Q&A with Adam Gillen from Radio

Posted on 27 June 2019

Harrogate writer Al Smith’s Radio is mid-way through its run at London’s Arcola Theatre and has been bringing us a story about American history, love and spaceships. Benidorm star Adam Gillen stars as Charlie Fairbank who is determined to be one of the first people to the moon, but in his research, his spotlight turns from the moon to a darker side of his country’s history.

Be sure to join the quest to the moon and uncover dark secrets at the Arcola Theatre before this limited run comes to an end.  Radio is an earnest monologue, set at a deliberately relaxed pace by director Josh Roche and performed with an equally enthusiastic and vulnerable balance. Adam’s performance is both heartfelt and gripping and isn’t one to miss!

Luckily, before the show comes to an end, I got to speak to the Radio star Adam Gillen and ask some quick questions! Read below to see what he had to say about award-winning Al Smith’s Radio.

Q&A with Radio star Adam Gillen

1. Radio is presented by a multi-award-winning writer Al Smith and award-winning director Josh Roche; how do you feel about working with them on this production?
I feel privileged and thrilled to be working with such smart creative and passionate collaborators. I worked with Josh a few years ago and enjoyed it very much, his commitment to problem-solving within the success of a project is something that has always impressed me. Al’s writing is muscular and poetic and when I manage to key into it and make it sound as it should, it’s very satisfying and hopefully entertaining!

2. Radio is as much about love and history as it is about spaceships, but what is your favourite element of the story or is it a mixture of these elements that attracted you to the production?
The chance to work with Josh on something was a draw and the job of attempting to create a feeling of true ‘fireside’ intimacy, by telling the story of a family history, a history so far away from my own was a challenge I relished and fancied a go at. And the writing is of course properly beautiful. Tender and detailed and full of humility.

3. What is about Charlie Fairbanks that you feel you can relate to and do you think he’s the type of character to best tell this story?
Charlie begins life as a boundless dreamer informed by his Father’s experiences and he inherits that shackle-free aspirational mindset before he becomes the victim of his own ambition to a certain extent. He becomes the perfect embodiment of the story of America, from the unchecked pursuit of the American dream culminating in the ‘Space Race’ through to the onset of cynicism through war and economic collapse. He encapsulates it all. To play one character who goes through so much in one life is such a challenge and one I’ve very much enjoyed. I think, I too, like Charlie, feel enormously close to my family and am a product of their experiences, I’m also somebody who hopes and dreams that anything is possible. Whether or not that may be true for me!

4. You have worked in theatre and film, and popularly in television, but is there one of these mediums that you prefer and why?
No, no preferences, they’re all so different. All present various technical challenges.

5. Your most popular role is arguably Liam Conroy in Benidorm, but what is your favourite role that you’ve ever played?
Playing Mozart at the National Theatre in Amadeus was, without doubt, a highlight and a nuts adventure, one I’ll always treasure and remember. 

6. Is there a dream role you have your eyes on within theatre, in the West End or on Broadway? Or is your dream role in film or television?
Not really, I like to be surprised by what work ends up in front of me. 

7. Your character, Charlie, discovers a dark side of his country’s history, would you say this is a dark play because of this aspect or just in elements?
I’d say there are dark elements certainly but more than anything it’s just an excellent story, beautifully structured and written, full of heart and passion and surprises. 

8. You were recently in Killer Joe in the West End, which is a dark comedy, would you say you have a preference for genres, dark/comedy or both? Or something else entirely?
No, I like taking on all sorts of different stories and characters and am always trying to create something exciting and fun whatever comes my way. 

9. What is it about Radio that you think will appeal to an audience and is it more than just being a prominently space show?
It’s so much more than that and I hope I’ve made that clear in my previous answers!!

10. In three words, why should audiences get their tickets for Radio at the Arcola Theatre?
Three words?!? ‘Get. Them. Now’?! If I boiled it all down, I’d say the 3 major overriding headline themes would be, Dreams, Legacy, Identity.  

Book your tickets to Radio at the Arcola Theatre before its run comes to an end on 13 July 2019. This is a play that is heartfelt and delicate when faced with the precipice of hidden history. Act quick and secure your tickets before it’s too late!

🎫 Book your Radio tickets today and save up to £11!

By Jade Ali

A love for theatre stemmed from my love of literature and music, but the West End on my doorstep opened up a whole new appreciation and passion for all things stage-y