Andrew Still is the new Sick Boy in the 2018 run of Trainspotting Live, including its return to London’s The Vaults from 27 March to 20 May 2018. What does the show, based on Irvine Welsh’s infamous novel and star-studded Brit flick, mean to him, and who would he invite to a dinner party? Caroline Hanks-Farmer asks the questions…
Glasgow-born Andrew Still shot to fame when he was just 17 and was cast as Joel Dexter in Hollyoaks (winning a Sunday Mail Young Scot Award). He spent 18 months in the soap and its darker offshoot, Hollyoaks Later. In Waterloo Road on television, he played Scott Fairchild, a pupil with multiple exclusions from other schools. He also appeared in the BBC Three comedy Fried, the National Theatre of Scotland trilogy The James Plays and most recently co-starred with Laurence Fox in a UK tour of The Real Thing.
You take on a challenging role in Trainspotting Live. Tell me about your journey and how you approach it?
It was important for me to go back to the source material when preparing for Sick Boy. Jonny Lee Miller is one of my favourite actors and created such an iconic character in his performances onscreen, but I was keen to bring my own take to it. So I went back to Irvine Welsh’s novel and spent a lot of time annotating and figuring out what his relationships were to each character in the story, his thoughts and views and the impressions he makes on the people around him and us as a reader. I wanted to help convey that in my performance. One of the really helpful things in the book is that, because it’s written in the first person from all the characters’ perspectives, I could get a real insight into the inner thoughts of Sick Boy. It was a real pleasure.
Trainspotting is such an iconic novel & film as well as a play. What are your first memories of it & how did it move you?
Growing up in Scotland, I think Trainspotting is part of our national culture. It’s grim and brutal but also really funny and poignant. I don’t want to speak for every Scottish person but certainly, for myself, there is so much to relate too within it, especially as a young Scottish man. I can’t remember the first memory, it seems like it’s always been there, but I do remember in school, people talking about it in hushed tones. It was one of those movies that your mum wouldn’t let you watch until you were old enough.
I love the movie. I still think it’s one of my favourites. It brings up a range of emotions and I think it’s still incredibly relevant today. It’s an important political story too, which is a factor I think gets overlooked often. It shows the effect that politically-induced poverty can create.
Do you prefer television or theatre?
I like both for different reasons, but I think I enjoy the time you’re allowed with theatre to develop and change the performance as you find new things. Television is so quick – sometimes you’re going so fast that you forget to take it all in. Although that pace and doing something new every day is incredibly fun and rewarding.
What’s the best thing about performing?
When you’re totally in the moment and you feel that connection with the other Actors and the audience.
Do you remember when you decided you wanted to act?
I’ve always wanted to be an actor, I’ve been doing youth theatre and performing in shows since I was 5. It’s always been my passion. I think the first time I felt like it was a dream that was attainable was when I saw NTS’s ‘Black Watch’. That show lit a fire in me.
What’s it going to be like performing Trainspotting in a tunnel at The Vaults?
Like with all location-based theatre, the space adds so much immersion to the story. The audience really will feel part of the action in a way that you struggle to get in a traditional theatre. Other cast members have performed in The Vaults already so they have an idea of how the show works in the space. For me, personally, I know it’ll add a lot to the feel of the show. It helps being surrounded by that kind of environment for the energy of the show.
Three quirky questions
If you could go back in time when would you go back to and why?
I’m really interested in history, especially the classical period so I reckon I’d head back to Ancient Greece and check that out.
Choose three dinner party guests dead or alive who would you invite and what would the theme be?
David Attenborough, Patrick Stewart and William Shakespeare and the theme would be ‘Taco Tuesday’
If you could be a superhero or have a superpower what would it be and why?
Teleportation, because I’d never have to spend any money on travelling.
Trainspotting Live runs from 27 March to 20 May 2018 at The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN. Performances (75 minutes) run Tuesdays to Sundays at 7pm, plus Thursdays to Saturdays at 8.45pm and late night at 10.3pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are priced £20 to £35. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!