INTERVIEW: James Robinson, This Little Life of Mine actor
Written by: Sophie Taylor
You might recognise James Robinson from Braveheart. No? Well you obviously don’t have a good eye for faces. He played Mel Gibson’s character as a child. I know! Tres exciting. James is currently in rehearsals for a brand new British musical about to start at Park Theatre. This Little Life of Mine is a contemporary fairytale that tells the story of the millennial, warts and all, as they struggle to live up to the happy picture of ourselves that we all share on social media.
We chatted with an enthusiastic and passionate James about false selfies, Cold Feet and swinging London. Literally, swingers in London. Ooh er missus.
How are rehearsals going?
“The weeks are slipping away! It’s a fantastic show and there’s a great team round us. We are going to view the set soon and then we’ll really see it coming together. The Park Theatre is a perfect space for a contemporary show in London as this is one of London’s newest pieces of theatre essentially. It’s quite easy to be transported into the story as all the elements of the show are around the Theatre in Finsbury Park, it’s a vibrant place. We’re really pleased with the setting.”
I like the references to the property boom and Zone 2. Are you based in London yourself?
“Yes I’ve lived here for twelve years. I studied as an actor down here, it’s definitely the place to be: my home away from home now. I’m Scottish and I love London. The show reflects a lot that’s going on in the city now with rising house prices and young professionals being replaced by other buyers.”
Yes it’s obviously a story we can all relate to in some way. Would you say your character is like you?
“As an actor you tend to get your chance to do the classics and scripts that are separate form your life. But when this came around it felt like something very close to my own reality. I’m in my early 30’s and looking at where my friends are in their lives and my girlfriend, there are lots of crossovers with my own reality and a lot of stuff in the script I can relate to. It was one of the main draws of doing the show. It’s literally a fairytale for the modern generation.”
How is it being a part of a brand new British musical drama?
“It feels very relevant, fresh and new.
That’s the thing with the music, it brings an other worldliness to the scene. Sometimes with musicals the music is separate from what’s happening on stage. But Charlie Round-Turner’s score is fantastic, the music melts into the scenes and it all compliments each other. It has something for anyone within this generation who are trying for babies, trying to buy a house etc. It feels very relatable and modern and there’s definitely a gap in the market for that. Film utilises the elements of romantic drama and the core of this show is love, whether it’s love of family, of life, of your significant other. I think that’s something deeper that needs to happen more, especially in new plays. We’re championing love.”
I loved the preview, there’s some great songs. I’m interested to see where the story goes
“Well you’re used to these sweeping, epic tales but actually in the modern day it’s not quite like that. I’ve got friends online I keep in touch with from Scotland online, but no-one puts the bad stuff up on social media!
Everyone always seems so happy but it’s the film version of their lives. That’s what we wanted to capture in the show. Selfies are a careful snapshot of happy moments: these moments where you find out you’re pregnant, you’re on holiday, you’ve found your first flat. But in between these moments real life happens. People don’t know you’ve had an argument 20 mins before a lovely photo. You think, oh they’re travelling the world and then you bump into them a week later and they say it was rubbish, it was one of the worst trips I’ve ever had. So we’re getting to the nitty gritty of life, to those moments where actually you missed that train to the job interview or your mum’s angry you didn’t visit her on Mothers Day. It’s real life. The songs are beautiful and accentuate the happy times, but we’re also giving you the flip side. There are hard hitting moments in it which is where the joy comes from – without the lows you can’t experience the highs.”
It reminds me of Cold Feet
“I love that show yes, there are relatable elements in both. It was like the Friends of Britain without the shine. Friends was light and happy with a few arguments, whereas in Cold Feet there are much grittier, hard times and that’s what we’re trying to convey with Little Life. I genuinely believe there’s a lot to enjoy within the show and you don’t have to be within the age range to enjoy it. My parents are coming and they can’t wait. You can take your mind off your own problems for the night, which is what storytelling should be – an opportunity to disappear into someone else’s life and leave your problems at the door.”
You obviously get on well as a cast and a company which was lovely to see.
“The whole team are great, they’re all so talented. Michael Yale is a huge multi-tasker having written, produced and directed the show! He may as well be in it. As it’s Stage Traffics first production it’s an exciting place to be. Eilene Davidson is a fantastic producer working with Michael too. There’s a lovely buzz about the place getting the company going with a bang. The Park Theatre have been great!”
Have you seen the set yet?
“We’ve just seen set models so far, we can’t wait to see it soon. It’s an interchangeable set with a coffee shop, restaurant, gym and flat. It’s very clever and chameleon-esque the way the set moves so simply from one set to the next. As an actor it’s always an exciting day to see where you’re going to be living for the next month or so. I can guarantee it’s nicer than my flat in Canada Water.”
I’ve found myself singing Just One More down the pub since the preview..
“That’s our new anthem! It’s definitely a catchy score, the songs live with you afterwards. The swinger song was an eye opener for me I have to say. Researching that was fun. Wait, I don’t mean personally!”
Yeah, yeah. Whatever James you big deviant. We leave him to have more fun rehearsing while we have a more discerning scroll through our Facebook feed and have a rewatch of Braveheart.
