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Greg Hicks - The Dream of a Ridiculous Man Interview

Screen and stage star Greg Hicks is set to star in the one-man production of The Dream of a Ridiculous Man at Marylebone Theatre this spring. Adapted and directed by multiple Olivier Award-winning director and writer Laurence Boswell, this hot-button production is based on Dostoyevsky’s story of the same name. Exploring climate change, nationalist politicians and the impact of humans on the world around us, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man is a thought-provoking yet hilarious exploration of human nature.

Greg Hicks is a renowned stage and screen actor, who has played leading roles at the National and RSC for forty years, and starred in numerous productions in the West End and around the country, including the Olivier-winning Oklahoma! at the Young Vic, Ghosts at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre and Coriolanus at the Old Vic. His screen appearances include The Mercy and Hollywood blockbuster Snow White and the Huntsman.

On an uneventful Wednesday in East London, an ordinary man comes to the startling revelation that nothing matters. But before he uses the gun he just bought himself, he dreams of another world full of meaning – and is filled with the irresistible urge to tell as many people as possible about his dream – that happiness can be achieved, if only he could inspire them with his vision of a better world. This is going to be harder than he thought.

Dostoyevsky’s tragicomedy is transported from 19th century St Petersburg to 21st century London in this one-person tale of wonder with an urgent warning of our world. Tackling the climate crisis, human conflict and the rise of populism, this serious yet funny story of hope sets out to teach us that we can build a better world. Maybe.

With the production running at London’s Marylebone Theatre from Thursday 21st March – Saturday 20th April 2024, we caught up with Greg to learn more about the show. 

Where did your arts career begin?
My career began playing Shylock aged 11, and Malvolio under the wing of two brilliant English teachers. This track led all the way to the RSC in 1976.

How did you approach a career in the arts and sound?
I applied to Rose Bruford and I got a scholarship.

What attracted you to this piece?
This show fits exactly into where my psyche is at this time in my life.

Greg Hicks in rehearsals. Photo by Richard James Taylor

What do you think this piece says to an audience?
It’s a call to a new vision to humanity and the need for the virtues of mystery and compassion to be acknowledged

What pressure does performing in a solo show bring?
It’s just you and the audience, and because of that the responsibility sits on your shoulders. The direct relationship with the audience is both its vulnerability and its power, as in the old days with storytellers who were out there on their own, just themselves and the story. 

How did you approach bringing the text to life?
I surrender to the story. It’s a question of it’s not ‘of me’ but ‘through me’. I once worked with Cicely Berry at the RSC and she said something rather wonderful. She said ‘Don’t do Shakespeare, let Shakespeare do you.’ So that’s how I approach any text worth its salt. It’s not me doing it, it’s the text doing me. 

Did you have to do any research whilst developing your role?
Yes, I began to search for new approaches to mindfulness, I learned how to do some Qigong and some deeper forms of meditation. Also I kept myself very alive to what is going on in the contemporary world, because that is totally vital to this piece. 

How do you prepare for a show?
I do 45 minutes of yoga, pilates and capoeira. That’s my template for preparing my body, soul and mind for a show.  

If you could have dinner with 3 famous people, who would you invite and why?
Christopher Hitchens, Karl Jung and Keith Richards would be my three dinner party choices of the top of my head. Virginia Woolf if I can invite a fourth. 

If you were a biscuit, what biscuit would you be a why?
Florini al Cacao, which are those Italian chocolate-y biscuit things which people have with coffee. 

You can see Greg in The Dream of a Ridiculous Man at Marylebone Theatre from Thursday 21st March – Saturday 20th April 2024. Tickets are available from

Greg Hicks in rehearsals. Photo by Richard James Taylor.

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