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
Pilgrim, the newest kid to Hackney's pop-up scene, is a unique dining experience inspired by the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. This six course tasting menu includes regional dishes with a contemporary twist not yet seen before in London.
Recent times have seen an unnerving surge in right-wing politics. President Trump’s campaign to ‘make America great again’ saw him make the audacious promise to ‘build a wall’. France saw the uneasy ascent of Marine Le Pen’s National Front in its general elections and Germany’s AfD, (the first openly nationalist party in almost six decades) celebrated an unprecedented third place victory in its recent elections.
Summer is officially over. We're not sure it ever began in the first place. I guess that's one of the few downsides of living in London (other than crippling debt, tube strikes and Boris Johnson), but I digress... Magic Roundabout Old Street is raising the bar for winter, transforming the site into a tented, heated, 'Decades' inspired wonderland.
Guess who’s back, back again. Fat Macy’s back, tell a friend. No, really. Tell everyone about it. Fat Macy's supper club came back into our lives and this time around they had their Middle Eastern Feast on at the cute as a button Luminary Bakery in Stoke Newington, with a menu inspired by Ottolenghi and the #CookForSyria campaign.
Getting shouted at by a burly prison guard with a buzz cut and an offensively loud American accent isn't usually the way one wishes to begin one's night. Nevertheless, as I clamber into a very large (cheers guys) orange jumpsuit, the guard shoves a bottle of Conkers Gin wrapped in a thin towel (no fluffy Egyptian cotton here lads), into my now somewhat clammy hands. Whispering hastily at me to not get caught by the warden I'm ushered off in single file into the depths of Alcotraz.
If you haven’t heard the news yet, the world’s first black bookshop is back. Yes, after months of campaigning for funding and volunteers, New Beacon Books has reopened after threat of closure with a brand new refurb to boot. Established in 1966 by John La Rose and Sarah White, New Beacon Books is the UKs longest running independent bookshop specialising in African-Caribbean literature, cards and artwork.
London cocktail week is upon us. To be honest I can think of nothing worse than strapping on a wristband, carrying around a guidebook and queuing up for something that just needs to be brought to my sorry, tired old lips immediately. Apparently this year however, Drink Up London have released an app that eliminates all of the above nonsense. Get your ticket, download the app and get enjoying your £6 cocktails all week long. Just remember to flash your digital pass to the bartender first.
Garage and psych rock fans rejoice - The Psychotic Monks are stopping off in Camden tonight as part of their European tour. Roughly translated from French (GCSE stylee merci very much), the psych rockers describe themselves as “noise, fury, music impregnated .. with life impulses” finding a balance between “neurotic madness and contemplative melancholy”.
A bubble tea place in Finsbury Park? That also does a bangin’ teriyaki chicken rice box? Uh, hell yeah. This little gem quietly opened up last March on Wells Terrace. Y’know the spot where folks bumble off the most crowded bus in the entirety of London and damn near break a hip scampering for the tube round the corner? Yeah, that little pocket of Finsbury Park.
According to a recent Provident Personal Credit survey Londoners still remain at the bottom of the friendliness scale scoring just 6.44 out of 10. Begging the question, how could anyone be possibly proud to be a Londoner? A city where its inhabitants revel in their ability to remain as cynical and isolated from the outside world as possible. A shallow group of people who are far more interested in Instagramming their brunch then saving money to buy houses or giving back to the community.
A series of talks taking place this November shines a necessary light on mental illness in boys and young men. Speakers will gather at Finsbury Park’s Arts and Media School to raise awareness and help advise on a variety of topics including substance misuse, eating disorders and suicide.
Staying in a hotel one mile from where you actually live feels strange enough, but doing it on your own is even stranger. These photos are a visual record of me wandering the lonely corridors of a new boutique hotel between the hours of 10-12pm. I would describe the decor as handmade but not cheap, minimal but not clinical. It has the feeling that money has been spent on the things that matter.
The rumours are true: a cheese festival exists and it’s coming to North London. This Sunday. Be there or be … cheese-less I suppose. But you’ve gouda get there early: If you’re as keen as brie and one of the first fifty fromage fondlers to show, you’re in the running for a free bottle of Black Cow’s pure milk vodka. Traders will be setting up stalls along Islington’s Chapel Market: from the Raclette Brothers and Mac to the Future to La Fromagerie and The Cheese Truck.
Dream Talk. It’s like Dream Phone, but not at all. Artist Emma Alonze and musician Andy Becker have joined forces to collaborate on a (possibly prophetic) new sound art project. Londoners are invited to take a moment out of their daily commute, routine or journey and immerse themselves in a narrated collection of dreams. Taking three years worth of forty winks, Alonze has gathered and narrated a chosen few to be set to an ambient soundtrack by Becker.
Holy smoke, her nipples are on fire! Somebody pass the woman an extinguisher. Wait, why is she climbing into that giant margarita glass - does she not know it's highly flammable? She's going to need to be doused with a sizable portion of aloe vera gel at this rate, the poor lamb.