EastEnders star Ted Reilly is taking centre-stage at the Neville Studio this month, in a Nottingham Playhouse and Fifth Word production of modern drama, LAVA. He tells us why audiences should see this very funny play and reveals what it’s really like to work on the EastEnders set with Danny Dyer.
You’re starring in Lava at Nottingham Playhouse – give us a brief outline of the story:
LAVA is set in a Midlands town and a few hundred miles away the capital has been hit by an asteroid. My character Vin has suddenly stopped talking, and his best friend Rach is trying to help him find his voice again.
Following the disaster Rach’s family takes in a friend who survived the incident in London and the story begins to unfold.
Why should people come and watch LAVA?
All of the work Nottingham Playhouse has produced this year has been fantastic and this show is written by James Fritz, who is one of the hottest young writers at the minute.
The story explores the way we deal with grief and asks a number of hard-hitting questions, but it’s also laugh-out-loud funny, giving a really great balance of seriousness and fun to the show.
Why did you want to take this role?
As an actor I’m always looking for new challenges, and I’ve never seen a part like this in the theatre before, so was keen to test myself.
Vin’s story goes on a really interesting journey and I was really thrilled at the prospect of working at the Playhouse and on a James Fritz piece.
Your character Vin loses his ability to speak – how has this challenged you as an actor?
It has been a lot tougher than I thought, everything has to be reacted to physically. I’ve spent a lot of time researching selective mutism and the causes for it. Not being able to talk has been very hard for me, so I’ve been channelling those feelings of frustration and anxiety into the role.
LAVA is part of Nottingham Playhouse’s work in the Neville Studio, in partnership with Fifth Word, which produces tours of ambitious new plays – is it important to you to support emerging talent and new writing?
I’ve worked on a lot of new writing projects and it’s always so exciting to be part of something for the first time. New writing helps to attract new audiences, it takes risks, asks questions no one else dares to and I have a lot of respect for theatres, like Nottingham Playhouse, that take chances on new writing.
Have you been to Nottingham before? What do you like about the city?
This is my first time visiting Nottingham, but I’m a big football fan so on one of my days off I want to visit the Brian Clough statue and I’m definitely going to come back to watch a match.
There is lovely vibe across the city and there is an amazing atmosphere at the Playhouse, making it a great place to work.
I look forward to seeing the surrounding areas, I’ve made it to the Old Trip, but I want to try out some more of the bars and plan on taking a few friends down to the bars in the centre and heading out to West Bridgford too.
Most of us will know you from EastEnders in your role as Johnny Carter – what was life like on set?
I’ve been really lucky with the amount of work on the screen I’ve had – I’ve learned a lot.
When you’re working with the likes of Kellie Bright and Danny Dyer you have to turn up on set fully prepared, you don’t get a lot of time to shoot when you’re working on soaps and you have to be highly adaptable and always on top form.
Danny is as brilliant as everyone thinks he is, he is extremely funny and I miss my on-screen family very much, but nothing beats the buzz of live performance and the excitement of being on stage.
What’s next for you?
After LAVA I’ll be heading back to London and hoping to work on a number of exciting telly and stage productions.
Lava runs from Friday 15 to Saturday 30 June 2018 at Nottingham Playhouse, Neville Studio, with matinees at 2pm and evening performances at 7.45pm.
Tickets are priced £15.50 (£14 concessions)
For more information about Nottingham Playhouse visit http://www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk