Entertainment & Arts

Nadine Marshall revisits Random role

Nadine Marshall in Random
Image caption Nadine Marshall reprises multiple roles in the TV adaptation of Random

Actress Nadine Marshall describes her role in Debbie Tucker Green's stage play Random as one of the most challenging of her career. So how does she feel about returning to the part in a TV version three years on?

When Random played at London's Royal Court Theatre in 2008, it would often overrun by several minutes due to audience participation.

None of it was in the script.

"The play was meant to last about 45 minutes but some nights it went on for 50 or 55," recalls Nadine Marshall, who took on all the roles in the original stage production.

"You had to wait audience's response - they used to speak back to me.

"We had a lot of schools come in, and a lot of those kids - who wouldn't normally come to the theatre - were really vocal, they weren't intimidated by the big theatre.

"They really got involved. I was shocked. It was only after doing it for a week that I realised this was how it was going to be."

Debbie Tucker Green's drama follows a day in the life of a London family, with a focus on the minutiae of domestic life until their lives are shattered by a random act of violence.

The play's taut dialogue and Nadine Marshall's solo performance - in a spotlight on a bare stage - won much praise.

The play has been also been adapted for BBC radio, and went on a national theatre tour last year.

'Like Shakespeare'

But those critics who found the show too stripped-down may want to watch the forthcoming adaptation on Channel 4, which sees Tucker Green making her TV directorial debut.

Image caption Nadine Marshall appeared in Random at the Royal Court in 2008

Marshall is back as the narrator of the story, but this time she is joined by a cast including Daniel Kaluuya as Brother, Jay Byrd as Mother and Louis Mahoney as Dad.

Tucker Green adopts a dual narrative device. She tells her story as a filmed drama - with on-screen text and lingering stills - but blends it with Marshall in a stark studio setting, with strong echoes of the stage version.

"It intrigued me," says Marshall. "I thought 'How is this going to work? It is different styles of acting flowing together on screen. I've never seen anything like it on television."

Tucker Green's script is essentially four intertwined monologues, and her quick-fire observations work like a poem.

"It's one of the most difficult things I've had to do," says Marshall.

"Without sounding pompous, it's a little bit like Shakespeare. Shakespeare can be difficult to understand at times but if you tap into the rhythms of it sometimes you can understand it more.

"It's the same kind of thing with Debbie's work - you really have to tune into it. You've got to concentrate. You've got to work with it."

Tucker Green's next stage project is Truth and Reconciliation - with a cast of 22 - at the Royal Court next month.

Meanwhile, Marshall is currently filming Sky comedy series Gates. It stars Tom Ellis and Joanna Page as parents who have recently moved and start their nine-year-old daughter at a new primary school.

"It's about the school run and how the parents interact at the school gates," says Marshall. "I play a mum with a child at school and an older child. Yes - it's completely different to Random."

Random is on Tuesday 23 August at 10pm on Channel 4. It will also receive its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Debbie Tucker Green's Truth and Reconciliation is at the Royal Court on 1-24 September

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