He said “no” first. I’d offered him the part of Darby in The Distance, our first production. I’m not quite sure why he changed his mind, but thankfully he did.
Charlie has appeared on the Bike Shed stage more times than anyone else. He’s particularly good at playing broken survivors – the father in Less Than a Year, Cratchitt in A Christmas Carol. In every role, he strives to find the humanity at the core of his characters. Not that he’s boring. He’s also keen to find the fun, the silliness. In the rehearsal room, he’s a relaxing, constant figure, always providing perspective, strong and supportive.
To some, his gentleness suggests apathy. But when you get to know him, you find a man of incredibly strong values, quietly determined.
Last year, when casting for Edgar and the Land of Lost, our Christmas co-production with The Wardrobe Ensemble, there was a bit of a dilemma. The central character of Edgar was someone who was miserable, short-tempered and mean, traits that Charlie has never even heard of, let alone shown. However, in casting him, and in his commitment to finding the truth of the character, something magical appeared. No matter how unkind he was, how selfish, underneath there was just another broken survivor, one that you couldn’t help warming too, Charlie’s natural goodness radiating out.
That’s why he’s a joy to work with, why I’m thrilled that he keeps coming back for more and why we’re excited to be presenting the premiere of his new play Granny Eyeball this Summer. And why I smile when I hear that teenagers shout “Oy, Edgar” as he walks down the street.