LEADING actor Robert Powell returns to Malvern this week and has revealed his new role has been the most challenging he has faced in a career spanning more than 40 years.
Powell, known to thousands across the UK for playing David Briggs in the BBC sitcom The Detectives, will play the title role of King Charles III at Malvern Theatres in performances being shown until Saturday.
The 71-year-old has years of TV and theatre experience, from playing Jesus of Nazareth in the late 1970s, to Hercule Poirot in Black Coffee, Agatha Christie’s only stage production about the world-famous sleuth, and Hamlet.
But despite playing the role of Jesus, Powell told the Observer his performances as King Charles III have been the hardest yet.
The play, now one month into a UK tour, explores the people underneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of democracy, and the conscience of Britain’s most famous family.
“When I was offered this role I just couldn’t turn it down because this was the one that really excited me. It’s a huge challenge which I couldn’t resist,” said Powell.
“I keep on thinking now is the time for me to slow down and take it easy but when someone chucks a really big one at me I rise to the challenge.
“It’s a very cleverly written and crafted piece and has a great response from audiences so far which has been great to see.
“It’s a very difficult role to play for many reasons. There are technical reasons but there are also emotional and physical reasons too. It’s a very big part and took a huge amount of learning to do.
“It’s not a Shakespeare play but there is a Shakespearean feel to it.
“I’ve played Hamlet which was challenging and done a two-hour long monologue in Geoffrey Bernard is Unwell before but this I think has been harder than them.”
Powell is no stranger to Malvern, having played at the Grange Road venue numerous times in various roles including starring in Aladdin in last year’s pantomime.
He said he was delighted to be coming back to the town.
“Malvern is a great place to perform – I always love it there,” he added.
“It’s a lovely spot to spend a week and I will climb up to the Beacon certainly at least once.”
Shows take place until Saturday. Tickets cost from £16.80 and are available by visiting www.malvern-theatres.co.uk or calling 01684 892277.