Second Skin Theatre and Me
In November 2012 I applied to audition for a part in a Christmas horror show, The Exorcism, and was called up to the humble cellar-beneath-a-cocktail-bar base of Second Skin Theatre.
I would later be told that, having been given the direction to react to a 'horrific apparition' as part of the audition, hurling myself across the room like a ragdoll was what ultimately secured me the part.
A little over a year later and in my capacity as principal resident actor with Second Skin, I'm currently playing the part of Sol in a short play entitled To Live at the Hen & Chickens Theatre, my fifth collaboration with Second Skin's artistic director Andy McQuade (Fringe Report's Best Director, 2012.)
Each show has been more rewarding, fulfilling and revealing than the last, and my work with Second Skin has garnered the best praise and most improving acting work of my career thus far.
HUIS CLOS (NO EXIT)
By Jean-Paul Sartre
I was lucky to have been with Second Skin when they finally won a protracted fight for the much-sought-after performance rights for Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit. The opportunity to deliver the line 'Hell is other people' doesn't come to every actor...
This was my third consecutive project with fellow resident actor Eloise Black, as Estelle, and my first with newcomers Charly Flyte (Ines) and Sam Watson (The Waiter).
A genuinely intense rehearsal process made this production as dangerous and powerful as the writing demanded, and when it won a transfer to Islington's Rosemary Branch theatre for early 2014, it was a hard-won and, I think, well-deserved victory.
Collie captures much of his character's complex mix of neediness, selfishness and battered pride ... his performance is well-paced and intelligent. - One Stop Arts
Collie is the highlight of the night. Unpredictable, engaging, and wholly believable. At times we sympathise with him, at others we detest him. Collie’s comic timing and real time reactions are brilliant. He brings a natural subtlety and vulnerability to the role, with the right amount of underlying of cruelty. - Female Arts
A PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
by Rob Johnston
Rob Johnston's radical adaptation brought the action of Wilde's masterpiece into the 21st century, casting Dorian as one of a bohemian circle of close friends turned ruthless businessman by the intoxicating effect of his remarkable portrait.
A terrific script and a cast to match, including Game of Thrones' Laura Predalska in the eponymous role, made this my best outing with Second Skin yet.
"George Collie's Baz brings humour and camp to the stage - a true ghost of Wilde's voice."
- Everything Theatre
"Of all Dorian’s ‘human’ friends ... the self-effacing gay artist Baz, played in a standout
performance from George Collie, is the most sympathetic." - Hackney Citizen
"George Collie as Baz gets some of the biggest laughs of the night, and has lots of fun with his representation of a louche, queer artist." - Female Arts
"He plays the anguished gay artist who paints the picture of Dorian Gray in an attempt to woo him. His foppish sulks and impeccable comic timing make you count the moments until his next line." - Diva Magazine
"His effeminacy, sarcasm and posturing create successful comedy ... it’s clear that Collie is talented, and his truly emotive monologue of the final week of Princess Diana's life created a tense and powerful moment that, despite my inhibitions, reeled me in." - One Stop Arts
"George Collie, simultaneously louche and gregarious, plays tortured artist Baz with zeal and vigour in equal measures, encapsulating the vivacity you imagine Wilde himself possessed." - The Express
By Don Fried
Blood Privilege tells the story of 16th century Hungarian countess Erszebet Bathory who, obsessed with preserving her beauty, ostensibly resorted to bathing in the blood of virgins. Legend calls her history's most prolific female serial killer. Don Fried's stageplay brings the truth of her crimes into question.
"A powerful ensemble ... most notably George Collie as Sigray who gives his initially bumbling character an unexpected sympathetic edge." - Write Out Loud
"George Collie gave a great comedic performance as the goofy lawyer..." - Hackney Hive
"...George Collie who, with his cunning dialogue and comedic style, filled the play with everything else it needed. He balanced everything well, to the point where I feel tempted to say his acting was as crucial as that of Mia Zara in the main role." - Theatre In London
"The show is almost stolen by the comedic genius of Lorand Sigray, the Judge, played by George Collie... his carefully constructed foppish delivery is reminiscent of a stand-up comic or a sketch show..." - Female Arts
"George Collie as the just man of the law, Sigray, is another notable performance, supplying much needed comic relief in Act 2 without over doing it." - Bargain Theatre Land
THE EXORCISM / THE CHRISTMAS DINNER
By Duncan Stevens
The Christmas Dinner began life as The Exorcism - a horror piece based on a TV film from the 70s. Rehearsals for The Exorcism played out in earnest and it opened to good and enthusiastic houses. However, due to a misunderstanding with the writer of the original film's estate, Second Skin were forced to pull the show on the Saturday of its first week.
Not to be deterred, the cast, writer Duncan Stevens and director Andy McQuade set to work re-building the show from the ground up. With a strong basis of character and terrifically enthusiastic cast, we re-opened four days later with The Christmas Dinner, a beauty of a show which played to packed houses for the remaining weeks of the run.
"George Collie is excellent as the snobbish Richard..."
- UK Theatre.net
"...by wealthy investment banker, ‘so we all made a few mistakes a few years ago’ Richard (played as a coke-snorting trader at full-throttle by George Collie)." - The Lady
"From the coke snorting to the agonising embarrassment, Collie is a riot."
- Blogger’s review
"Richard (George Collie) and Rachel (Sarita Plowman), are the world's most obnoxious pair and prompt a laughter soundtrack from the audience from the moment they flounce through the door."
- Stoke Newington People
The Cast. From left to right:
Myself (Richard); Sally Lofthouse (Clara)
Sarita Plowman (Rachel); Matthew Howell (Terrence)
With Mia Zara (Erszebet Bathory)
With Game of Thrones' Ross Mullan (King Matthias)
Collie imbues Garcin with both sardonic wit and passionate intensity. He has a great command of the stage and the text, and his gravitas is often the guiding force during the play. - What's Peen Seen
With Eloise Black (Estelle, centre) and Charly Flyte (Inez, right)