Being absolutely Frank
PUBLISHED: 19:02 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:11 11 August 2010
BARRY McCarthy has been treading the boards for nearly 40 forty years, but says he loves it as much now as he ever did. He played his first professional stage role at the old Queen s Theatre in Station Road, Hornchurch in 1970 and he will be returning la
BARRY McCarthy has been treading the boards for nearly 40 forty years, but says he loves it as much now as he ever did.
He played his first professional stage role at the old Queen's Theatre in Station Road, Hornchurch in 1970 and he will be returning later this month to play the lead in Tim Firth's new comedy Absolutely Frank, 38 years after his first performance.
While Barry took a fairly traditional route into acting, going straight into drama school on leaving compulsory education, his encouragement came from a fairly unusual source.
He said: "In those days acting was considered a foolhardy and very risky thing to do but I was lucky that we had a keen drama department at school and we would often go on school trips to theatres.
"It had never even occurred to me that I could go into acting until I was encouraged by one of my teachers."
Barry was brought up by his mother after his father died when he was still a young boy and feels that he also has her to be grateful to for his choice of career: "She was horrified by the idea of me going into acting," he said.
"She really wanted me to do something professional but when she realised it was what I really wanted to do she did nothing but encourage me."
Despite doing a lot of TV and film work during his illustrious career, Barry's first love will always be theatre: "I would have to say I prefer theatre," he said.
"One of the nicest things about it is the people you meet.
"You are constantly exposed to all kinds of different people and the in the theatre, it's like a little family.
"There's a real sense of camaraderie."
When asked if there was one person in particular he had worked with that influenced him Barry said that there were too many to mention: "I wouldn't say there was one person who has been a mentor to me but I have been lucky to work with a lot of wonderful, influential people," he said.
"For example, I was in King Lear with David Warner.
"I remembered seeing him play Hamlet at Stratford on a school trip so to work with him all those years later was a fantastic feeling."
Absolutely Frank is a show about a man who has an experience which makes him see himself very differently, a feeling Barry can relate to: "I had a heart attack about ten years ago and that really changed my outlook on life," he said.
"It puts everything into perspective and makes the little things you worry about seem very trivial."
Barry will be appearing in Absolutely Frank at the Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch from Friday May 23 to Saturday June 14.
For tickets call the Box Office on (01708) 443333.
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