An Actor's Life: William Oxborrow

An Actor's Life: William Oxborrow

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Oh What A Lovely War's William Oxborrow on what he would be doing if he weren't an actor and why people should come and see the show.

What would you be doing if you weren’t an actor?

I'd like the kind of job where you can stand back and say "I made that."  There's a bloke in Cornwall called Luke Powell who builds the most beautiful wooden sailing boats - replicas of 19th Century pilot cutters.  I wouldn't mind his job.

What do you like most about touring?

The feeling of rootlessness is kind of liberating.  A bit like you've bunked off school.  However, the flip side is that my wife is left looking after our two kids.  Sooner or later it'll be her on tour and me planning meals and doing the school run.  Then it'll be payback time.

What venue are you looking forward to visiting the most?

I'm looking forward to Torquay next week.  Going to see if we can get on the water with a very early season fishing trip.  Also Truro at the end of the tour.  Cornwall in spring. 'Andsome!

What attracted you to Oh What A Lovely War?

Like a lot of blokes my age, I'm mildly obsessed with 20th-century history and the two world wars.  Both my Grandfathers served in the First World War and I'm missing an Uncle because of the Second. That aside, it's something special being part of a revival of a show I've known about since I was a teenager, that really did make theatre history.   A good script is something that makes the job a pleasure and this one's great - lean and tight.

How did you prepare to play this part?

This show's a collage.  With some of the scenes it's full-on naturalism, imagining yourself into a place where you're muddy, freezing, riddled with lice and hoping not to be caught by the next shell, with others it's stick on the moustache, stick on the silly voice and time the gags right so you get the laughs.  And with some, believe it or not, it's a mixture of both.  Either way, there's no preparation time.  You just get on stage and get on with it.

Why should audiences come and see Oh What A Lovely War?

They'll laugh a lot, cry a bit and leave feeling better about life.  If we've timed the gags right!

Oh What a Lovely War runs at London's Theatre Royal Stratford East from 29 January to 7 February 2015, and then tours to Richmond, Malvern, Manchester, Cambridge, Bath, Torquay, Guildford, Coventry, Brighton, Leicester, Aylesbury and Birmingham, where the tour concludes on 9 May 2015.