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By his own admission, Mathew Horne isn’t a big sleeper.
By the time most of have arisen, bleary-eyed, he’s often been awake for several hours, getting things done.
There’s a caffeine-fuelled energy about him when we meet at 9am on a Thursday morning.
He expectantly flicks the pencil he’s holding when I enter the room between his fingers. The actor might share a face with his best-known character – the affably bewildered Gavin Shipman in the hit TV comedy Gavin and Stacey – but, somehow surprisingly, that’s about it.
The play has been freely adapted by Sean Foley, who directed Horne in 2016’s touring The Catherine Tate Show Live. But Foley sat down and said, “ ‘I was just wondering what you were doing in January? Now well into rehearsals and, as instructed, already off book, Horne has discovered that The Miser – which he hadn’t known before – is “a fantastically brilliant comedy.Horne first heard about The Miser – which Foley is directing, after adapting it with regular collaborator Phil Porter – when the director excitedly told him about it over lunch during The Catherine Tate Show Live rehearsals. It’s plotted so neatly, it’s almost perfect in terms of a comic play”.“He got up and just started loosely playing all the characters,” recalls Horne, with a grin. It sounded like a really interesting, funny and exciting project.” After what Horne makes sound like a bashful courtship (he didn’t want to ask to be in Foley’s next project while they were still rehearsing The Catherine Tate Show Live), Foley turned up at his dressing room. For someone so interested in the mechanics and dynamics of comedy, “that’s a great place to work from”.His character has a pivotal role in terms of the plot, he says, so Horne has been focusing, “as any actor should, approaching this play”, on storytelling.