Cen­tre stage

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - The Shape I’m In - — Irene Feighan

RYAN An­drews may be just 24 years old but al­ready he’s a stage and screen veteran. He’s been work­ing pro­fes­sion­ally as an ac­tor since he was 10 years old, star­ring in The Clinic, Pros­per­ity and RTÉ’s hit soap Fair City where he plays the role of Sean Cas­sidy. But it’s the stage “all day long” that gives him the real buzz.

“When you get your five-minute call, then you get your begin­ner’s call and you’re on stage — just as the mu­sic is play­ing and the cur­tain goes up — that’s my adrenalin,” he says of his years spent at the Olympia’s pan­tomime, where he now plays the lead male role.

Star­ing along­side him from the early days are co­me­dian Al Porter and his girl­friend Michaela O’Neill, with whom he runs StageKidz Academy. “We’re there since Bugsy Malone 13 years ago — we’re the only three left.”

True to form, Porter likes to go off script on stage and see where it leads. “Things can get out of hand. I’d corpse eas­ily and Al knows this so all of a sud­den we’re in the mid­dle of the stage — and he’ll walk onto a scene that he’s not even in­volved in and start hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion. The au­di­ence loves it and they go mad and he keeps push­ing.”

Ryan An­dews stars in Polly and the Beanstalk, Fri­day, De­cem­ber 15 to Sun­day, Jan­uary 7 at the Olympia The­atre.

What shape are you in? I’m in rel­a­tively good shape com­ing up to pan­tomime sea­son. It’s a gru­elling sched­ule with two shows a day for a four-week run. You have to have a high level of fit­ness to keep that up. I go to the gym four to five times a week. I lift weights and take classes in­clud­ing TRX, ket­tle­bells and spin­ning.

What are your health­i­est eat­ing habits?

I think break­fast is the most im­por­tant meal of the day. I have por­ridge with blue­ber­ries and gra­nola and a pro­tein shake, made with whey. Mid-morn­ing I would have an omelette with spinach, to­ma­toes and pep­pers. But the healthy eat­ing slips later on in the af­ter­noon.

What are your guilti­est plea­sures?

Chicken tikka masala from Tadka House in Rath­mines or a spice box with chicken, chips and chilli from a Chi­nese. I will eat healthily for five days and at the week­end all hell breaks loose.

What would keep you awake at night?

The stage school is putting on a show at the O’Reilly The­atre in Belvedere Col­lege next year. Michaela and I are plan­ning that rig­or­ously from sets, to cos­tumes to playlists, to the lo­gis­tics in­volved. It’s keep­ing us up in a good way.

How do you re­lax? Dur­ing the day I like to grab a cof­fee and wind down for a while. Some­times Michaela and I might go out for a meal and leave the panto and Stage Kidz at the door. This morn­ing I took Ralph — a cocker spaniel — out for a walk.

Who would you in­vite to your dream din­ner party? Conor McGre­gor. I’ve been a huge fan from day one. Also, Matt Da­mon, I think he’s in­cred­i­ble. My dad and I have watched the Bourne tril­ogy at least 50 times. And Rory McIl­roy. I would love to get some point­ers from the world num­ber one.

What’s your favourite smell? My mam’s cook­ing. She works in M&S in Grafton St but she al­ways has the din­ner pre­pared for us. She’s a typ­i­cal Ir­ish mammy. I’m very close to my Mam and Dad. I still live at home in Don­aghmede.

What would you like to change about your ap­pear­ance?

Maybe I’d keep fit and healthy all year round. Once you break the rhythm it can be dif­fi­cult to get back into it.

When is the last time you cried?

I’m not a crier. But, about three years ago, I did cry the day my dog An­gel, a minia­ture York­shire ter­rier, passed away. I had her for 16 years.

What traits do you least like in oth­ers?

Ru­de­ness. Good man­ners are fun­da­men­tal. That was the first thing I learned from a young age. It doesn’t cost any­thing to say hello, please and thank you. I be­lieve you should treat oth­ers the way you want to be treated your­self.

What traits do you least like about your­self?

I’m not tech or so­cial me­dia savvy. I never played com­puter games grow­ing up — I was work­ing from a young age.

Do you pray? I have a faith but I wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily go to Mass or pray ev­ery sin­gle night. But then I don’t pray when I want some­thing. I’m very grate­ful for what I have.

What would cheer up your day?

Com­ing up to Christ­mas, walk­ing around town with all the lights, the buzz.

“It’s a gru­elling sched­ule with two shows a day”

Pic­ture: Tom Ho­nan

STAND­ING TALL: Ac­tor Ryan An­drews eats well and looks af­ter his fit­ness, but cuts loose at week­ends.

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