wife swapping and so on.
There is a lot to see in and around London why should people come along to see Muswell Hill?
The audience at The White Bear found themselves laughing and crying, in the same scene virtually. It’s very funny and it’s very moving, and you can’t say that about many modern plays. It’s so accessible.
You have performed in West End theatres as well as Off West End. What do you enjoy most about performing in the smaller venues?
I think in one word it is intimacy. I did a year in The Mousetrap which I enjoyed, my daughter Eleanor Cox is in it now. With that it is a different type of brief. I think you can explore more and get the audience involved more in a smaller space and especially doing it in the round as we are. The audience are virtually in the room with you experiencing those emotions.
Muswell Hill is only on for a short run until 11th March – what else do you have lined up for 2015?
I will be working with the same company, which is wonderful, doing The Browning Version by Terence Rattigan. I play the role of The Headmaster.
You have numerous stage and screen credits. Can you tell us about two that you really enjoyed and stand out for you?
I loved doing Coronation Street about two years ago. I had some great scenes with Sue Johnston. A fantastic actress. I was hoping I would become her love interest but that didn’t work out. I had a really nice few weeks on the set in Manchester. That was brilliant. A ‘happy set’ they look after you very well. I was lucky enough to be in the last episode of Poirot with David Suchet. I was playing the coroner. It was great to work with someone of his stature really.
Do you have any productions or role that you would really love to do?
I would love to do Uncle Vanya in a similar space to Park 90. It’s such a brilliant role. I need to persuade my director to put it on.
Any message to those that are following your career?
Tony in Muswell Hill is a very different role to Paravicini in The Mousetrap. Come and see me play a troubled old lech.
Interview by Neil Cheesman
Cast: Nicole Abraham (Annie), Ralph Aiken (Simon), Annabel Bates (Jess), Gregory Cox (Tony), Jack Johns (Mat), Charlotte Pyke (Karen).
Directors: Roger Mortimer and Deborah Edgington, Designer: Nancy Surman, Lighting Designer: Jack Weir.
13th January 2010 – an earthquake in Haiti leaves a hundred thousand people dead and almost two million homeless. Meanwhile in a leafy north London suburb, six individuals sit down to avocado and prawns – “so reassuringly 1970s” – followed by a monkfish stew. They admire their host’s beautifully appointed kitchen, fret about their “ambitious” mortgages, make holiday plans, compare mobile phone tariffs, connect with Facebook friends, and worry that they might after all just be ordinary – will history remember any of them, and if so, what for?
Muswell Hill is a blackly funny, touching and ultimately devastating play, exploring the disintegration of a relationship in a world in which the fragile veneer of comfort and contentment conceals realities too uncomfortable to face.
Two Sheds Theatre in association with Park Theatre presents Muswell Hill by Torben Betts
Plawright: Torben Betts
Directors: Roger Mortimer & Deborah Edgington
Designer: Nancy Surman
Lighting Designer: Jack Weir
Stage Manager: Martin Brady
17th February to 14th March 2015
Wednesday 18th February 2015