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Staverton boy Finn is happy to return to his roots, bringing Shakespeare to life

By Herald Express  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

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TOTNES actor Finn Hanlon returns to his home county to perform in two of Shakespeare's plays at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, later this month.

Finn is part of the acclaimed all-male theatre company, Propeller, who will stage the bard's Twelfth Night and Taming of The Shrew.

He plays Antonio in Twelfth Night, a twisted tale of mistaken identity, transformation and deception, and Lucentio in the brash and brutal dark comic story Taming of the Shrew.

The former KEVICC's student, who went on to train at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, is looking forward to performing on home turf and craves the south west.

"I grew up in Staverton and I miss it massively," said Finn.

"As an actor I spend my life working away, when all I really would love to do is move back down to Totnes and be an actor down there.

"You have to live in London as an actor as all the auditions are there so productions get the best pool available.

"I also miss Bantham and the surfing, as city life isn't my cup of tea. Last year with my work I went to New Zealand and Australia and that was more up my street.

"I couldn't believe I bumped into a guy who runs Bantham Discovery Surf School in Perth, they always say you bump into people you least expect it."

Having already been in productions including Henry V and The Winter's Tale with Propeller, he's used to how the company works and is enjoying the diversity of being in two shows which are touring at once.

"In years gone by, older actors grew up in the days of rep where they go out of London and do a number of shows for a year and learn their craft in the season," said Finn. "In the commercial world, these days, you can get a job for a month or two and have do another job to help with bills.

"I'm lucky to work in a company which does rep theatre and to me it's the best job in the world.

"By working on two different shows at once, I hone different skills and I think it helps me develop as an actor.

"In one play I may have a significantly smaller part than in the other, but as we are an ensemble the part size doesn't really figure."

Finn finds it hard to decide which of the two of plays he prefers to be treading the boards in as they are so different.

"Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night in his older years and it is well written," said Finn.

"Taming he wrote earlier, but as the subject matter is misogynistic, some believe it should never be performed.

"To me though, it's not a problem play, it's only misogynistic if you are glorifying the people who are behaving that way."

Finn loves the way Propeller engages with the productions it stages and seeks to find a more engaging way of expressing Shakespeare and to explore the relationship between text and performance.

"They do such amazing theatre work and I love the fact we create a lot of the work ourselves," said Finn.

"We have a director who has a definite focus and vision, but we are all involved.

"The whole ensemble are in for all the rehearsals so we all engage with the whole play."

As well as working for Propeller, Finn has also enjoyed success in the one man show Private Peaceful, which he performed at the Edinburgh Festival and on a national tour.

Finn brought to life the Michael Morpurgo story, about a soldier called Thomas 'Tommo' Peaceful, who is looking back on his life from the trenches of World War One in France

"It's the best experience I've ever had, it was also the loneliest as its nice to work with people," he said.

"Getting to know Michael so well was a wonderful experience. I was really passionate about telling the story of a Devon boy.

"It's a beautiful story and I don't think I'll ever have such an experience as a performer as that."

Finn also enjoyed TV worked and appeared in the cult BBC show Being Human.

"I like TV work, but it's completely different to theatre.

"In TV you aren't in control of the cut but it's exhilarating to be involved in television and I'd like to do more," he added.

The Taming of the Shrew will be staged in Plymouth on February 12 and 15 at 7.30pm with a matinee on February 16.

Twelfth Night will be performed on February 13, 14 and 16 at 7.30pm. There will also be an afternoon show on February 14.

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