Talented Leith plays many roles
“I remember my first instrument. When I was about 3 years old my father gave me a little harmonica with a little book of tunes. I just loved it and played it all the time,” says Richard Leith when I reminded him that I’d first met him when he played the lead in Buddy Holly.
Richard was ideal for that role being so musical himself. As well as the guitar, Richard plays the piano, bass guitar and is also a singer.
“Playing Buddy Holly was my return to theatre as I’d had a break when I was studying and raising a young family. Before going to Victoria University I had been in a lot of shows, playing parts with the Kapiti Coasters. My Dad played the lead in Showboat and I was Kurt von Trapp in The Sound of Music when I was about 9 or 10. I did a lot of shows with the Kapiti Coasters and a lot with Paraparaumu College.”
We are lucky to have him treading the boards at Rep as he’s a busy criminal defence lawyer who also acts as an advocate for the mentally ill, those who’re unable to speak for themselves, and conducts audits for other legal aid providers. He has a family of six to consider as well. They include identical twin girls who’re now 2 years old. A proud dad, he showed me photos of them. They are delightful.
Richard is delighting in his role in Dick Whittington and His Cat. During the first cast read through I noticed his grin growing broader as he read. It is very funny.
“My role? Well it keeps changing. At first I’m a sailor but I gradually transition as I reveal my true colours. I’m a receiver and I don’t get on well with Dick’s Cat.”
No doubt Richard’s extensive theatrical experience will shine through while we watch the sailor and the Cat resolve their differences . . . It’ll be interesting to see who has the upper hand in that area of conflict.
Richard Leith (centre) flanked by Errol Christiansen (left) and Roger Brassell in Amdram’s The Buddy Holly Story of 2007.