West End stars – aged six months

IDENTICAL twins Charlie and Harry Warburton-Gates may be only six months old but they have landed a part in a West End play.

The little boys from New Haw are appearing in a new production, The Ferryman, at The Gielgud Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue.

The play – by Jez Butterworth, starring Paddy Considine and directed by the renowned Sam Mendes – requires two babies to be available each night, one on stage and one as a back-up.

Mum Lara Gates put them up for the part after hearing about the opportunity through her sister-in-law, whose two-year-old daughter is registered with an acting agency.

Charlie and Harry were snapped up at separate auditions, after the producers saw their photographs. It’s hard to tell the difference between, so they make the perfect team, able to be switched mid-performance if one gets grumpy.

“It’s been a really interesting experience”, said mum Lara Gates, who lives in New Haw with the twins’ dad, Chris Warburton, and their two-year-old brother, Edward. “It’s a pity in a way that they won’t remember any of it as they grow up.”

Lara gates with twins Charlie and Harry and their brother, Edward

The twins have proud grandparents who live in West Byfleet, Peter and Fran Holdsworth.

“They are very placid little boys and not thrown by the by the noise or the lights on stage,” said Peter. “One scene starts off with them on stage on their own in the dark and they are not worried by that at all.”

The Ferryman is set in Northern Ireland in the 1981, during the Troubles. Paddy Considine plays a farmer who has six children including the baby, and the cast of more than 20 also includes a live goose.

The farmer’s harvest celebrations are interrupted by the arrival of a stranger and the fate of a missing man triggers the action, which revolves around how the IRA controlled people’s lives.

Charlie and Harry each appear on stage about twice a week. “They enjoy all the attention and the cast make such a fuss of them,” said Lara. “It’s not too many children who will have a West End appearance on their CV before their first birthday.”

However, the boys’ first taste of the limelight is finite. Once they start to crawl – and perhaps resist staying in one place for their scenes – they will be replaced by a new pair of lookalikes.

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