Sky's the limit at Sheffield Crucible Theatre for Guys and Dolls star Kadiff Kirwan of Fleabag fame

Starring in Guys and Dolls at the Crucible has brought back happy memories for Fleabag and Timewasters star Kadiff Kirwan.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 4:02 pm
Updated Friday, 27th December 2019, 12:17 pm
Kadiff Kirwan and Alex Young as Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls

The actor who plays high-rolling gambler Sky Masterson in the Sheffield theatre's hit festive musical said: “We did Guys and Dolls at drama school, it was one of our third-year shows. I played Nicely Nicely Johnson.

“I never thought of myself as Sky Masterson. When Rob (director Rob Hastie) asked me to be to be a part of it, I didn’t know what role he meant but I thought Sky would be really, really, really great.

“I am thrilled and pleased to be doing it.”

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He said of his character: “He’s created his reputation by doing great bets. He’s very suave and always sharply dressed and has the social confidence of being an American in the 1950s.”

Kirwan said that falling in love with street missionary Sarah Brown takes Sky by surprise when he invites her to Cuba to win a bet. “Luck in love is something he's never sought. It’s a bit of a moment of ‘WTF’, what’s this?

“She’s much more of a straight-laced person. He’s a straight shooter. You know where you stand with Sky. It’s probably why his reputation has stayed intact.”

The interaction between them intrigues him: “Sarah Brown is not just a prim and proper girl who is going to let a man do what he wants. She’s not shy to ask questions to Sky, like when she ask him ‘Does this drink have alcohol in it’?”

He reckons she knows what she’s up to and the couple are playing games with each other.

Kirwan loves the show: “It is such a classic piece. It’s 69 years old and was a hit on Broadway in 1959. It’s tricky in certain places and rather sexy in places.”

He’s been to the Crucible a few times: “I was watching Everybody’s Talking About Jamie the last time I was in Sheffield. It stays with me. It’s had such a commercial success.

“The power of Sheffield theatre has run far and wide with shows such as Life of Pi and Standing at the Sky’s Edge.”

Kirwan said: “I’d not done theatre for five years as I’ve been doing theatre and film. I was initially terrified about going back to theatre but it’s actually why I took the job.

“I’ve done a couple of musicals in my time but never a leading man. I’m always the best friend, a situation I sit in quite well. I’m alright with that. Now I’m front and centre with nothing to hide behind!”

The actor said he would love to do all three lead parts in the show: “Nicely Nicely when I’m in my early 40s and Nathan a bit later on! I might even be Adelaide one day, who knows...”

Kirwan starred in Timewasters, a BAFTA-nominated ITV2 comedy about a south London jazz band who travel back in time to the 1920s but get stranded there when their time machine disappears.

He said: “It was two series and that’s it for the show, which is a massive shame. We’re all such good friends with each other and speak a couple of times a week.

“It was a wonderful show. I loved every single minute of it.”

Kirwan reckons the tide is now turning for black actors and is creating his own work, a semi-autobiographical story about his youth, growing up in Preston.

He was inspired by another actor and writer, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who cast him as hairdresser Anthony in her huge hit, Fleabag.

He said: “If you can laugh about it, you can cry about it. It’s the best way into things.”

Guys and Dolls is at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield until January 18. Box office: www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call 0114 249 6000.