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Corrie star gets down to Earth... Former soap baddie Brian Capron heads to the Belgrade to star in The Smallest Show On Earth. He talks to JAMES RODGER about stepping into the role made famous by Peter Sellers.

Byline: JAMES RODGER

HE Belgrade Theatre will welcome the Smallest Show on Earth to its stage next week.

TAt the Coventry venue from Tuesday until Saturday, the show is inspired by the hilarious 1950s film, which starred the legendary Peter Sellers.

This new version, an exciting musical comedy starring Liza Goddard and Brian Capron, features classic songs by Irving Berlin.

We caught up with Brian to discuss his views on Coventry, his past on Coronation Street, and how a rogue wheelchair interrupted a performance he was in.

You've performed in everything - from panto and theatre, to TV and soaps. What is it about performing that excites you? Each area of work in the acting business, whether it be TV, theatre or film, requires different skills from an actor.

Stage work is a particular challenge for actors and you will be quickly found out if you don't know your stuff.

Obviously your body and voice work harder, but you still have to remain true to the character and be believable.

The lucky thing about my career has been the sheer variety in it and working in one area re-energises working in another area.

Does live theatre hold more of a thrill for you than, say, screen work? Live theatre is thrilling because you are connecting with a live audience and its happening then and there.

It's exciting because all audiences react differently and, as a performer, you feed off that response.

Also, you never know what's going to happen.

Last year, in a thriller in which I was touring, a wheelchair was left unlocked on stage and to the amusement of the audience it very slowly rolled down the stage and crashed into the orchestra pit and the play had to be halted while it was recovered.

We restarted the play and for some reason the incident added to the atmosphere in that theatre and everyone enjoyed an extra shot of adrenalin. It was a good night out and they had a story to tell.

Of course, in the theatre you don't get another take if you muck up.

Have you ever performed in Coventry before? If you have any, what are your memories of the city? I performed in Coventry two or three years ago in Columbo which was a great show to be in.

I played an American psychiatrist who was on stage practically the whole time. I think it went down well.

I stayed outside the city in pretty countryside and didn't see much of the city itself.

This time, I am looking forward to discovering more of it.

I know it may sound cliched but I have always wanted to visit the ruins of St Michael's Cathedral because I grew up in the shadow of the war years and my own mother was struck dumb for three months after an air raid on the undefended city of Bath which had a similar onslaught to that of Coventry.

What are you expecting from Coventry audiences? I am expecting Coventry audiences to let this lovely show wrap around them, give them a terrific night in the theatre and go home with a big smile on their faces, humming the tunes and tapping their toes.

How does your depiction of Mr Quill differ to Peter Sellers'? Peter Sellers' portrayal of Mr Quill was done mainly with a grey wig and moustache because he was only in his thirties when he did it. I'm old er so I don't need any help at all.

Despite being a 1950s film, would you say that the Smallest Show On Earth can resonate with modern day audiences? The show certainly resonates with modern day audiences because it is ultimately about the importance of a family, and a simple honest small business beating big business against the odds.

It's also about romantic love - and we can all relate to that.

Do you like getting involved with the dancing on stage? Liza Goddard and I are excused duty in some of the bigger more complex dance routines!

We do get to move around quite a bit which we found very challenging at first but now the show has settled it's great to be involved as much as we are.

Our choreographer Lee Proud is exceptionally talented and although the numbers are set in the Fifties they have a modern feel to them and are such fun to be in.

How much did Coronation Street change your life? Are you disappointed you were never killed off with a live-show special, like recently? Coronation Street was life changing.

It lead to all sorts of things such as trips to New Zealand and a wonderful trip to Borneo, to do a series of documentary reports for ITV's This Morning.

It raised my profile enough for me to be offered work rather than audition for it, and has secured for me a lovely and varied career since then.

So, I have a lot to thank Richard 'Tricky Dicky' Hillman for!

I don't think any actor could be disappointed with my send off from Corrie. I was awarded the honour of a two-handed episode with myself and Helen Worth and then a spectacular stunt organised by the James Bond guys depositing my family and I into the murky waters of a Manchester Canal.

They were the first ever underwater scenes in a soap which I think is probably one of the most iconic exits of all time.

For tickets go to www.belgrade.co.uk.

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Brian Capron (above) and |(inset) with Helen Worth in Coronatino Street
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 9, 2015
Words:927
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