interview

Q&A: Sean Michael Verey (Tonight with Donny Stixx, The Bunker Theatre)

tonight with donny stixx

After an acclaimed sell-out run in Edinburgh last year, Tonight with Donny Stixx makes its London transfer next month.

It was originally written as the companion piece to Fringe First winning Dark Vanilla Jungle, and portrays the life of Donny who has found himself hounded by the press and labelled as The Most Hated Boy Alive. He has done something unthinkable but instead of forgiveness, he ultimately just wants his own TV show.

Sean Michael Verey (PramfaceRadiant Vermin) take centre stage in this one man show about our celebrity-obsessed culture, the damage our parents can inflict on us and the dangers of delusion.

We caught up with him to talk about the show.

  1. Describe Tonight with Donny Stixx in 3 words.
    Explosive. Sickening. Memorable.

2. Tell us about the character you play.

Donny Stixx is a boy who sees himself as the world’s best magician and performer. His whole life is one big rehearsal for that big day when he’ll finally get his own TV show! He sees the world in a different way to others, and the moment that’s finally realised, his world comes crashing down quite dramatically!

3. You had a celebrated run in Edinburgh. Have you made any adaptations to bring it to London?

We haven’t changed anything major about the script since Edinburgh. However, the Bunker has a larger performance space so things will be adapted slightly staging wise, but nothing too drastic. It’s the same show.

4. The Bunker is a brand new arts space. Do you think it’s important to continue grow the theatre landscape?
I think it’s vital to keep growing the theatre landscape! When you’ve done a lot of plays you tend to do the circuit of the same theatres over a few years, some you love and some not so much for whatever reason. So, for a performer, it’s very exciting to be able to get the chance to perform in brand new spaces. I think also, from an audience perspective, it’s quite similar. You get used to heading out to the same venues time and time again to see stuff, so having new spaces pop up keeps theatre fresh and alive!

5. Last production you saw at the theatre?

My last production I saw at the theatre was ‘Cargo’ by Tess Berry-Hart at the Arcola Theatre.

6. What has been your career highlight so far?
There’s been a couple of career highlights for me so far. One would be starring in BBC THREE’S sitcom ‘Pramface’. Before then I had been a guest role in lots of things, and this was my first TV lead, so that was a big deal for me. But also, receiving The Stage award for best solo performance at the Edinburgh Fringe for ‘Tonight with Donny Stixx’ has to go down as a massive highlight. I’ve never won an award for acting before so that will always be special for me.

7. What do you normally do on your day off?
When I get a day off from a show, I try not to do too much if I’m honest. The show is very physical and mentally draining as well, so I try to relax as best I can. Lie in, TV, walk the dog and then try and watch whatever football match is on telly that evening.

8. Who’s your hero?
I have two heroes in my life, my parents. Without their upbringing and constant support, I would have given up acting and probably lots of other things a long time ago.

9. Who would you most like to work with?
There’s a long list of people I’d like to work with to be honest. If I had to choose off the top of my head it would probably be someone like Julie Walters, she’s incredible.

10. Best place for a post-show night cap?
To be honest, I don’t really drink that often after shows. I like to get home to normality and unwind with a beer on the sofa. So if I do stay for a drink it’s usually the bar of whatever theatre I’m in at that time. However, I’ve done a few shows at the Soho Theatre in the last couple of years and they have a nice bar with a great atmosphere.

 11. Theatre you’d most like to be locked in overnight?

I’ve already done it! The London Palladium. I used to work there as front of house. I probably shouldn’t be admitting this, but one year they held a Halloween party. It went on to very late and a few of us ended up getting locked in overnight so we went on a little tour of the place in the dark.  I slept in one of the boxes as I recall. I was woken by the resident fireman at about 5am. Great memories of that place.

12. What’s next for you?
Well, I’ve just opened the Pauline Quirke Academy of performing arts school in Bow so I’m very busy running that at the moment. As for acting work, not sure what’s next. Juggling the academy and the play right now is enough to be going on with at the moment!

Tonight with Donny Stixx runs Tuesday 8th November – Saturday 3rd December 2016 at The Bunker Theatre

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