Warwick Davis excited about Reduced Height's stint at Richmond Theatre

Rehearsals: The Reduced Height Theatre Company

Rehearsals: The Reduced Height Theatre Company

First published in News Richmond and Twickenham Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

From speaking to Warwick Davis as he drives to Coventry for the opening of See How They Run, it is obvious he has been waiting a long time for this moment.

After a lifetime on the big screen, appearing in the likes of Star Wars and Harry Potter, he is at last making the transition to the stage as producer and actor.

His classic farce comes to Richmond Theatre and will be performed along with the rest of the Reduced Height Theatre Company, formed by Davis last year.

He says: “I formed the company to produce this show so it was partly for selfish reasons because I wanted to be in a play.

“I love going to see plays, classic genres such as mysteries, comedies and although I've done a great range of different things, I have never been offered a play as such.

“This is all about levelling the playing field - the feeling among other small actors was that the work they were getting wasn’t challenging enough.

“There are no short jokes, it is a play that just happens to be performed by a group of short actors.

“It has a reduced set as well will was hugely important to me because after a few minutes, the audience forgets they are watching short actors - it shouldn’t matter.”

He describes See How They Run as a typical farce with lots of doors opening and closing, people coming and going, mistaken identities and even the odd vicar or two.

And Davis admits he does not mind people talking about and quizzing him on his dwarfism.

“It is fine because I am just as curious about them as they are about me,” he says.

“I get asked questions like ‘how do you drive a car?' and I really want to be able to say I use the power of thought or something equally mystical but it really is as mundane as pedal extensions.

“It is educating people about people who are different when really we are all the same, aren’t we? I want to leave a legacy for short actors.”

While many short actors can only look forward to the pantomime season, something Davis is working hard to change, the 44-year-old from Epsom has enjoyed a huge amount of success in his acting career.

Having played a range of characters in Harry Potter and taking the lead in Willow, he says he is now taking parts where his height is irrelevant.

He says: “My character in Doctor Who had nothing to do with my height and that is becoming more and more the case.

“Auditioning is something I have to do, not as much as I did, but I still do it and ultimately the best man wins.

“I have been working with these short actors and it has been a steep learning curve for some - there will be more competition when another audition comes up so perhaps I have shot myself in the foot.”

Apart from starring in Hollywood, Davis is also known for his friendship with comedian Ricky Gervais which led to a role in Extras and his own sitcom Life’s Too Short.

His first conversation with Gervais involved The Office creator pitching a scene in Extras where he knees Davis in the head, knocking him out.

“It wasn’t a hard sell for him to knee my in the head, I told him that it would be an honour,” he says.

“We stayed friends and I pitched Life’s Too Short to him and Steve Merchant to see what they thought - they liked it and said they wanted to do it which was obviously fantastic.”

Gervais later paired him up with the spherical-headed Karl Pilkington, sending them on the trip of a lifetime together as part of An Idiot Abroad 3.

He says: “I was a big fan of Karl before, I used to listen to the podcasts so wanted to meet him.

“I said to Ricky that Karl didn’t realise how lucky he was going off to all these amazing places and he said he wouldn't do another series unless someone went with him.

“I knew more about him than he knew about me so I knew what he was like going in - Karl is Karl.

“It was amazing doing it, I have never had a trip like it.”

See How They Run; Richmond Theatre, the Green, Richmond; March 24-29, evening and matinee performances; tickets £11.90-£35.40; visit atgticket.com/venues/richmond-theatre for further information.

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