I’m Freddy and I have a walk-on part as The Cat in Spring and Port Wine.
You might know me as a professional performing animal who works with Animal Acting. http://www.animalacting.com/index.htm I’ve worked in front of the camera and large audiences since I was a kitten and I’m completely comfortable on stage. I’ve got some rather famous predecessors who also went by the name of Freddy; one is the cat jumping off the roof in the opening credits of Coronation Street, another is the cat on the packaging for Purina’s GoCat biscuits.
Theatre is my first love, and Spring and Port Wine is my debut at the Coliseum, even if it’s a small role, I feel I bring something absolutely vital to the play.
When I first saw the script I was rather struck by the domestic nature of the storyline – who doesn’t like a good family story? So I said an immediate ‘yes’ to the role.
The play is all about family dynamics, and it comes from the pen of one of the North West’s most famous playwrights – Bill Naughton. You might know him as the writer of Alfie and All In Good Time (filmed as The Family Way). I like nothing more than relaxing with a good film in the afternoon; something I’ll miss on Wednesdays and Saturdays as I’m here doing matinees.
Spring and Port Wine was also made into a rather famous film starring James Mason, he made his name in Hollywood and was born just over the Pennines in Huddersfield. And he was a huge fan of cats, although he liked dogs too, something I simply don’t understand. So taken was he by us felines that he wrote a book The Cats in Our Lives which he also illustrated.
Spring and Port Wine is set in Naughton’s native Bolton in 1961, a time when you humans were catching up with the liberal values we cats have lived by for thousands of years.
The Cromptons are all up in arms over whether the children of the house should be independent and live by their own rules or adhere to the more conservative values of their father, Rafe. It’s not something I particularly understand as cat children have always been more liberated and free to leave the family home whenever they feel ready. When the shouting starts in the play, I tend to keep a low profile…Wil is my favourite human; I get the most attention from him.
The family might have their ups and downs in the play, arguing about money and who’s going to marry who. And it all comes to a climax when a fried herring goes missing, who knew a piece of fish could cause so much of a drama? I’m staying out of it.
But I’m having a great time – the actors in the cast and the Coliseum staff and volunteers are all making a fuss of me. Coliseum audiences are lovely too, there’s an appreciative ‘oooh’ when I make my entrance. And I have my own dressing room. No other cast members have that. Just me.
To catch me in my starring role, find your tickets here: http://www.coliseum.org.uk/plays/spring-and-port-wine/