Caro Meets Theatre Interview

Chris Mellor: Three Days and Three Minutes With Larry

By | Published on Wednesday 9 March 2016


If you are as old as me, and your family watched television when you were growing up, I’d say that there’s a high chance you have distinct memories of TV turn Larry Grayson. ‘Three Days And Three Minutes With Larry’ is a play about the late comedian and presenter, dealing with one particular facet of his life.
To find out more, I had a quick chat with writer Chris Mellor, who also runs the Lion and Unicorn Theatre, where the show will be staged.

Caro: Obviously the show is about Larry Grayson, but what is the angle? Does it focus on one particular time or element in his life?
Chris: This is a play that focuses on the three days in Larry’s life leading up to his three minute slot at the Royal Variety show in 1994. We go backstage and learn how Larry befriended a spiritual medium to help him get his act together. So we see the spiritual side of Larry’s life, and how it influenced the former Generation Game host.

Caro: What made you want to write a play about him?
Chris: I heard a lot of stories from a psychic friend about his time with Larry, and I thought it was a good frame to look at his life through. I soon discovered there were many male mediums in his life.

Caro: Did you do lots of research into his life? Did you find out anything that surprised you?
Chris: Yes, I researched the Grayson family archive, his agents’ collection as well as the local and national museums. I did find a photo in the Nuneaton Tribune of Larry’s engagement to Mary Mudd from the pop group the Mudlarks in 1959. An event that is seldom referred to by the family.

Caro: Do you yourself have any interest in matters ‘spiritual’?
Chris: I am interested in spiritual matters, yes, and I know a few psychic mediums.

Caro: Can you tell us about your cast for the play?
Chris: We have cast Ian Parkin from 4 Poofs and a Piano as Larry. Ian is a trained actor from the Midlands and knows how to do ‘camp’ very well. We cast gay comedian Lee Peart from Salford as Larry’s psychic friend. Lee looks like an angel, and has all the northern credentials.

Caro: This show is part of your first season at the helm of the Lion and Unicorn, isn’t it?
Chris: Yes, indeed. I have just recently taken over at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre. It is an off-west end fringe venue in Kentish Town, which allows us a space to try out new work and collaborate with a range of great actors and directors. We offer pre-theatre dining, and plays for a tenner – it’s a great value night out.

Caro: What else do you have planned for the venue in the near future?
Chris: The season at the Lion and Unicorn includes a ‘Richard the Third’ in which the audience are the cast, a new play about another dead comedian, Frank Carson, as well as some pre Edinburgh Festival comedy and loads of new and bizarre work in August’s Camden Fringe programme.

Caro: What will happen to ‘Three Days’ after the London dates? Are there touring plans?
Chris: ‘Three Days and Three Minutes with Larry’ will tour around the UK in April, and also visit the Museum of Comedy in Bloomsbury and Barking’s Broadway Theatre.

‘Three Days and Three Minutes with Larry’ is on at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre from 14-22 Mar and 28 Mar-2 Apr. See this page here to book your tickets, and this page here if you want to know about further tour dates.