Why go to the theatre if theatre can come to you?

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A MAN who gains access to people's homes carrying an assortment of little dolls and electrical equipment may seem to be in line for arrest or medical treatment. Actor Warwick Broadhead, however, asks for a pounds 300 fee, writes Vanessa Thorpe.

Mr Broadhead, a performance artist from New Zealand, offers a unique brand of Victorian parlour theatre to any patrons who like the idea of watching live drama from the comfort of their own armchair.

"I have performed to audiences as small as four," said Mr Broadhead, who studied dance in Fiji. "I don't mind at all."

His current production of Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark has picked up fans in London's smart set. In the past three months, he has performed the piece to audiences in Hampstead, Maida Vale and Kennington. "I came to Britain this year in order to do the Snark. After all, it is Carroll's centenary," Mr Broadhead said. "It is proving as popular here as it was in New Zealand. I actually received a standing ovation for my last performance."

Last month, Mr Broadhead, 53, was invited to take over the front room of the screen actress Kerry Fox's London home. Ms Fox, who starred in Welcome to Sarajevo, asked 20 friends round to join her in the audience.

"I tell the story using about 10 different character dolls and with lighting effects," Mr Broadhead said.

The idea for the one-man production came to him during a visit to India. "I was looking at the beautiful paintings they do in Rajasthan using a single camel hair," he explained, "and I thought to myself, 'I could do the whole thing in miniature'."