On Tour

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The Independent Culture
Just after I left college I toured around schools in France, then I took two years off, before taking Anorak of Fire to the Fringe last year. We were put in a small room in the Assembly Rooms and we completely sold out. Then we took the show to the West End for 100 performances. It's only the third week of the tour at the moment, but in terms of audiences it's still doing really well. The Everyman in Liverpool has been the biggest venue so far, about 400. Tuesday night was excellent: you just get a few in who don't care and laugh their heads off, then the whole thing takes on a life of its own.

It's just me on stage in the show, extolling the virtues of train-spotting. The writer, Stephen Dinsdale, met someone about 20 years ago called Gus Gascoigne, who fitted the prototype, and he wanted to immortalize him. I've been playing the same character for over a year now and sometimes I think, why am I doing this? Then I get a second wind. There are times when I run through little sections and I feel I haven't put anything into it, but then I'll find new things to spur me on.

Going from place to place can be very disorientating, but at least it keeps me interested, as I've never seen most of England before. I still get nervous, because I worry whether I'm doing the character justice and then realise that it's a very different experience, me doing it every night and someone seeing it for the first time.

James Holmes is currently touring with 'Anorak of Fire' at the Dublin Festival to 8 Oct, Oxford Playhouse 10-12 Oct (0865 798600). Tour continues until 2 Feb

(Photograph omitted)

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