Kieran is playing Stella in the new production of Fanny and Stella at Above The Stag, the UK’s only full time LGBT+ theatre. He loves Smash Brothers, full fat Coke, Gareth Thomas and would like to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
Where are you from originally?
I am originally from London. A city boy through and through.
And where do you live now?
I live in Walthamstow in north east London where I also grew up, so I’ve watched it turn into the apparent “Awsomestow” it is now. It’s still up for debate.
What do you love about London and why?
Bear with me on this, but dare I say the London Underground. Having lived here most of my life I can’t help but look past the sweat and crowdedness and love how convenient it makes enjoying what the city offers. It probably helps that I am at the start of a line so always get a seat.
How would you describe Fanny and Stella?
Fanny and Stella is the story of two Victorian drag queens who are put on trial for inciting sodomy at the Strand Theatre. The story itself takes place a year later when the pair put on a performance telling the unvarnished truth of their story. I like to think of it as a tragedy decorated as a comedy, with all the camp quips and frivolity you would expect, but with a strong heart at its core that really reflects on how far we have come as an LGBT+ community, something I think can be forgotten at times.
What can you tell us about your character?
I play Stella (Ernest Boulton) the arguably more naive of the pair. Very theatrical and colourful, it is easy to dismiss him as reckless and outrageous to the point of being destructive in not only his own life, but to those around him. However there is a depth underneath the facade that roots from loneliness and the fear of committing to true love, which is heart-breaking to watch. Luckily for him he has his sister Fanny to pick him up and brush him off, ready for the next drama.
What was the last theatre show you saw, where, and what did you think of it?
The last thing I saw was probably Company before it came off. I loved it. I’m a very harsh critique when it comes to that musical in particular as Bobby is a part I’ve always aspired to play, but every aspect of it really brought it into the modern age. There is nothing better than the feeling you get when you see good theatre and this was one of those moments.
What is your guilty pleasure and why?
Well I have a nerdy gamer side and am pretty addicted to Smash Brothers on the Switch at the moment which takes up way too much of my time. I play as Princess Peach, purely for character research of course…
Full fat Coke. Yes, I will pay the extra amount in sugar tax no matter how many people question it because, yes, you can taste the difference.
Best gift you’ve ever received and why?
When I first auditioned for drama school I got offered a foundation course initially which there was no student loans for so you had to pay for it all yourself, and I was lucky enough to have friends and family that helped pay for it. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
The highlight is probably singing alongside the BBC orchestra at the Barbican for the celebration of 100 years of Bernstein’s music. I sang as Riff in a West Side Story section, and standing on that stage with a 60 piece orchestra behind you and 500 people in the audience watching, yeah, it was one of those moments you just have to allow yourself to take in.
If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?
Definitely the 80s. I listen to 80’s music on repeat, and without wanting to sound too old, music just isn’t the same anymore. That and the world just seemed less stressed back then. And perms.
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?
When I was training up in Liverpool we threw a big house party for my 21st, which in itself was epic because who doesn’t love a house party. But the best part was that my mum drove all the way up from London to surprise me. I’ll always be a mummy’s boy at heart
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
That all you need in life are the three H’s. Health, happiness and humour. Saying that I still drink too much, get way too stressed and take things too seriously. It’s a work in progress.
Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?
Hero is a big word but there are definitely a few gay icons I look up to. Ian McKellen. Neil Patrick Harris. But a big one for me is Gareth Thomas because what he did took guts and was a big step in breaking down the taboo of homosexuality in sport.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on social media and why?
AuditionPianist on Twitter makes me crease. Blunt, to the point, and really hits some unspoken truths in a hilarious way.
Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why?
Probably the Great Barrier Reef, but it seems like I’m running out of time with that one.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
That you will be 28 before you know it so for God’s sake make each day count. And stop worrying about your hair, it’ll never look any different.
You can see Kieran in Fanny and Stella at Above The Stag, Albert Embankment, Vauxhall, SE1. Tickets from abovethestag.com