ANOTHER night shift, the smell of bread baking and the industrial thump of machines that never stop.
Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is about to be transformed for a revival of Richard Bean’s critically-acclaimed Toast.
Veteran baker Walter Nelson will be played by Matthew Kelly: well known to TV viewers as presenter of You Bet! and Stars In Their Eyes – but did you know he is also an Olivier Award-winning actor?
Toast is the story of seven in-credible – and real – blokes in a bakery in Hull, 1975,” he explains. “It was during the days when health and safety wasn’t an issue and into their midst comes a strange man. Who is he really and are his predictions of imminent death really true?
Kelly explains why he loves his role as ‘Nellie’ Nelson: “He’s a man who has worked at the factory all his life. He’s like the walking dead – battered by a lifetime of labour – but is the emotional heart of the play.
“It’s a big-hearted, moving play about real people within a real community, and I feel honoured to be playing one of them again. Oh, and of course it’s very funny!”
Matthew returns to the role, having first played it back in 2014 but says he couldn’t resist another go, given his love of the work of playwright Bean.
“I loved One Man, Two Guvnors and have always been aware of his work,” raves the Lancashire-born actor, adding: “Richard is a very witty man and it’s been an ambition of mine to work with him for a very long time.”
Appearing at Guildford will also be a pleasure for the experienced performer: “I love working in the provinces much more than in the West End because you’re performing among a community, and that’s very important to me,” he explains.
However, he admits that he can’t wait to take Toast to New York later in the year: “I’ve actually never played New York so it’s absolutely thrilling to be going there with Toast,” he says.
“Off Broadway is especially ex-citing because the venue we’re going to [59E59] is hugely re-spected and well known in Britain but you don’t have the huge pressure of the big Broadway venues.”
Matthew Kelly will star in Toast at the Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre from Monday (21 March) until Saturday 26 March. Phone 01483 440000 for ticket details.