Interview with Michael Chance, Actor in the Play ‘The Man with the Golden Pen’

Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, Secret Agent 007, stands before the audience, Pink Gin in hand, a terrified look in his eyes…At 42 he is about to do the thing he most fears; he is getting married!

It is 1952 and Fleming is putting the finishing touches to the first Bond book, Casino Royale and Bond is with us; an icon of class and everything Fleming aspired to…In a new one-man play at the Jermyn Street Theatre beginning March 2nd, Michael Chance portrays Fleming as he sets about creating his alter-ego, James Bond.

We have the interview.

1. How did the play come together?

Sir Roger Moore

Sir Roger Moore

The play was written by Mark Burgess in 2000 who wrote it for himself. He is a friend of mine & I saw him perform it round about that time and really liked it. A couple of years ago I was looking for a new one-man show and remembered Mark’s and asked him if he had any plans for it. He said he hadn’t done it for over ten years and would be delighted if I would take it on.

I found a terrific director, Louise Jameson, and together we have completely re-imagined the piece and I first performed it for the Brighton Festival (where I live). It was received very well but the icing on the cake was addition of Sir Roger Moore as the voice of James Bond who very kindly recorded the last two lines of the play (when Bond talks to Fleming).

2. How did you go about researching the part of Ian Fleming and what is your impression of the man?

Fleming, Ian Fleming

(Photo by Horst Tappe/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

I must admit that I have done very little research myself. It was all done initially by Mark Burgess. I’ve read the Ben Macintyre book about him although not the Andrew Lycett biography which is the one Mark used for his research.

What I have been doing is watching all the movies again which has been great fun. I aimed to watch one a day over the last couple of weeks although that hasn’t quite panned out as I hoped! I’ve also watched the available clips of Fleming on YouTube which has been very informative and although I’m not doing an impersonation of him it has helped get a “feel” for the man. I would have loved to have met him.

3. What can the audience expect from this interpretation?

The audience can expect to get a flavour of the real Ian Fleming, unlike the recent film and television portrayals of his life which are almost entirely fictional. Mark is a terrific writer and although there are a lot of facts to get across it never feels like a “lecture” (we hope!)

4. Are you a fan of his work and do you have a favorite novel or novels?

I’m ashamed to say I’ve only read Casino Royale which I enjoyed very much. I do think his writing seems a little sexist in this day and age but that doesn’t detract from the thrilling narrative.

Incidental Intelligence

Michael ChanceMichael is a native of Barnsley in Yorkshire & trained as an actor at the Central School of Speech & Drama.

His first professional engagement was as Adams in “South Pacific” at Leicester Haymarket. Favourite roles include a revival of Noel Coward’s “Bitter Sweet” at Sadler’s Wells, Adam in Tom Stoppard’s “Rough Crossing”, Geoffrey in “Stepping Out” & Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in the UK Productions tour of “Anything Goes”.Michael was in the original company of the Theatre of Comedy’s acclaimed production of “When We Are Married” at the Whitehall Theatre.

He was a regular performer at the world-famous Players’ Theatre for over ten years & has a one-man show about the life & music of Jack Buchanan which he recently performed to great acclaim at the Jermyn Street Theatre. He has also worked with the legendary Julie Wilson and Margaret Whiting at the Cabaret Symposium in Connecticut. Michael has also appeared at the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House and Lincoln Center in New York playing Ivor Novello in “Love From Ivor” & recorded a number of audio versions of “Doctor Who” for Big Finish Productions with the likes of Colin Baker & Paul McGann.

On television he has been seen in programmes as varied as “Poirot”, “Ten Books That Changed The World”, Channel 4’s “Come Dine With Me” & was last seen in “Eastenders”, playing a singing pianist. The last few years have been busy ones, touring in “The Glee Club” for Hull Truck and a production of “Breaking the Code” in Frankfurt, followed in early 2013 by the European premiere of Jerry Herman’s “Dear World”, directed by Gillian Lynn. Last year he played the Preacher in a national tour of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”, followed by the Baker in “Into the Woods” and Reverend Plum in the professional premiere of Howard Goodall and Charles Hart’s “The Dreaming”.

His ambition is to perform the play at Goldeneye!

Visit Michael’s Chancel Productions

Show Details

Monday 2nd – Saturday 7th March 2015
Evenings at 7:30pm – Saturday Matinee at 3:30pm
Tickets £20 – Concessions £16
Box Office: 020 7287 2875

Unlike the four fanciful TV movies produced in the last 25 years about Ian Fleming, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN PEN both entertains and draws the audience into the remarkable mindset of the creator of James Bond, the real Ian Fleming. (Graham Rye, 007 Magazine)

“An extremely stylish and entertaining piece, capturing the essence and spirit of Ian Fleming…
The play succeeds admirably both as entertainment and as an insight into an extraordinary man”
(Ajay Chowdhury – the Ian Fleming Foundation)

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