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Toby Belch, Pic Anna Chand

Toby Belch is one of Shakespeare’s better known, but still minor characters

CANCELLED – please note this event has been cancelled due to the actor Sidney Kean being incapacitated.  

Toby Belch is Unwell

An actor (Sidney Kean) and a director/writer (John Knowles) discuss Toby Belch, a character they have both played and who is at the centre of a new monologue being performed at The Garage starting this Thursday through til Sunday.

“As an actor there are some roles you look back upon with affection; they seem like old friends, even if you don’t wholly agree with them. Toby Belch is a massively flawed character – he is after all named ‘Belch’.” So writes John Knowles, author of the monologue, director and also actor, although not appearing himself on this occasion.

“Toby Belch is a drunken sot, a petty bully and an abuser of friendships,” John continues. “Within the play, he is at the centre of a series of events which lead to the mocking downfall of Malvolio. But for all his failings, he is adorable and, as we have discovered during the creation of the play, he is an everyman and thus someone we can all relate to.

“Toby Belch is Unwell is an affectionate, funny and turbulent look at not only the character of Toby, but also each and every one of us who has held on to a dream. For the writer and actor of this monologue, it is the love of theatre which holds them in a grip, it is the darkness of the wings that are their church and spiritual home.

“One thing that both Sidney (Kean) and I felt, was that few people understood the world of the jobbing actor, the understudy, the also rans. For the general public, acting is all about ego, but as we are keen to point out, that is far too simple a critique of why we act.

“For Sidney, who has trodden the boards for over 40 years, this is a play which is a huge challenge, just in terms of the amount he has had to learn, but it’s also a personal journey.”

Sidney writes that he feels “immensely privileged to have been given the script, which John originally wrote for himself”.

“But for me,” writes John, “it was a no-brainer. Once I saw Sidney acting, I knew this was his role and not mine”.

Toby Belch is Unwell

Toby Belch will be appearing in Rye, Eastbourne and London, but premiers at The Garage (through The Horse and Groom, Mercatoria) from Thursday 30 March to Sunday 2 April at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £10 and £8 concessions on the door on the night or online.

Posted 16:15 Wednesday, Mar 29, 2017 In: Performance

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