Love London Love Culture spoke to Daniel Goode about starring in the Rose Theatre Kingston’s upcoming festive show Alice in Winterland.
Hi Daniel – thank you very much for talking to Love London Love Culture. How excited are you to be in Alice in Winterland?
Very excited! I have worked at the Rose often and I have an enormous soft spot for the place. I also get to work with Ciaran McConville, Lyndall Grant, Eamonn O’Dwyer and the Rose Theatre’s fantastic youth theatre again and that’s always an enormous pleasure.
On a scale of 1-10, how much are you like the Mad Hatter in real life? Have you used any elements of yourself to help get into character?
Erm, I hope I’m not like the Mad Hatter in real life ..! However, I do have a propensity to get anxious and worried about things and I suppose that’s one of his many characteristics. I hope my general demeanour is calmer! I don’t think I am much like him so if I had to give a number it would be low, but that is the joy of playing character roles, you get to explore what it would be like to be someone completely different.
Have you got a favourite moment in Alice in Winterland?
We’re still rehearsing at the moment so there are bits I haven’t seen and bits we’ve yet to work on, but there is something wonderful about seeing a theatre space so populated – this is very rare these days – so the mixture of professional actors and an exuberant youth theatre is one of my favourite elements of this show.
Is there any other character in the book that you would love to play?
This is my third production of ‘Alice’ in three years! I had never done one before that. I have played several characters: Lewis Carroll himself, the caterpillar, a pompous Humpty Dumpty (which was great fun) and now the Mad Hatter and Alice’s father.
Do I have a favourite Alice character I have yet to play?
I’m not sure I do, to be honest. I think they are all so weird and magical that it would be hard to pick one out for special notice. I’m very much enjoying what I am exploring at the moment, the Hatter is a stretch imaginatively, and that’s lovely.
What would you say makes this production a must-see for audiences over Christmas?
There are a number of reasons I could give to be honest: Ciaran McConville’s beautiful and witty script that takes the story in new directions; Eamonn O’Dwyer’s exquisite music and lyrics; Lyndall Grant’s fight sequences; Jamie Neale’s choreography; the energy and commitment of the Rose’s Youth Theatre; puppets; the gorgeous set and costumes; my fellow professional actors who bring such a wealth of talent, experience and real joy to the show.
What the Rose does with its Christmas Productions is to make them beautiful, funny, moving and finally real community events. I don’t know of many theatres – if any – who do this so well and this makes the Rose a very special place.
As always, the Youth Theatre is quite involved with production as well, how do you think that will make a difference to the production?
I’ve probably already answered this, but in essence they bring energy, enthusiasm, presence and a great deal of talent! Most actors I know started out in youth theatres – they’re a great place to get experience and to forge new talent – but the Rose actually nurtures the talent by giving their members a truly professional experience.
The youth theatre members are an essential, integral part of a Rose theatre Christmas show.
Can you give anything away about what audiences can expect from the production from what you have been told?
I’ve given away quite a lot already, but I think an audience can expect something magical (for adults and children alike) and what more can you ask of a Christmas show than that?
This isn’t the first production you have been involved with at the Rose Theatre – what do you think makes it a unique venue?
No, this is my fifth, and I had the honour of doing the Rose’s first Christmas show back in 2008. The auditorium is quite unique, the width and height of the stage, with no proscenium arch, can make productions that use the whole space seem epic. I think audience members being able to sit on the floor close to the action also makes it special. Finally, the theatre is part of the Kingston community and that is something very special.
With Christmas gradually creeping up on us, what are you most looking forward to about Christmas this year?
For actors a Christmas show is demanding, you quite often do two shows a day and the productions require a great deal of energy. I suppose I am looking forward to two things: doing the play itself to the many people who come to see it, and Christmas Day itself when I will be able to put my feet up for a few hours.
Alice in Winterland will play at the Rose Theatre in Kingston from the 7th December until the the 7th January 2018.