Tom plays big characters. The Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol, Baddies in various Sherlock Holmes shows, Smirnov in The Bear, Lord Capulet in Romeo & Juliet. He was Sir William Cavendish in Bess The Commoner Queen, Colonel Tom Parker in the spectacular Elvis: Las Vegas 1969, and Dave Moss in Glengarry Glen Ross. He performed the narration for a puppet Beowulf, and has performed The Tale Of Tommy O’Quire in museums and Edinburgh. Tom is a very successful voice artist for numerous ads, TV series and video games, as well as introducing a recent Little Mix video.
TO1%: When did you know you first wanted to be actor?
TD: I was the lead in The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew at school. I remember being in the wings and thinking “I want to do this all the time”. I then proceeded not to do it until I was in my 40s.
TO1%: What was your first professional gig?
TD: Scanlon in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Tanglehead Theatre, Brighton Fringe, 2013
TO1%: Some people practice in front of a mirror some people think that’s really artificial? What’s your take?
TD: It’s a good thing to be aware of what your face does. I have a weird thing I do with my lower jaw on stage, and a mirror is a good place to look at your odd tics and reactions.
TO1%: How did you get involved with The Other 1%
TD: Via Sussex Playwrights, I think? There’s a wonderful melange of work going on in Brighton and people pull each other in to all manner of projects and it’s brilliant.
TO1%: If you could play any film, tv, stage or literary character, who would it be and why?
TD: I’ve done some excerpts of Magwitch, and I’d love to do a full production. Bill Sykes would be another – all the nasty b*stards.
TO1%: Do you practice your craft when you’re ‘resting’ and how?
TD: I watch a lot of drama on telly, and that’s a good way of pretending to work.
TO1%: How much of your acting would you say is craft and how much instinct?
TD: I didn’t go to drama school, and so I’ve relied on instinct as I slowly learn craft skills. I do wish I had gone to drama school, though.
TO1%: In the States Method Acting is often seen as the Holy Grail, how do you feel about that?
TD: And they are so very good, aren’t they? I’ve no idea if it’s method or not, but the standard of acting in the US is astonishing. Same with musicians.
TO1%: Do you ever find you start to become the characters you play when you’re off stage or off set?
TD: I was rehearsing a 1-man show I wrote about a sweary, aggressive builder. I got stuck behind a badly-parked delivery lorry, and I went for the guys in the lorry very much in character. It was only after these blokes started looking at each other with an air of angry collusion that I realised I was way out my depth and could well be on course for a (well-deserved) kicking. I exited, stage left.
TO1%: Has anyone ever noticed?
TD: See above.
TO1%: It’s a hard one, but if you had to choose and could only do pre-recorded OR live performance for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
TD: Pre-recorded, because I am INCREDIBLY lazy and love VO work because there are no lines to learn.
TO1%: What’s your trick for learning lines?
TD: Do them. Do them again. Repeat. Forever.
TO1%: Do you read your reviews and at what stage in a run of a play?
TD: I read them immediately, and hold a grudge whose magnitude is matched only by my certainty that they were right and I was indeed lacking.
TO1%: Do you have any superstitions other than not whistling in the stage wings and calling that Shakespeare play The Scottish Play?
TD: None at all. I’m a grizzled husk of misery that has no time for anything that is not provable.
TO1%: If you could have a masterclass from one director and one actor who would they be?
TD: Tom Hardy. Many actors, quite reasonably, play versions of themselves but I love how he so viscerally becomes a different person. The only common thing between his characters are his grunts of acknowledgement. Love it.
TO1%: If you become a superstar, will you demand specific bottled water and go on a paleo diet?
TD: If I become a superstar I will laugh my arse off every morning when I wake, every evening when I fall into a drunken stupor, and on the hour every hour in between.
Based on the South Coast of England, THE OTHER 1% was created by award-winning producer SIMON MOORHEAD, whose production company TBC AUDIO creates and distributes original, full-cast audiobooks with the aim of promoting local actors and writers to a global audience.