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Arts: Stuke to conquer; Actor Neil Stuke talks to Joe Riley about his latest role.

Byline: Joe Riley

IT'S not so much what you do - it's still the way that you doit. Forty years after the abolition of censorship in the theatre, yet another play about what is and isn't acceptable on a public stage.

Bad Jazz, by Liverpool writer Robert Farquhar, presents its lead actress with the dilemma of how far she should go in a sex scene. The director urges her on, but her boyfriend objects.

Meanwhile, the actor (playing an actor) who is the would-be focus of her attentions, wonders what all the fuss is about.

Neil Stuke, who featured as a regular in the last series of the Catherine Tate Show, says: "I play a fairly feckless character, Danny, who is just one of the people trying to gain something for themselves. Danny just wants to work.

" A crazy situation in a world where people are never satisfied with what they've got."

The production has played three weeks in Plymouth and one in Edinburgh, picking up hot reviews.

One critic called it "a filthy and extremely funny satire".

Visual jokes include a false penis, as the cast consider just how far they're prepared to go to make a name for themselves.

Liverpool audiences will be able to judge the play's worth next week, when Bad Jazz plays the Unity Theatre, the venue which has staged every one of Bob Farquhar's somewhat surrealist comedies, including favourites like Kissing Sid James and God's Official.

The director is Gordon Anderson, also director of the Catherine Tate Show, so not a chap to shrink on the brink of controversy.

Says Neil, who also starred in the TV comedy Game On with Samantha Janus: "It's basically taking the micky out of plays by the likes of Sarah Kane (the writer who centred on sexual desire, cruelty, pain and torture, before actually hanging herself in 1999).

"It's more about people who take themselves over-seriously than about scenes of a sexual nature."

This will be Neil's first theatre work in Liverpool: "But I did do a film here 14 years ago, which was a very pleasant experience."

Stephen Poliakoff's Century, a nod to the then approaching Millennium (but set retrospectively, beginning on the last day of 1899), looked at the excesses of Victorian commerce versus science.

Neil played a medic pioneering the use of insulin, alongside Clive Owen, Charles Dance, Robert Stephen and Miranda Richardson.

Neil Stuke stars in Bad Jazz at the Unity Theatre, April 3-5. For tickets call the ticket line on 0151 709 4988


SEXUAL PREDATOR? Neil Stuke who was last in Liverpool making a film 14 years ago
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Article Type:Theater review
Date:Mar 30, 2007
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