Alex Rennie catches up with Graham Seed to find out about playing Ernest in Bedroom Farce and life after The Archers
AFTER more than 30 years playing Nigel Pargetter in Radio 4’s long running soap The Archers, Graham Seed says he is delighted to be “back on the road” with a starring role at Salisbury Playhouse.
Seed will be playing Ernest in the Alan Ayckbourn comedy, Bedroom Farce before appearing in Terrence Rattigan’s darker play Separate Tables, also at The Playhouse, as Mr Fowler in October.
Bedroom Farce centres on four couples – all in their bedrooms – with truths spilling out as the play progresses.
From marital tensions to an older couple trying to contend with the complexity of modern day life, this bittersweet play is Ayckbourn at his best.
Bedroom Farce opens on Thursday, September 4 and will see the Playhouse main stage completely transformed so the audience gets closer to the action.
Seed said: “At this moment all the technical crew are moving things about, it is going to be performed in the round with spectators all around the theatre.
“This makes the play very intimate with people in my bedroom.
“It is a challenge here because the theatre is not designed for the round but it will be an exciting step into the unknown.”
The play has stood the test of time since the first time it was performed in 1975 and Seed thinks it is the type of show that will be embraced by theatregoers.
He continued: “I can guarantee that the people of Salisbury are really are going to enjoy themselves because it is just the type of wonderful comedy that they like.
“This is one of his early plays but I think it is still relevant to the people of today.
“Like all good playwrights he captures the essence of the day but his themes are universal.
“Although it is called a farce it is a comedy, you laugh at these people because we have all experienced something similar.”
Ernest is one of the more senior members of the cast but Seed remains cheerful about being described as an “older actor.”
Seed said: “It is life, this happens to all actors and I guess now I am in my 60s I have to play more of these roles, but the one great thing about being an actor is you don’t have to retire.
“However, I am absolutely thrilled to work with such a talented bunch especially Penelope Beaumont who plays my on-stage wife.”
He also feels comfortable with life after the death of his popular Archers character Nigel Pargetter on New Year’s Eve 2011.
He said: “I wasn’t too pleased to be killed off but you have to accept that it isn’t a personal thing, however I still think that it was a bit of cultural vandalism.
“Still I had a wonderful time on the Archers, playing a popular character for such a long time.
“However, the Archers has such a big cast you can go for months without getting any work which can leave you in a difficult situation.
“So I am pleased to be here for 12 weeks and Salisbury Playhouse has a great buzz about it.”
Despite being involved with the Archers for more than three decades, Seed no longer listens to the show instead allowing people on social media to update him on the on the goings on of Ambridge and his former on-air wife Elizabeth.
Seed added: “I don’t think that Elizabeth will end up with Roy, he is a commoner and her employee after all.
“I think that the ghost of Nigel would come back and haunt her if she did.”
Tickets for Bedroom Farce are available from Salisbury Playhouse box office on 01722 320333 or salisburyplayhouse.com.