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Tell Us In 10: Tom Edden

Kitty Underwood

By Kitty Underwood First Published 4 December 2019, Last Updated 6 December 2019

In our profile series, Tell Us In 10, we ask cast members and creatives of top London shows to tell us all about themselves in just 10 questions.

Today, we hear from Tom Edden, currently starring as De Guiche in Cyrano De Bergerac alongside James McAvoy. Originally set in 1640s France and written in the late 19th Century, Martin Crimp has adapted the old tale of love and insecurity surrounding a French nobleman cursed with self-doubt over his exceptionally large nose.

You may also recognise Tom from around the West End or even from the big and small screens. His recent productions in London include Our Town at the Regents Park Open Air Theatre and a stint in Matilda The Musical. He’s also worked with Jamie Lloyd before in Pinter Three and his version of Doctor Faustus with Kit Harrington.

1. My route into theatre was…

Too long and winding to describe in detail but perhaps the most significant steps along the way were the encouragements of parents and a particularly enthusiastic and inspiring drama teacher by the name of Jenny Haynes, the entry into drama school and the industry itself came from that foundation of support.

2. My West End idol is…

I have so much love and admiration for so many performers that this answer may be a rambler.

My first answer was a long and unwieldy list of performances that have stayed with me: (Charlie Stemp/Half a Sixpence, Danny Dyer/Dumb Waiter, Jane Krakowski/Guys and Dolls, Jessica Lange/Long Days Journey into Night and on and on) But of course my real idols are my beloved colleagues, and I must in particular bow in deference to my two long suffering West End wives; Wendy Ferguson (my Madame Thenardier in Les Mis) and Marianne Benedict (my Mrs Wormwood in Matilda) for whom my admiration and affection is boundless, as it is for my Marius; Rob Houchen who recently took the roof off the Royal Festival Hall with his star power in Light on the Piazza.

David Shannon, Gina Beck, Tom Edden and Marianne Benedict will star in Matilda The Musical (Photo: Craig Sugden)David Shannon, Gina Beck, Tom Edden and Marianne Benedict, co-stars in Matilda The Musical. Photo by Craig Sugden.

3. My colleagues would describe me as…

To my face, or behind my back??? Well I hope as someone fun, kind and passionate, but I’ll go with the name Lucian Msamati (who I did Amadeus with) calls me every time I see him: “Tart!”

4. My favourite show present or past (that isn’t one I star in) is…

Well like so many others I was blown away by The Inheritance recently. But my number one night in the theatre is probably a tie between August Osage County when it came to the NT and seeing Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! (not in London – sorry!)

The cast of The Inheritance Part 2 (Photo: Marc Brenner)The cast of The Inheritance

5. The career moment I’m most proud of is…

The whole experience of originating the role of Alfie in One Man Two Guvnors is hard to top; for Nick Hytner at the National Theatre and Broadway debut, friends for life and everyday for almost two years filled with so much laughter and fulfilment. Another mention must also go to my work for Jamie Lloyd, from Faustus, Pinter 3 and now Cyrano de Bergerac, I feel so lucky to be called back into such engaging projects and in particular I thought his Pinter season was a triumph. If I’m allowed one more; playing Fagin for Daniel Evans at the Sheffield Crucible (having the role all to myself 3 years after understudying Rowan Atkinson in the Drury lane production was a sweet feeling).

6. The hardest part about my role is…

The hardest part about being an actor in general is how to manage your well-being during lean times, the uncertainty is challenging, and protecting your confidence and esteem through it can be testing, but as I’ve said the rewards are great so you take it on. As far as my role in the show, the lines are the hardest part, they are so beautifully and intricately crafted that nothing but the most impeccable command of them will do.

Tom Edden in Pinter Three. Photo credit Marc BrennerTom Edden in Pinter Three. Photo by Marc Brenner.

7. If I didn’t work in theatre I would be…

A nightmare to live with.

8. Something people don’t know about me is…

In my twenties between acting work I worked as a sightseeing tour guide on the open top buses. So in central London I can bore anyone stiff with endless facts.

9. The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…

‘It will all work out miraculously well’ from my onstage partner in crime from Guvnors; David Benson (another idol)

10. The one thing I wish I could tell my younger self is…

Don’t be so hard on yourself and learn French.

 

You can catch Tom Edden in Cyrano De Bergerac at the Playhouse Theatre until 29 February 2020.

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