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Feet-uring... Geoff Baron and Mark Murphy

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

Back again my frosty friends?

I don't know if you've heard, but we're producing a little old winter show in partnership with The Dukes and supported by Arts Council England...

(It's The Snow Queen, jeez, where have you been?)

But before our snowy, shadowy, Christmas offering gets underway, we'd like to introduce you to the tree-mendous cast and crew that made it all possible, addressing hard-hitting questions such as 'if you could gather three celebrities to be on your team for a sneboldkamp, who would you choose?' and 'how would you describe yourself, using only play titles?' Real gritty stuff.

This time, we have Geoff Baron and Mark Murphy. Take it away gentlemen!

Who are you - tell us a bit about yourself!

Geoff: I’m Geoff Baron. Been acting all my life (which is quite a long time now!) most of it on the amateur stage, barring the occasional dabble with some very interesting projects on the pro stage, including The Opera House and Palace in Manchester. Retired early so I could give all my time to acting along with my wife, Anne so we can spend our time acting or ‘resting’ together!

Mark: I’m Mark Murphy. I’ve been involved in local theatre for over 30 years. I retired last December from my ‘day job’ in financial services – intending to be more active in theatre. I completed a one man play in January (‘Every Brilliant Thing’) – but COVID had (so far) stopped further performances – until the opportunity to be involved in The Snow Queen came along.

Who do you play in 3LF's The Snow Queen and how would you describe your role(s)?

Geoff: I am narrating The Snow Queen. It’s my job to tell the tale and fill in the details. And you know, when I stop talking, it’s time for puppet action!

Mark: Firstly, Sad Sorcerer – older, lonely, mysterious man (or is he a tree?). Lives with his ‘right-hand squirrel’ and talks to the flowers! Next, Cawnelius the Dove – organises the other doves with military precision. Speaks like a General from a by-gone age. Probably enjoys watching others do the work! Finally, Thawed Individual – a crucial character in collating the entire story to find out who the Snow Queen really is!!!

What is your favourite show that you have seen?

Geoff: Well the answer is I didn’t see it but The True History of The Tragic Life and Death of Julia Pastrana, The Ugliest Woman in The World, at Hope Mill Theatre, was amazing! Performed in total darkness with the cast passing around and between the audience, all the interaction involved sound, smells and a lot of imagination. A slightly surreal experience but one that pushed the boundaries brilliantly!

How have you managed to stay creative during lockdown?

Mark: I have recorded a radio play / monologue (‘The Man in the Wendy House’) which has been published on YouTube. A stage version of this is being considered for next year! I have also been involved in Zoom play readings – performing and considering scripts for future productions.

What is the best role that you have played and why?

Geoff: Easy – Doctor Rance in Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw. One should never really be sure if Rance is The Man from The Ministry or just another ‘crazy’ so it’s nearly impossible to go over the top with this role – such fun!

Mark: I played Frank in a production of Educating Rita. This was a great challenge – with just two performers on stage for nearly three hours. In preparation for this role I grew a huge beard, grew long hair and put on two stone – definitely looked like the dishevelled drunk that I was playing! A very rewarding part to play, a wonderful character, and the production was recognised by winning several awards.

Who should watch this show, and why?

Geoff: Who should watch and why? Everyone, old and young should watch because it’s different, a little dark in places, but most importantly because it’s fun and the world needs fun right now!

Without wild spoilers, tell us one of your favourite lines.

Mark: "[…] you don't know whether you're coming or going. Or sitting or standing. Or whether you've put on your under-robes that morning, as it happens, but I won't trouble you with that story…"

Why did you want to get involved with ‘The Snow Queen’?

Geoff: Because, in these very trying times, it is almost beholden on creatives to come up with something a little different and in my humble opinion, a filmed puppet theatre show is as innovative as they come.

What have you found rewarding in this production?

Mark: It's highly rewarding to perform solely with your voice to create a character. It’s even more rewarding (and challenging) to perform multiple roles – all with different voices and characters.

Did you ever take part in winter plays/nativities at school – who did you play?

Mark: My first time on stage was in a school nativity play. I was cast as one of the Three Kings (a great role I thought!). However, I was off school sick for a week – and by the time I returned my part had been re-cast and I was now “third-angel-from-the-left” in the Heavenly Throng (i.e. chorus!). I learned very early that it is still great fun being involved – you don’t have to have a principal part!

If you could gather three celebrities to be on your team for a sneboldkamp, who would you choose?

Geoff: That would have to be Freddie Flintoff, Fatima Whitbread and Steve Backley – cos they’d all have a better arm than me!

What's your favourite Christmas song?

Geoff: 'Fairytale Of New York' – Kirsty McCall & The Pogues.

Mark: Well here’s an unusual one. My favourite Christmas song is ‘Mele Kalikimaka’ (which is Hawaiian for Merry Christmas). This was performed in 1950 by Bing Crosby (never as big as his ‘White Christmas!) and the Andrew Sisters. But my favourite version is by KT Tunstall where she also plays a fabulous xylophone introduction. It's my guilty pleasure!

How do you like your eggs in the morning?

Mark: Eggs Benedict (if I’m treating myself) – Boiled eggs otherwise!

If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?

Geoff: Jimmy Durante – he’d make me sound like Pavarotti!

What is your favourite useless piece of trivia?

Mark: The theme tune to the film Alfie was sung on the soundtrack by Cher. Cilla Black released her version of the single mainly as promotion for the forthcoming film but didn’t sing on the soundtrack.

How would you describe yourself, using only play titles?

Geoff: 'Man And Superman'….lol!

Thanks gents!

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