Meet the Cast of Rent: Paul Weems

After a sell-out first night, you can forget about tonight as that is already sold-out too. That means your only chance now is Saturday! The box office is only open until midday tomorrow. Tickets may be available on the door at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking, but don't take the risk of losing out - Curtain up 7:45.

Now, in the last of our series we introduce a big character on stage, and off...

"He’s a drug dealer"

Paul ,  ready to make an impression in rehearsal,  with Martin Woodhams & Daniel Owen  (Photo courtesy of  Front of House Photography  )

Paul, ready to make an impression in rehearsal,  with Martin Woodhams & Daniel Owen (Photo courtesy of Front of House Photography )

Name: Paul Weems

Character Name: 'The Man'

Tell us about your character: He’s a drug dealer. He supplies the drugs to Mimi which nearly end up killing her. 

Is there anything in your own life that helps you connect with your character?! Um…..no

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? 'Christmas Bells' ... because I’m in it.

What other shows have you done? Most recently I played Benedick in Much ado about nothing. Numerous shows previously, amongst them I was Vince Fontaine in Simply Theatre's Grease last year.

Can you recall a particularly memorable on-stage moment? There have been many but staring at a glass for 5 minutes while no one came on was pretty memorable.

Can you remember the first time you thought “I want to be in theatre”? I was 19 years old and the musical Cats came to town. I couldn’t wait to see it. They asked me if I wanted to go backstage and meet the cast. I was thrilled.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? Well….the annual trip to Bedbar of course.

Is there room in your life for anything else apart from singing, dancing & acting? Hats.

No Day But Today

Meet the Cast of Rent: Akhil Gowrinath

"the opening night managed to crack my kneecap without realising"

Name: Akhil Gowrinath

Character Name: Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III

Tell us about your character: He used to live with Mark, Collins and Maureen in squalor as a Bohemian but has since sold out, marrying Alison “Muffy” Grey, heiress to the Grey fortune. As a result, he becomes landlord to Mark and Roger. I think deep down he is a decent guy who wants to be the same person he was before getting married, but gets caught up in his current lifestyle. He makes some questionable choices during the course of the show, which make him quite unlikeable on the face of it. 

Akhil   in rehearsal, with  Freddie Cox ,  Frankie McKean  &  Maria Langford   (Photo courtesy of  Front of House Photography  )

Akhil in rehearsal, with Freddie Cox, Frankie McKean & Maria Langford (Photo courtesy of Front of House Photography )

Is there anything in your own life that helps you connect with your character? Haha – well two things: As the show suggests Benny likes money and I’m also partial. Also, like Benny, I do like my car (although I don’t drive a Range Rover).

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? Out Tonight - I love the fact that it sounds like a wolf howling “Ouwoooot Tonight”!

What other shows have you done? Far too many to say all here but highlights include, Hairspray, The Last 5 Years, Footloose, Company, Sweeney Todd, Parade, A Christmas Carol, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

Can you recall a particularly memorable on-stage moment? The one that comes to mind instantly (for the wrong reasons) is when I was playing Smee in Peter Pan, had to do a comic fall and on the opening night managed to crack my kneecap without realising! I carried on with the rest of the run and discovered it had cracked (and healed) 5 months later!

Can you remember the first time you thought “I want to be in theatre”? Probably when I was in year 5. I had just been cast as a Wise Man in the nativity and had so much fun doing it.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? The cast are really friendly – it’s a great vibe in rehearsals. Also, Alison is a great director, she really knows what she wants, which makes it so much easier for us as the performers.

Is there room in your life for anything else apart from singing, dancing & acting? By day, I’m a tax advisor at a global accountancy firm!

Rent runs from Thursday 17th September until Saturday 19th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - You can book here.

No Day But Today

Meet the Cast of Rent: Freddie Cox

"Mark is a budding film director desperately trying to finish his movie"

Freddie with attitude & altitude! - in rehearsal  (Photo courtesy of  Front of House Photography  )

Freddie with attitude & altitude! - in rehearsal (Photo courtesy of Front of House Photography )

Name: Freddie Cox

Character Name: Mark Cohen

Tell us about your character: The partial narrator of Rent, Mark is a budding film director desperately trying to finish his movie, whilst trying to be a friend to everybody.

Is there anything in your own life that helps you connect with your character? Awkwardness is one, as is my passion. In fairness I’d say Mark is by all means 1980’s a version of me!

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? 'La Vie Boheme'. It’s a great feel good number and you can’t help but party down and feel happy!

What other shows have you done? Too many! Recently with Simply Theatre I was Doody in Grease, but I have also done an adult panto (oh my!), Hairspray, Copacabana, Guys & Dolls, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat (the UK tour).

Can you recall a particularly memorable on-stage moment? My standing ovation at the end of Hairspray where I played Wilbur! This was despite me getting my mic stuck in Edna’s wig and ripping my trousers … very Wilbureque if you ask me!

Can you remember the first time you thought “I want to be in theatre”? Year 5. I don’t know why, but it kinda just happened.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? Well I’m entering my eighth year with them in September, so they must be doing something right!

Is there room in your life for anything else apart from singing, dancing & acting? Ah! Nope! I do a drama degree, work at Legoland (which involves singing and dancing) and other Am-Dram. Nope, no room!

Rent runs from Thursday 17th September until Saturday 19th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - You can book here.

No Day But Today

Meet the Cast of Rent: Alex Kirkham

So let's meet some of the actors in the show...

"He’s a big softy who definitely wears his heart firmly on his sleeve."

Alex Kirkham in rehearsal  (Photo courtesy of  Front of House Photography  )

Alex Kirkham in rehearsal (Photo courtesy of Front of House Photography )

Name: Alex Kirkham

Character Name: Tom Collins

Tell us about your character: Collins is a HIV+ computer genius and philosophy professor who was recently expelled from New York University, possibly because of his passion for bohemian culture, rebellion and anarchy. He’s a big softy who definitely wears his heart firmly on his sleeve. Collins adores his friends and isn’t afraid to fall in love. 

Is there anything in your own life that helps you connect with your character? I feel that I have a few things in common with Collins. I have definitely enjoyed a healthy dose of rebellion in the past and I’m also (sadly) a hopeless romantic.

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? My favourite tune in the show is ‘Take Me or Leave Me’ because it’s sassy, funky and incredibly cheeky. It’s completely character driven and will definitely raise the roof in our production!

What other shows have you done? Oliver! (Mr. Bumble), Into the Woods (Baker), Oklahoma! (Jud), Sweeney Todd (Beadle), Anything Goes (Mr. Whitney) to name a few.

Can you recall a particularly memorable on-stage moment? A memorable on-stage moment for me would probably be back at sixth form, happily receiving a ‘pie to the face’ in an Anything Goes dress rehearsal, whist wearing an expensive costume hired from the National Theatre’s costume store. Whoops.

Can you remember the first time you thought “I want to be in theatre”? I knew I wanted to tread the boards after being taken to see Christmas Panto at Theatre Royal Windsor as a child. I think it was Cinderella.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? Every person at Simply has been incredibly welcoming and friendly since day one. The banter is also infinite and extremely entertaining. It’s lovely to be working with a group of like-minded, ridiculously talented and hilarious people!

Is there room in your life for anything else apart from singing, dancing & acting? I’ve just finished my music degree at Chichester, so I now (scarily) find myself in the ‘real world’. I’m really into writing and directing, and I’d love to go travelling at some point soon.

Rent runs from Thursday 17th September until Saturday 19th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - You can book here.

No Day But Today