The return of Bruno
ACTOR Bruno Langley is in it for the long run.
He has two marathon TV shows on his CV, Coronation Street (52 years old in December) and Doctor Who (33 years in two stretches on BBC1).
But he admits to feeling the weight of history when he accepted a role in the world-record-breaking theatre show The Mousetrap, which turns 60 next month.
"I did feel the history as soon as I learned I'd got the part," he says of the Agatha Christie whodunit, which visits the Theatre Royal Plymouth from Monday to Saturday next week.
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"The chance of being in something so iconic is just so exciting."
Bruno's face is best known from his role as Todd Grimshaw, Corrie's first openly gay character, in three stints, most recently last year.
He materialised in the time-travelling sci-fi show for a couple of episodes in 2005.
His stage work includes a well-received run of Romeo and Juliet at Stafford Castle. Plus, proving that he can get stuck into work that is younger than he is (29), Bruno appeared in Night Sky, a play exploring cutting edge knowledge of the brain and the cosmos, in the West End with Christopher Eccleston and Saffron Burrows.
There was also a UK tour of a revival of kitchen sink drama A Taste of Honey, which toured the UK.
And the world premiere of Flashdance The Musical brought him to Plymouth in 2008.
The song-and-stage version of the dance-and-dreams film was created at TR2, the Theatre Royal's production centre in Cattedown before the two-week opening and the UK tour that followed. With the lengthy rehearsal period that meant an extended stay in Plymouth for Bruno.
"I had a great time in Plymouth," he says. "I have very happy memories. I'm looking forward to coming back."
Before he could think of a return he had to think through the process of stepping into a play that is a cultural phenomenon.
Famous names have come and gone – the original West End run saw Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sim – as The Mousetrap goes on and on.
"The first thing I wanted to do was to go and see the play," says Bruno. "It was something that I'd never done. There's a feeling that you don't ever have to go because it will always be on for you to see some time in the future.
"But the director asked me not to. He wanted me to bring my own character so that it becomes more believable."
Bruno plays Giles Ralston, owner of the country guest house where the murderous action is set.
He's a country lad himself. He was born in Norfolk where his Australian parents were living "in what was basically a hippy commune" after breaking their worldwide travels.
He grew up in Derbyshire and trained at the North Cheshire Theatre School. The Coronation Street role first came his way (in 2001) when he was still a teenager.
Bruno insists that playing the same role every night in a play is not so different from being a character in a TV soap.
"You are doing the same thing, really, whether it is in front of the cameras or in front of an audience: making it sound like the words are coming out of your mouth for the first time."
With great material such as The Mousetrap, that is not difficult, he says.
"The reason why it has been going for 60 years is that it's a great play. But obviously I'm biased!"
The Mousetrap runs at the Theatre Royal from Monday to Saturday next week. For tickets contact the box office on 01752 267222 or atwww.theatreroyal.com