A Different Way Home is playwright Jimmie Chinn’s heartfelt and touching homage to the importance of communication within families, and, more importantly, what settles when the lines of communication have been severed.
Starting its life as a short radio play, A Different Way Home has since been produced on many stages and has been honoured with awards including best actor and best new play. It is usually a two hander, in the form of monologues, wherein we hear from a brother and sister who tell us of their life’s disappointment, bitterness and unhappiness.
What is so very different about this upcoming production at Chapel Off Chapel is that renowned actor, Michael Dalton, will be playing both roles!
“Leslie and Maureen are both really vulnerable after the death of their mother and they both deal with it in very similar ways, ” explains Dalton. “They are both quite happy to pass the blame onto each other. They both have a wicked sense of humour and they’re incredibly sarcastic…and I can relate to that, a lot. My family does exactly the same thing and having lost both parents there’s a lot in this play that rings true for me, it’s why I can really relate to it.”
Chinn’s play is a family drama about loss, love and how there’s always more than one side to every story. “I think Jimmie Chinn knows how to give us both sides and with an equal amount of pathos and biting sarcasm,” Dalton says. ” He wrote for British TV soap Coronation Street for many years and is a master in black comedy. Being able to make you laugh and cry in only a few words is a very clever skill to have.”
Chinn was drawn to the theatre at an early age, but writing became the passion of his life, with many of his works containing his trademark insightfulness into the human condition. A Different Way Home is an actors piece, having drawn many actors from both the amateur and professional ranks to step into the lives of Leslie and Maureen.
As an actor, Dalton’s challenge is certainly unique, but one that sits perfectly with him. After all, he is no stranger to finding the woman within – the comedy, cabaret legend Dolly Diamond is a Dalton creation!
Dalton admits it definitely is a challenge playing both roles, but it feels right. “They both believe they’re right and that they’ve been badly treated by each other over the years. Playing both characters I can actually see both sides. I think once we decided to do the play, it was always going to be the one actor. So when I took on Leslie I was really taking on Maureen as well (I already had the shoes you see)”
Dalton has had an extraordinary career in an industry that can be fickle. In fact his professional career began as a 10 year old when he played the title role in Oliver! on the West End. In 1990-2000 Salton began his relationship with the Ricky Horror Picture Show where he got to play Frank’N’Furter during the Europe tour. ” I loved that role,” he says, ” he gets to command the action onstage and interact with the audience.”
Dalton also loves playing Dolly Diamond “… and it’s been nearly 15 years, that’s almost half my life (See above for sarcasm reference)
Dalton’s dream roles are Seymour in Little shop of horrors or Nancy in Oliver. But he is really hoping he’ll get the chance to challenge the norm in casting and be up for male and female roles.
A Different Way Home is an emotional piece of theatre, but, says Dalton, is also very funny. “It’s also quite unique having the one actor playing the brother and the sister. I’m really hoping people are keen to see me do something completely different to Dolly Diamond, I know that’s what got me involved.”
A Different Way Home
October 6 – 11