AS a resident of Nether Edge actor Richard Marriott has had the luxury this week of being able to walk to rehearsals at the Lantern Theatre.
He is appearing in Order, a dark and brooding two-hander, which is the first play produced professionally by the theatre in its 118-year history
Previously the venue was run as an amateur dramatics venue by the Dilys Guite Players, and is still home to the DGP, but is now the only mid scale, professional touring venue in the city.
Ruth Carney directs Order, a play about obsessive love, written by Lantern Theatre artistic director Martin Derbyshire and chief executive Matt Risby.
Born and brought up in Sheffield, Marriott studied at the University of Essex and the Drama Studio London and has experience of musical theatre, once played the referee in United on a Wednesday Night at the Crucible, and has toured with Sheffield-based Reform Theatre and Concept Theatre.
“The great thing for me is the venue which I have got associations with but also it’s a great new piece of writing and I feel lucky to be part of it,” he says. “They have great futures as writers. The whole thing has come together out of a series of monologues and it has been fleshed out with extra scenes to make a complete play.
“It’s about a couple’s relationship which becomes obsessive. Katie is a younger woman and I am Robert, a guy on the verge of a midlife crisis. They meet in an office where a relationship of sorts develops. The play is called Order which has a number of interpretations including a timeline. We start at the end and it goes back to show you the events that led to it. It is ambiguous and it gives the audience a lot to reflect on and hopefully debate afterwards.”
London-based Samantha Robinson, who plays Katie. has just finished a six month season with the first rep company at Ustinov Theatre in Bath and previous stage credits include playing Miranda in The Tempest alongside Pete Postlethwaite at the Royal Exchange in Manchester. Television credits include Five Days, Shameless, Holby City, Doctors and Casualty
“I see intense and brooding two-handers as something of my forte,” says Marriott.
Order marks Marriott’s return to full-time acting, having previously fitted his work with Reform around a job in the health service. He has, however, gained an English Language teaching qualification to make ends meet. “ I didn’t want to lose touch with my training skills but with the cuts hitting theatre in education so much the chances of getting that kind of work has diminished,” he explains.
“It’s great to be putting myself in the shop window with a piece of quality work. In the past I have been able to be selective but when you are full-time you have to make artistic compromises.”
One slight regret is that because of rehearsals he has had to miss a couple of Sheffield United home matches. “But then I have always measured my success on how many matches I have to miss. I remember being away on tour in the promotion season so perhaps it is a good omen.”
Order is at the Lantern Theatre from Tuesday to Saturday.