Tal­ented Leith plays many roles

Whanganui Midweek - - PATH OF LIFE -

“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.

PIC­TURE / STU­ART MUNRO

Richard Leith (cen­tre) flanked by Er­rol Chris­tiansen (left) and Roger Bras­sell in Am­dram’s The Buddy Holly Story of 2007.

PIC­TURE / REUBEN JANES

Richard Leith.

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