This Little Life of Mine is playing at The Park Theatre, Finsbury Park until 29th Oct 2016 with previews on the 4th Oct 2016. Book your ticket here
Photos by Charlie Round-Turner
Got a supper club, guinea pig cafe, unicorn tears cocktail pop up? Stoke Newington wants it. Luckily a cafe close to Columbia Road has the space you’ve been looking for all along. Probably. Think exposed bricks, boutique lighting and tiled counters, like you’ve just stumbled off a long haul flight and ended up in a trendy Brooklyn coffee house.
“I’m on the veg… of reeeeason” Sang Lady Gaga, whilst cavorting around a staircase in shorts. The very same can be said of Kerb Street Food’s latest event organisers. The amount of quality vegetarian food stalls they’ve gathered together for us is teetering on the unreasonable. It’s not fair on our stomachs, nor on our eyes that are bigger than said stomachs.
What’s it really like to live in North London gem Stroud Green? This short film gives you a glimpse into local life. See if you can spot yourself on Stroud Green's streets; walking your dog, buying bananas from the fruit and veg shop, cheering to a bad joke over a pint outside The Worlds End...
Ever walked past Stokey Town Hall and thought, oh the things I’d do with that space. What would you do exactly, if you had the chance to take over? It’s a question we’ve often asked ourselves. Well now Hackney Council are finally asking us. Residents and business owners in the surrounding areas are being consulted on their draft proposals.
Sadiq Khan’s decision to change London underground announcements from ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ to gender neutral greetings might have seemed like an obvious, positive step in the right direction. Unfortunately the news was met with some resistance and negativity. Some saw it as an attack against gender, deeming it ‘pathetic’, unnecessary and even ‘demeaning’. Presumably that affectionate term, Snowflake was also bandied around for good measure.
I'd had a bad day, so I thought reading the Slimming World magazine while eating a family-sized bag of crisps would help. This was the day I realised London was ridiculous. And it had rubbed off on me. I started out the day wet. Wet in my cute summer dress with a raincoat on top. It was July, pissing it down. But hot, very hot.
Beyond The Binary is our mini series breaking down gender norms and exploring queer theory through events and interviews. We're kicking things off with an explosion of fashion, identity and expression. This September it’s London Queer Fashion Show. LQFS showcases the greatest new talent from people who know that ‘gender exists beyond the binary’, that clothing doesn't take male or female forms.
Did you know, the recipe is a relatively new invention? Back in the 80s, a soon-to-be infamous supermodel (sorry but it was blats Naomi Campbell) walked into a bar feeling sleepy and sober and in need of a pick me up. Asking notorious and rakish bartender, Dick Bradsell for something that would “wake me up and fuck me up”, she watched him crack his fingers and deftly shake up the tasty Espressotini we all know and regret ordering today when we look at our bank statements the next morning.
This family run restaurant has been sourcing the best of date night seafood the for the last twenty years, sourcing the finest and freshest fish from their very own fishmongers in Stoke Newington. But not only are they super sustainable, these guys are also super on trend with a signature lobster sub. So you can feel posh and down to earth all at once, stroke your beard then passionately get off with an avocado once you’ve finished cycling home on your fixie.
Have you ever sat in the pub with ol Vick and Charlie and whatsherchops and thought, I’d love to draw a nude right now? No? Well what about a neon nude? Yeeah, now you’re keen! Well luckily that tasty Duke of Wellington pub happens to have just the right set up for a life drawing class. Not to mention a fluorescent one. So that is exactly what they do now. Every other Monday Jylle leaves her superb gin and tonic pouring duties to host Neon Naked.
The last time I checked it was March 18th and I was watching someone drink green beer in a big hat and wondering whatever happened to Boxing Day. But someone has informed me that it is August and we need some kind of plan for the month because all logic has flown out the window and nobody knows what anything means anymore and I can’t remember if I had breakfast yesterday no but thanks for asking. Time for some live music to zone out to and tap along blankly while we gather our thoughts.
Haunting melodies, rich ambience and devilish lyrics: indie folk singer Hazel Iris comes to Stokey all the way from California. Joining her is musician Mally Harpaz on accordion, cello, guitar and even percussion to create a pretty special double bill of musical awesomeness together.
I’m Emmie, I'm 24 and from Newcastle. J'adore le foot. Ou est les piscine? I moved to London 6 months ago because 'it's where all the jobs are'. The above new-life-motto was a graffiti tag I saw in my first few days of London life. Capital R and all. I certainly followed through when, that night, I went to a gig and nipped to the loo... Sitting on the uncomfortably warm seat I looked up to see a club night poster advertising: '4 Jägerbombs for £20!'
Who’s Richard Hunt and what are exciting little gimlets when they’re at home? Take a walk down Stoke Newington High Street this month and you’ll find out. An intriguing new cocktail bar and teahouse has opened, calling itself The Mint Gun Club and offering up a three fold menu of teas, cocktails and pantry style food.
If only there was a club night that could tap into that special pre night out time. Or at least play your taste in music, sometimes on repeat. Imagine! Lucky for you musical homebirds, bi-monthly club night Mammory Tapes intent to do just that at VFD in Stokey. All night long you can expect an all girl playlist and the best of your bedroom beats on the dance floor. So get ready to finally showcase your once unseen pyjama/half ready outfit based choreography.
“He said, I know It’s only arctic roll but I like it like it yes I dooooo” Those are the lyrics right? Well this weekend they certainly are, at Kerb’s Guiltiest Pleasure in Kings Cross featuring an arctic roll of pure indulgence. Over Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd July, the street food collective from your wildest dreams are hosting the most indulgent hits from all their pop ups at Granary Square.