Straight man Philip’s new theatre Throne

Straight: Philip McGinley as Waldorf at the Crucible Studio
Straight: Philip McGinley as Waldorf at the Crucible Studio
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NEW Game of Thrones star Philip McGinley is exchanging his archer’s uniform for a pair of boxer shorts for new play Straight at the Crucible Studio.

The actor, who appeared in Hobson’s Choice at the Crucible last year, is looking rather different, sporting a full beard that is useful for both roles. He plays the part of archer Anguy, a member of The Brotherhood in the third series of the hit fantasy show. He said: “I really enjoyed doing it. I am a big fan of the show.

“They film in lots of locations but I never got further than 10 minutes outside Belfast! My father’s from Belfast so it was nice to spend some time in a city close to my family.”

Philip, who had to learn to ride a horse for the role, said it was great fun trying on his costume for the first time, wondering how he was going to be able to move in it and finding it worked perfectly.

He filmed in Titanic Studios in Belfast and said: “They have top people there and the facilities they’ve built are great. The legacy left by it will be huge and they are making one of the most popular TV programmes at the moment.”

Philip was involved in another big hit when he played Liam Connor’s cousin Tom Kerrigan in Coronation Street in 2008. He said that although his character was not killed off when he was written out in 2009, his best friend was, so it wasn’t likely he’d return.

In Straight he plays Waldorf, who returns from travelling round the world and decides to drop in on Lewis, his best mate from university, and his wife, Morgan. She is played by Sheffield actress Jessica Ransom, who is scatty receptionist Morwenna in TV series Doc Martin. Waldorf picks up a young woman and she takes the two friends to a porn festival, where people make their own films to show. During a drunken night, the friends dare each other to make a gay porn film for the festival.

Realisation dawns when they sober up the next day. Both are adamant they are straight – but is there an attraction deep down? And neither wants to be seen as the one who backs down from a bet. Philip says the audience will be kept guessing until the final scene.

He said: “It’s very funny but probably ends up being tender. My character is just up for a dare. He’s considered it (being gay or straight) in his adolescence, in the way that most people are on the spectrum. It’s part of figuring out who you are but if you haven’t tried it you can’t truly know.”

He added: “It certainly occured to me as an adolescent. It’s just something you have to investigate when you’re forming your sexuality.

“It’s a very dark comic play. My character is very bold. He has some incredible swearing, flowery and very flamboyant. It’s very different from Hobson’s Choice. I’ve done some very dark stuff before. I was a phone sex operator who pretended to be a little girl in Herding Cats at the Hampstead Theatre.”

Straight has been adapted by local writer DC Moore from a film called Humpday and is being directed by Richard Wilson, star of Merlin and much loved for the role of Victor Meldrew from One Foot in the Grave.

Philip said: “I’m very glad to be back in Sheffield. I like it here and it’s great working with Daniel Evans and Richard.

“Sheffield is one of those cities that is quite relaxed and assured but not full of itself. Everybody’s active, cycling and bouldering and I’ve bought my bike here. It’s a real home from home.

“I feel welcome here and feeling that everyobody’s really happy for you to be up here. That’s why they get so many good people here.

Philip is busy at the moment and has just appeared in his first film, a comedy called Tested, with Emily Atack from The Inbetweeners. He plays a bridegroom who catches a sexually-transmitted disease just before his wedding and is aided and abetted in avoiding intimate situations with his bride by his best mate. He said: “It’s funny and silly really. We made it in Newcastle with a really young crew and a first-time director.

“We made it on a three-week shoot and had to go back to film the title sequence set at a stag party. We went all method acting for that: we went drinking and for a real curry. There was a real lapdance. I didn’t look, I promise!”

Straight is at the Crucible Studio from November 1 to 24.