Joy – Fame, fortune and revenge – great ingredients for this intriguing sounding show! What other elements drew you to this story?

Jay - I’ve had the privilege of being involved in many strange and wonderful shows over the years but this piece is so left of centre and unusual – not to mention rarely seen – I felt compelled to share it with others. It has a wonderful balance of humour and horror; its supremely entertaining and darkly disturbing. Additionally, the personal challenge of playing eleven characters in an ensemble musical as only one actor seemed like a good idea at the time.

Joy – Is vaudeville a hard genre to sell to audiences today?

Jay – It’s certainly not a style that is very common these days, but there is an appetite and audience for burlesque and the type of performances you might find at the Spielgeltent during Sydney Festival. But I think audiences have been intrigued by the idea of a vaudevillian ghost story and exactly what that might entail. I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised at what we’ve come up with!

Joy – How do you make the transition from one character to another? Do you have any trade secrets that you can divulge?

Jay – It has certainly been a challenge. It requires far more brain power than I anticipated, especially with remembering so much dialogue and the blocking. Many one-person multi character shows are more monologue based for each character but in Herringbone the scenes are written like any other play with two to sometimes six characters in a scene, changing line to line. Clear voices and physicality seems to be the key and lots of concentration.

Joy – This looks like such a demanding role! What do you do to relax in your free time when not rehearsing and performing?

Jay – This has been perhaps the most demanding role I’ve ever done and I swing wildly from excitement at the challenge and deep regret every day. It’s also been such a short rehearsal period for something so dense, so I have found that I just come home and try and watch a movie before going to bed early (at least, on the nights where I’m not still trying to learn all of the dialogue for the next day).

Joy – What is next for you after Herringbone?

Jay – After eleven characters and 90 minutes carrying a whole show I’m delighted my next role (which I can’t yet name) is non-singing, non-dancing, and one funny scene. I think I will enjoy that. Then I have two developments of original shows I’m co-writing, Good Omens based on the novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and The Dismissal which is based on the final days of the Whitlam government.


A big thanks to Jay, Herringbone is on at the Kings Cross Theatre from 18 Jan – 2 Feb, for more info and tickets see:

This Month in Sydney

8 - 26 January

Sydney Festival

Sydney – various

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Every January, Sydney Festival starts the new year with a bang, transforming the city with a bold cultural celebration based on critical ideas and cutting-edge art and performance.

More than any other cultural event, Sydney Festival defines Sydney’s personality. For over four decades we have presented international artists who guarantee headlines, and whose presence in Sydney adds to the Festival’s buzz and prestige, including names like Björk, Brian Wilson, Grace Jones, Manu Chao, Elvis Costello, AR Rahman, Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes, Robert Lepage, The Flaming Lips, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Peter Sellars, Sir Ian McKellen and David Byrne & St. Vincent. Some of the world’s great companies – Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance, Cheek by Jowl, Gate Theatre and The Wooster Group to name only a few – also share the Festival with the most exciting artists and companies in Australia.

Sydney Festival’s audacious contemporary programming positions it at the forefront of arts practice in Australia and up there as one of the most wonderful festivals in the world. (from Sydney Festival website)