Actor Joseph Kloska has been on our TV screens as the best mate of Rafe Spall in Pete Versus Life and he is on stage in French farce Boeing Boeing as the best buddy of hero Bernard.
“I’ve made a career so far of playing funny best friends. Hopefully it doesn’t stop here!” said Joseph, who is currently appearing at the Crucible.
In the play, set in Paris in the 1960s, Bernard is a playboy who keeps three relationships running with air hostesses from different countries, making use of the timetables to make sure they never meet up.
None of them is in danger of knowing about the others, until changes in the airline schedule threaten to bring the whole scheme crashing down around Bernard’s ears.
Joseph said: “It’s a great part. Robert is an outsider, a rural boy who turns up in the middle of this crazy city scene.
“He walks into a farce and has to somehow deal with it. He’s under huge pressure to keep up with the lies and he’s not very good at lying but he is somehow getting away with it every time.
“He learns quickly how to prevaricate, excuse and misdirect to comic effect.”
Joseph admits that it’s tricky keeping up the pace in the comedy. where timing is everything: “It’s a pressure cooker, which is why people like farces. The audience watch a situation being set up in front of them and see people having to deal with it.”
Being Bernard’s friend has its benefits for Robert. “He finds himself the innocent recipient of affections he wasn’t anticipating and thinks ‘perhaps there’s something in this for me’.
“Whether he can cope with this lifestyle is a big question, as well as whether Bernard or anyone can practically live like that.”
In the Channel 4 show, he plays Rob, whose mate Pete (Rafe Spall) is a would-be sports reporter who’s always getting into embarrassing situations. Two sports presenters keep up a running commentary on Pete’s mishaps.
Joseph added: “On TV I always seem to play best friends, as in Pete Versus Life. I must have the face for it. I’ve also done a lot of comedy generally.
“I’m used to running in and out of doors, as in Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. What I like about comedy is seeing characters cope under pressure.
“I do like Robert. He means well at all times. He’s very polite and he wants the best for everybody. That’s what’s likeable about him.
“He’s also someone who’s very open and lives for the moment. That’s what gets him in trouble.”
Joseph said that he has been to the Crucible before to see shows and has always wanted to work there.
“I love Sheffield. My friends came to live here years ago. Living here now is great and the people are lovely. You get this huge feeling of pride which is different to other places around the country.”
Boeing Boeing opens at the Crucible tonight and runs until June 7. Tickets: in person, online at www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call 0114 249 6000.