Today I am so pleased to have Madalyn Morgan sitting round my pool. I met Madalyn a few months ago on Social Media and from the first moment we exchanged comments I felt I had known this wonderful lady for years. Madalyn is a very talented lady in more ways than one, so without dropping names, please sit back, relax, enjoy a glass of bubbly and meet my lovely guest.
Thank you for inviting me to relax by your pool, Pauline.
Q: You are a multi-talented lady and amongst your many bows you are a successful actress please tell us about some of the parts you have played
I’d like to think I was multi-talented, Pauline, but I’m probably more a Jack-of-all-trades. Having said that, I have played some great female roles, most of them strong characters, and appeared in some wonderful productions. The plays range from ensemble pieces written after a week of improvisation at the University Theatre, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where I worked with Alfred Molina, to three weeks of rehearsal and beautiful costumes in the world premiere of Noel Coward’s, Semi-Monde, at the Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow. During my time there, I worked with Pierce Brosnan and Ciaran Hinds, to name but two extremely talented actors.
Semi-Monde by Noel Coward at The Citizen’s Theatre
One of the happiest years of my career was spent at the Young Vic Theatre in London. I played a variety of roles including, the prostitute in Godspell and Olivia in Twelfth Night. I have toured and worked in Rep, played in comedies by Alan Ayckbourn and classics by Ibsen, Middleton and Shakespeare. My television credits range from commercials to soaps including, Angels, The Bill, two children’s series for Chanel 5 and several plays for Independent television companies.
I’ve been thrown in at the deep end a few times. I was in, A Clockwork Orange, on the London Fringe, when I was asked to take over the female lead in George Orwell’s, Down And Out in Paris and London, at The Latchmere. I had from curtain down on Saturday night, until the dress rehearsal on Monday afternoon, to learn the lines. I opened word perfect and grew into the character during the week. Being a method actor it wasn't the way I liked to work, but it was a wonderful play and a great experience. The News Review was the fastest turnaround. We were given new, satirical, sketches every morning, written to reflect what was happening in the news. We learned them during the day and performed them the same night. I couldn’t do that now.
I love Shakespeare and was over the moon when I was asked to play Iras in Antony and Cleopatra with Vanessa Redgrave and Tim Dalton in the lead roles. With more than sixty characters in the play, and a company of only twenty-six actors, everyone had to understudy at least one character. I was given the job of understudying Cleopatra – a massive part and a huge responsibility. “Don’t worry,” the actor covering Antony said, “Vanessa’s never off.” We did a six week run at Theatr Clwyd, Mold, where, in my free time, I learned Cleopatra’s lines. I wasn’t going to wear egg on my face, if the worst happened.
Madalyn Morgan, Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Dalton in Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra transferred to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. And three weeks later Vanessa was off and I was on. I had two hours warning. The Equity Rep said I didn’t have to go on, because I hadn’t rehearsed as Cleopatra with Tim Dalton and the company. But I was young and ambitious, and saw it as an opportunity. The dressing room before the show was like Piccadilly Circus. My fellow cast members called in to wish me good luck, and give me cards and flowers. That night I played one of Shakespeare’s biggest female roles, in a famous London theatre, to an audience of thousands, and I was given a standing ovation.
The Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London
As in many professions, luck plays a big part in an actor’s career. The night before I played Cleopatra, Cubby Broccoli was in – and Tim Dalton became the next James Bond. The night after, Barbara Streisand and her entourage were there, and the night after that, Morgan Freeman and the director of the film he was making. However, the night I played Cleopatra, there was only a friend from my amateur dramatic days in the audience. Don’t get me wrong, it was lovely to see him, but I couldn’t help thinking how different my career might have been, if a film director had been in the audience on the night I played Cleopatra.
Q: Earlier this month you performed at the Leicester & Rustland AGM of the Women’s Institute, I believed you brought the house down with your rendition of Joyce Grenfell. Would you give us a little snap shot about the evening? (also add the link back to your Blog so that readers can read the full evening)
It was a super night. I chose Joyce Grenfell, because I thought the ladies would know her work, and they did. I hadn’t done stand-up for years and I was very nervous, but the audience were great; they laughed in all the right places.
I chose three sketches from Joyce Grenfell’s book, ‘George Don’t Do That.’ I wore a black trouser suit, so I could change my appearance by adding bits of costume before and after each sketch. Pearls and a black sequin stole for Mrs Fanshaw in "Stately As A Galleon." A spotted headscarf, tied in a knot at the top, and a 1950s bibbed-pinafore (thanks to ebay) for the cockney mum in, "Rainbow Corner.” And for the final sketch, a brown cardigan and brown-beige woollen scarf to play the nursery school teacher in, "Story Telling."
Q: As well as having many years successfully tripping the boards, you are a DJ on a London Radio station, what is this about?
The radio station, Raiders Broadcast, is in South London, where I lived for thirty-five years. Ten years ago, it was a life-saver. When my partner told me he no longer wanted me and moved into the spare room, my self-esteem and my confidence were at rock bottom. I’d given up my acting career to get a mortgage, I was working in a job I hated, and the man I loved was seeing someone else, while still living in our home. My life was a nightmare. Apart from the personal heartbreak, I was desperate to do something creative. I had done a writing Course with the Writers Bureau, so I began to write Foxden Acres. Because it’s set in the Second World War I needed to do some research. I visited my local bookshop, and while I was there I met the producer of Balham’s radio station. He asked me if he could interview me about being a local actress. And, while we were on air, he asked me to come back and talk about writing. That night another presenter asked if I’d write a ten-minute profile on rock bands and present it on his show. I did that for a year, and then one night the producer was a DJ short and asked me to present a show. That was in 2003. For seven years I presented The Madalyn Morgan Show, playing rock and pop every Wednesday at 7 o’clock. Now I live in the Midlands I only go down once a month. I still get a tremendous buzz out of it.
Q: And, if not being a successful actor and DJ is not enough, you are a writer too. Foxden Acres is your first novel, by the way, I loved this book, but I am not going to give anything away, so please tell us all about it?
Thank you, Pauline. I’m pleased you enjoyed it.
Foxden Acres begins on the eve of 1939 when twenty-year-old Bess Dudley, who is training to be a teacher in London, bumps into the heir of the Foxden Estate, where her father works for as a groom.
Bess and James played together as equals when they were children, but now James is engaged to the more socially acceptable Annabel Hadleigh.
Bess takes up a teaching post in London, but when war breaks out the children are evacuated. James joins the RAF, but before he goes off to train as a bomber pilot, he visits Bess and asks her to go back to Foxden and organise a troop of Land Girls, because the estate has to be turned into arable land.
Traditional barriers come crashing down when Flying Officer James Foxden falls in love with Bess. By this time, Bess has come to know and respect Annabel Hadleigh. Can she be with James if it means breaking her friend’s heart?
Besides, Bess has a shameful secret that she has vowed to keep from James at any cost…
Now for some quick fire questions, what is your favourite
- Colour - Red
- Food - Salmon
- Drink – Red Wine
- Style of music – R & B, guitar based Rock
- Flower or shrub - Poppy
Phew! I am breathless with all you do and thank you so much for sitting round my pool, I think we have drank all those bottles I chilled!
You can find out more about Madalyn by visiting her links and watching her fabulous trailers
Actress Trailer Madalyn Morgan Actress
Sketches Trailer Entertaining the WI with sketches by Joyce Grenfell
Radio Trailer Madalyn Morgan - Radio presenter
Foxden Acres Trailer Foxden Acres