Their first two shows received rave reviews and if previews are anything to go by it looks like play number three will be another success for Tideline Runners.
Both debut ‘Human Interest Stories’ and follow up ‘Love or Money’ struck a chord with audiences but there’s a change of tack for the latest piece to be penned by local playwright and burgeoning theatrical mastermind Robert Wilkinson.
In his own words, ‘The Words in the Wires’, which opens its three night run at The Maltings’ Henry Travers Studio on August 15, is “a lot sweeter” than its predecessors.
But that’s not to say the show, focussed on the life of Julius Reuter, pioneer of telegraphy and news reporting, is a saccharine, throwaway piece of theatre, like Tideline Runners back catalogue, it gets right to the heart of human emotions with a cast spanning the generations.
David Robson will play Julius in his late teens while Robert himself will return to the stage to play an older Reuter.
For David the German-born founder of Reuters news agency, represents his grittiest role to date.
“I’ve never ever played a part that’s anywhere near as deep or damaged as Reuter,” David told ‘WOW’.
“There are some things that happen in the play which I’ve had nothing to relate to so it was quite intimidating and it’s a role that’s taken me right out of my comfort zone.
“With a part like this you’ve got to find a place within yourself that you’ve never been to before.”
For Frazer Smiles who plays the young Joe Stargardt, ‘Word in the Wires’ has been quite the opposite.
Having played more rebellious parts like Mickey in ‘Blood Brothers’, this is a more calm and collected challenge.
“I never get to play the sweet and innocent characters so it’s a new thing for me.
“Like David I’d definitely say it’s the most demanding role I’ve taken so far.
“And I’ve got that involved with the part that sometimes after rehearsals I’ve gone home as the character; it can be hard to snap out of it.”
For Robert, the challenge as writer and director was to shape a play which although based on things that happened hundreds of years ago still has resonance with the modern era.
“As much as its set in the 1800s, the play has the feel of a 1980s rites of passage film like ‘Stand By Me’,” Robert explained.
“It’s about friendship, youth and what it’s like to be young.
“History is just the window dressing if you like.
“I’d say it was true but not accurate. The premise is that Reuter remembers his life but he doesn’t recall everything exactly how it happened.
“I want people to fall in love with the characters.”
A writer who’s always got more than one project on the go at any given time, Robert admitted he was chomping at the bit to get the ball rolling with ‘The Words in The Wires’.
“I had the script written since before we did ‘Love or Money’ and had it cast since last year so it was quite frustrating to have to wait to get cracking on it,” he commented.
“I’ve got a terrific cast that includes mother and daughter Bee Dinardo and Trudy Whitehead as the old and young versions of the same character.
“I cast the youngsters first after being impressed by them in other productions I’d seen them in such as ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and they have been great to work with.”