As National Theatre’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time prepares to visit Bristol as part of its national tour, we talk to Scott Reid, cast in the lead role of Christopher Boone
TBM: It’s a sought-after role – tell us a little about how you got it…
Scott: My agent got the call in March last year, to say they were auditioning for the play in the West End. I went through five rounds and unfortunately got the call to say I hadn’t got the job which was obviously disappointing to hear. Then, two weeks later, my agent confirmed they had offered me the opportunity to do the UK and Ireland tour of the production instead and I was just over the moon.
Did you find it daunting to take on such a demanding role?
I think any part as big as this is daunting for any actor, but it is an incredibly exciting prospect also. When you start acting, it is parts like these that you really want; the roles that demand huge concentration, that give you such a big workload. It has become a part that I know, for the next 30, 40 years, will have young actors desperate to play it. It is such a well-known book and the plays have done incredibly well. I think the part of Christopher Boone will stand the test of time; the book has already become a modern classic.
Scott and company, image © Brinkhoff Mögenburg
The role is very physical; did you do any special prep to get ready?
I am not a natural mover myself, and the role is hugely demanding so every day as a team we began with movement classes, followed by physical sessions such as yoga, pilates and circuit training.
You’re on stage for the duration of the play and the amount of text you’ve had to master is staggering; how do you prepare mentally?
To be honest, as an actor it is just so great to be working with material as well written as this, that you’ll never hear me complain about the amount of work it might take. I genuinely think I have the best job in the world.
How important is teamwork in a production like this, where you rely so heavily upon each other?
Very. What made this process a bit different is that we all were new to it at the same time. It was a brand new production cast and tech staff all joined at the same time and it was a fresh experience for everyone. We got to build our own family and story and it is very different from the West End production. We’ve managed to put our own stamp on it; and each performance is so passionate.
“As an actor it is just so great to be working with material as well written as this…”, image ©
How do you find the touring lifestyle?
It definitely has its pros and cons. You find some cities that you really fall in love with. There are other demands though; I am very close to my family so it is important to me that I get to home to see my mum, dad, and my sisters when I can. It is one of the reasons you get so close to other cast members; I’ve got an ‘onstage dad’ and an ‘onstage mum’ and we have all become very close so it helps a lot.
You’re at the Hippodrome from 13-20 June; have you been to Bristol much before?
Yes, when we were performing in Bath a couple of months ago I actually chose to stay in Bristol and commute each day as it is such a great city. There is lots going on and I had a lovely little flat. It reminds me of Edinburgh in that it has such a good vibe to it.
You have had such success in recent years and your body of stage and TV work is growing all the time. How did you first get in to acting?
I went to a youth theatre. A neighbour told my mum about it as it was known that I loved to tell stories and jokes. I was always busy as a child; in the holidays I used to play football in the morning and then act whenever I could in the afternoon just to give my parents a break. Over time I fell in love with it and it went from a source of enjoyment, to a passion, to a necessity. I had to make it my full-time job and life.
Top of my list has to be Hamlet. I’d also love to be in Doctor Who, so if Steven Moffat is reading, then sign me up!
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time comes to Bristol Hippodrome from 13 – 20 June. To buy tickets visit atgtickets.com
Featured image: Scott as Christopher, image © Brinkhoff Mögenburg