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Theatre and Dance

Brian Capron in Guys and Dolls
Brian Capron as Nathan Detroit

The life of Brian

The BBC Leeds website caught up with actor Brian Capron, best known as dastardly Richard Hillman in Coronation Street. We chatted at the Queen's Hotel as he's working in Leeds starring in the musical Guys and Dolls at the Grand.

Unlike his other two co-stars, Claire Sweeney and Ben Richards, Brian does not have a background in musical theatre but he has found the experience a good one.

"It's been a fantastic experience so I've come into it from a completely different trajectory.

"I am not really a singer but my role, Nathan Detroit, has two character songs and doesn't need a great voice. I've loved taking up musical theatre and I think I've acquitted myself well.

Guys and Dolls
Every song a winner >

Now Brian finds himself finishing a UK tour with the production at the Grand. And it is all thanks to his portrayal of the murderous Richard Hillman in Corrie. Brian is very pleased with the high profile his soap character achieved.

"Guys and Dolls has rehabilitated me as an actor not a murderer!"

"Playing Richard Hillman had a massive impact on my career. Coronation Street was a bit down in the dumps but the team pulled it round and spotted the potential in the Hillman character.

"Sometimes people say 'Does being well known for that single role get on your nerves?' but it doesn't. It was a little iconic moment and means I don't have to prove myself. I played him with a theatrical side so there was just the hint of a pantomime villain, the viewer could love to hate him and yet see some lovely dark humour in him.

"I tried to play him as a pyschopath - the sort of ordinary guy who washed his car on Sundays but was capable of murder."

Perhaps Brian's on-screen portrayal was just a little too successful though

"I did get thumped once by one mad, old lady in Scotland who thought I WAS Richard Hillman."

Brian started his acting career in rep around 30 years ago but still he worried about transferring his skills to Guys and Dolls.

"It was daunting but I got a terrific lot of help and expertise and you gain in confidence during the rehearsals.

"Nathan is onstage for the first 20 minutes of the show and sets up the whole piece with his American twang. For that first entrance I've got to have lots of energy and drive but make all the dramatic points. The first night I stood in the wings I thought 'Oh my God' - now I love that bit."

Guys and Dolls is at the Grand Theatre Tuesday 26 June to Saturday 7 July 2007.

last updated: 08/06/07
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