Love is murder | Alan Montanaro

You know him as MADC’s Panto Dame, but Alan Montanaro will be taking a stab at a far more nuanced role this month in David Tristram’s Ghost Writer, where he’ll appear as Edward, who is embroiled in a ghostly murder mystery following his wife’s death.

Denise Mulholland and Alan Montanaro.
Denise Mulholland and Alan Montanaro.

Can the death of a loved one be transformed into a humorous situation?

I believe that humour is an excellent coping mechanism for all situations - including death. Research shows that laughter counteracts the devastations of stress on the body and on the immune system, so laughing in the face of death could only be a good thing. I remember a few years back I received a beautifully calligraphic note following a comedy performance from a lady who was terminally ill - she wrote in to thank me for allowing her to forget her aches and pains and depression for a few hours. I kept that note in memory of her.

Which aspect of the play will the audience get a kick out of the most, do you think?

With comedy, there is always the temptation to play the piece solely for laughs - and we would get away with it. However, we prefer to uncover the soul of the piece and offer some depth to the characters. This makes the characters in the play more honest, more true, and more recognisable - and it is precisely this recognition that will draw in the audiences and involve them in a way that broad comedy does not. 

Add to this the fact that Ghost Writer is a murder mystery and a whodunit and who doesn't like a good ghost story? And if all that wasn't enough... it's bloody funny too.

Are you glad that you finally seem to have been given a role that's not entirely comedic?

Yes... and no. I'm glad because the role of Edward is challenging and different to any other character I've played. No because I don't get to say some of the better punch lines (grrr)! Having said that, there is a lot of laugh-out-loud humour in the bizarre circumstances Edward finds himself in.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming young actors?

I wouldn't give them any advice at all. I've just met a lot of them at panto auditions for MADC's Wizard of Oz - and they're so much more talented than I am. They can sing, act and dance. No, I'm not giving them any advice - or I'll be out of a job!

The play, a DnA Theatre and FM Theatre production, will be performed over May 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25 and 27 at St James Cavalier. Directed by Polly March, the cast includes: Edward Mercieca, Denise Mulholland, Marika Fenech, Taryn Butler and Stefan Farrugia. Bookings: 21 223200, [email protected]