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