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Jack Herauville - Hamlet The Comedy (Oddsocks Theatre)

 Award-winning theatre company Oddsocks are heading back to Coventry's Belgrade Theatre this June with their new take on Shakespeare's most famous work in Hamlet The Comedy. 

The production promises to bring Shakespeare's tragedy to life like you've never seen before with lots of laughs, music and memorable music. The production runs in Belgrade's B2 from Tuesday 14th to Thursday 16th June. Tickets are available from Belgrade's website.

Ahead of the run cast member Jack Herauville talks all about what to expect from this new production.

Q: You’ve worked with Oddsocks before. Can you tell us when did you last work for Oddsocks and how did you originally come across the company?

Jack: I last worked with Oddsocks in January 2022 for a short stint at Jersey Arts Centre, in the Channel Islands. We did a double bill of Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth, which consisted of a weeks’ run. It was super delightful as we always love travelling over to Jersey to perform – it’s always just a pleasant and lovely experience.

Oddsocks have been on my radar for quite some time now, because I’m an actor that plays instruments and, of course, they tend to look out for actors that play a multitude of instruments. I have friends that have previously worked with Oddsocks and have always had good things to say. I’ve always had the ambition to work with Oddsocks, so when I received the audition last summer, I was thrilled to be a part of it all and I’ve never looked back.

Jack (right) working with Oddsocks.

Q: What is your fondest memory of working with Oddsocks?

Jack: The Channel Islands is always a huge highlight to any tour with Oddsocks. It’s just a brilliant atmosphere to be in during the performances and then after the show, you can always go and pick up a portion of chips and eat them on the beach. So, sometimes, it doesn’t always feel like you’re working.

Rehearsals are generally a fond memory as they’re always fun too. Although we work hard in rehearsals, it’s always light-hearted and we’re always laughing. So it’s a real genuine and comfortable atmosphere to be in. Discovering the comedic moments and fine-tuning them is a great element in rehearsals, it makes it exciting as Andy and Elli are always so good at making stuff so ridiculous (in a good way!).

Q: What character roles will you be taking on in Hamlet The Comedy? Do you have any ideas how you’re going to interpret those characters?

Jack: I’ll be playing the role of Laertes and Polonius, which are two opposite ends of the spectrum, even though they are father and son. One inspiration behind the angle of the production is a Viking, Game of Thrones stylistic approach. Laertes is going to be this big Viking warrior character… think full toxic ‘alpha’ male and masculinity. Polonius will be the dithering old fool, which will be a familiar character; last year I played Aegeon Oddsocks’ The Comedy of Errors, who was also a dithering old fool! So it’s familiar territory and a type of character I love to portray.

Q: Oddsocks have a very distinct performance style, particularly involving the audience and having a lot of fun, but is it as fun as it looks?

Jack: Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of it. It is genuinely fun… The whole joy I get from working with Oddsocks is that I’m genuinely enjoying my time working with them when I’m there. As an actor within the company, you’ve got to learn to ride it, have fun with it, otherwise the audience won’t have fun with you either. As I’ve said before, we’re always laughing together as a cast, so when we are able to interact and involve the audience in that environment too, it’s just a great response.

No one ever gets away with anything either – so if something goes wrong, or someone forgets a line, it’s all part of the fun and the audience go along with it too. I think that’s why Oddsocks audience keep coming back, because there’s the connection between cast and audience, we like to keep the audience involved throughout the performance. Lastly, we all expect the unexpected, which in turn makes the performance and the whole experience even funnier and entertaining.

Of course, last year there were heavy restrictions so we were still able to interact with the audience but at a distance… which was, perhaps, a good thing so that we didn’t steal any picnics. That could all change this year, so keep hold on your sandwiches… and scotch eggs!

Q: How does Oddsocks’ rehearsal and creation period differ to other works you have been involved with?

Jack: It’s a collaborative approach with Oddsocks, you’re all mucking in together and it’s great. You gain a sense of camaraderie as you’re rehearsing all week Monday to Friday and then Saturdays, we use as ‘tech days’. So we’re making set, props (some good and bad from myself personally but it’s all part of the fun of it), sorting all the finer details which allow the performance to work seamlessly. I mean, I’ve learned how to use power tools now – a new skill for me there!

Q: What would you tell audiences to expect from Oddsocks’ production of Hamlet The Comedy?

Jack: If you’ve not seen an Oddsocks production, then expect a really funny night or day out. Expect the unexpected. As I’ve said before, things may go wrong but it’s all part of the fun and comedic effect. Expect to be tapping your foot along to a classic tune and some great music, some awesome handmade sets.

Hamlet the Comedy arrives at the Belgrade Theatre from Tues 14 – Thurs 16 June 2022. Tickets can be booked by phoning the Box Office on 024 7655 3055 (phone lines open 10:30am – 2pm, Mon – Sat), or visiting where tickets are even cheaper.

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