Matthew Ganley’s ‘popping in’ for Christmas

Matt Ganley

Salford born Matthew Ganley will be returning home for Christmas this year. The local actor has spent 2017 touring theatres across the UK in the stage adaption of ‘Around The World In 80 Days’ which ends its tour at The Lowry Tue 5 Dec 2017 – Sun 7 Jan 2018. Nikki Hull from Opening Night interviewed him ahead of his return to Salford.

You play lots of different characters in the show, how do you tackle ensuring each is different from the last and easily identifiable?

The writing does a lot of the work. Travelling around the world, the script often informs us of which accent or language to adopt for each character. In rehearsals, we fleshed out each character by looking at their specific attitudes and mannerisms, finding their individuality and their truth. It’s a sincere show, yet it never takes itself too seriously. Through all these characters the trick was harnessing that playfulness whilst maintaining the integrity of the story.

We saw the show back in 2014 at the Royal Exchange in the round, how will the staging change for the Quays Theatre?

At the Royal Exchange it was in the round. It’s now in an end on, pros arch format. The essence of the show is exactly the same as it was. It’s still playful and very funny. There’s a transparency and a boldness in this format. The visual openness of pros arch makes it a real shared experience

You play the role of Colonel Proctor, can you tell us about your character and where he fits into the storyline?

Colonel Proctor is my favourite character to play. He’s has a big heart and an even bigger mouth… a bold, gun slinging, hard as nails, well meaning, principled, loud and proud American who bumps into Fogg on the train from San Francisco to New York. He taunts Fogg and criticises his card playing ability blaming it on the fact he’s an Englishman. Fogg feels dishonoured and challenges him to a duel but the train is suddenly ambushed by outlaws and a shootout ensues. Fogg and Proctor become allies ‘in pursuit of the greater good’ when the outlaws kidnap Passepartout. They set out to save him and if you’re unfamiliar with what happens next, you’ll have to book tickets to find out…wink wink.

It’s such a fast-paced and busy show, have you or any of the cast had any mistiming disasters and if so how did you work around them?

On a seven month tour it can happen, a bump here and a twist there. There’s been nothing I would describe as disastrous but a few minor injuries. It’s such a physical piece it’s par for the course really but we’re all good at adapting and making sure the show always runs smoothly.

What do you think audiences will enjoy most about this production?

The epic journey and the funny bits. The comedy in ’80 Days’ is clever yet accessible and there’s license for our audiences to be loud, join in and become part of the action. We bring the audience along with us for the ride and as a result they invest and have a real emotional stake in the experience.

How does it feel to be working with many of the original cast?

Great. I really appreciate how welcoming they’ve been and open to my input. It’s a such a strong ensemble and I never once felt like a newbie.

Are you looking forward to returning to The Lowry?

Yes, I always look forward to working at The Lowry. It’s such a bright and buzzing place. It’s a real supportive hub for grass roots work as well as a wonderfully welcoming host for touring and commercial work.

And lastly, since you’ll be in Salford for Christmas can you share with us any Christmas traditions you have?

We always have mushy peas with our Christmas dinner. I had no idea this was so controversial until recently. It really splits opinion but I’m ‘Team Mushies’ all the way.

‘Around The World In 80 Days’ comes to The Lowry Tue 5 Dec – Sun 7 Jan. For more information and tickets visit the website or call box office on 0843 208 6000.