Third time’s a charm for theatre stalwart

Barry Macdonald and cast members take part in rehearsals for the Invercargill Musical Theatre’s production of Les Miserables on Sunday.

PLAYING the part of a dastardly, despicable and awful character is a challenge but it is one thespian Barry Macdonald keeps coming back to.

Macdonald will play Monsieur Thenardier in the Invercargill Musical Theatre’s (IMT) production of Les Miserables which opens next month.

It is the third time he will take on the persona of the villainous and evil inn-keeper, having played it in IMT’s past two Les Miserables shows in 1994 and 2001.

Macdonald wasn’t even considering going back for a third time.

However, after being asked by a couple of people, he changed his mind.

‘‘I thought ‘why not’ and I knew there was going to be a different director (Lisa-Jane Easter) and thought ‘well it’s going to be a challenge’.’’

He auditioned and got the part, and will team up with his on-stage wife Ruth McSoriley (Madame Thenardier) as they go about their vile business.

While the role called for evil, it was also somewhat comedic and Macdonald said Monsieur Thenardier did get led astray by his wife.

“She’s even perhaps more vicious than what Thenardier is.

“She’s the brains and he’s the front of house, so to speak.”

For Macdonald, the show will bring about a 41-year association performing in IMT shows.

His first production was in Fiddler on the Roof for the Invercargill Operatic Society in 1974.

He has since performed in musicals with the company as well as in plays for the Invercargill Repertory Society.

All while he juggles his day job as a beef and cattle farmer in Central Southland.

Macdonald loves treading the boards as he gets satisfaction from being in another world when he takes to the stage while still keeping within the context of the character and sticking to the director’s instruction.

‘‘It’s the satisfaction of putting a character on stage — whether it be a play or a show, and being part of the story but also part of the cast that’s actually on stage.’’