Liam Rudden: Mavericks make show go with a bang

An Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra Barbie. Pic: Comp
An Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra Barbie. Pic: Comp
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BELIEVE it or not, for companies taking part in the Fringe this August, the planning is already well underway.

There are programme deadlines to be met, venue contracts to be signed and, of course, actors to find.

Casting fascinates me. Whether on stage, TV or film, it is the vital ingredient that make the difference between a show being a hit and miss.

The secret of good casting, of course, is chemistry. Reading the actor’s body language before they have even uttered a word at an audition allows you to instinctively know if they are right for a part.

Their speech confirms whether they can act, while the interview or chat afterwards reveals if they will be a good company member - the most important thing in my book.

Having cast a good few shows over the years, I believe that 80 per cent of a director’s job is getting the right mix of characters. Nail it, and your job is easy. Get it wrong - even just one person miscast can spell disaster - and you have to work ten times harder.

Which is why it never ceases to amaze me how uneven many professional casts are these days. There are so many strong productions brought down by the odd weak link or often just by mediocre, formulaic casting.

I have a suspicion many of the ‘okay- but-not-brilliant’ actors who appear time and time again on stages across the Capital do so because they are easy to work with, although I have to admit, I’d risk a little backstage drama to get a top performance.

It comes with the territory, after all, drama. Handle a prima donna correctly and they can prove not just a great company member but really make the show fly.

Not that I’m going to name any names.