ONE thing young actor Isaac Ssebandeke doesn’t want be is a cliched broke actor.
So the young star of Crucible Studio comedy hit One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show has been ensuring he successfully juggles his latest role with the final year of his management degree course at Sheffield University.
With appearances in TV shows Skins and Holby as well as last year’s brilliant Studio offering There’s Only One Wayne Matthews under his belt, some students would have dropped out to focus on where the cash was coming from.
“There were moments when I was thinking I should,” he admits, “but I’m not someone who starts something and doesn’t finish it regardless of the obstacles that come my way or things I miss because I’m at uni.”
While Isaac admits he has struck lucky with the timing of lectures and performance times and plays falling outside of term time, he’s already plotting to use his degree as a back-up plan by launching an inter-cultural clothing range next year.
“I’m going to be doing the acting, 100 per cent, but I don’t want the course to go to waste,” he says.
“Acting is a business and it is my first love and is going to be my main mission in life. At the same time sometimes you’ve got to be realistic, otherwise you end up doing things because you need the money.
“Once you finish (your degree) you’ve got it and you can go and enjoy an acting career. There will be other chances. I have no plans to fail.”
In the laugh-out-loud One Monkey the chirpy 21-year-old plays Felix, the reluctant preppy son of a family who have moved into a middle class suburb of Philadelphia.
While preacher dad Avery (Roger Griffiths) and desperate to fit in mum Myra (Jocelyn Jee Esien) have their own issues, he aspires to find girls and gets a very grown up slice of romantic drama.
“The way they treat him it’s no wonder he wants to go and try and do his own thing. The kid’s really belittled. His own mum calls him Junior.
“He really does have to hold his own, but still he has respect for his parents and he’s a respectable son. That’s why he feels he has to get out of the house to achieve the stuff he wants to because the nice little home his mum has picked out... he doesn’t want to ruin that. He has aspirations to go out there and find girls and listen to funk and enjoy life as a ‘70s boy.”
Taking advice from cool club owner Caleb (a stand-out shift from Daniel Francis), he ends up in turmoil as all around him have their own social and sexual frustrations to confront.
For Isaac, the play – which ends its run on Saturday before a UK tour – further completes a promise he made to himself in 2008 while the Crucible was under-going a multi-million pound transformation.
“It was in dark and I looked through and said ‘one day I will perform in this theatre’ and a year later...
“So I will always have a soft spot. I’ve grown to love Sheffield and I will always come back to the Crucible.”