York Mystery Plays 2012 star Graeme Hawley is set for a speedy return to the City of York after landing the lead role of maverick plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe in York Theatre Royal and Vroom Productions play The Guinea Pig Club which runs Fri 5 – Sat 27 Oct.
Written by internationally acclaimed author Susan Watkins this extraordinary new play is based on the true story of one of the world’s pioneering plastic surgeons and his guinea pig patients – the savagely burned fighter pilots and aircrew who helped to thwart the German invasion of Britain.
Graeme, 37, who played one of Coronation Street’s most infamous villains, was nominated for Villain of the Year in the 2009 and 2011 British Soap Awards for his role as John Stape. He then went on to play the ultimate baddy – Satan – during the incredibly successful York Mystery Plays 2012. During his time in Coronation Street, Graeme’s character was at the centre of a number of major story lines involving kidnap, manslaughter and murder. John Stape died in October 2011 after he crashed into the back of a lorry during a car chase.
On stage he has performed in a number of productions for the Manchester Library Theatre including Rock n Roll, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Measure for Measure. Before his role as Satan in York Mystery Plays 2012, he played the role of Jack in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and Paul in Love and Money, both for Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre
Graeme, who has also appeared in Shameless, A Touch of Frost and Emmerdale, said he was thrilled to be taking on an altogether different role in cosmetic surgeon Archibald McIndoe.
“Having had a wonderful, memorable summer working on York Mystery Plays 2012, I had no hesitation in returning to work with Damian [Cruden] in York. The Guinea Pig Club promises to be another triumph for York Theatre Royal and its record for producing great work and the whole subject matter is one I’ve found very interesting while researching the role”
At the outset of World War II cosmetic surgeon Archibald McIndoe – whose expertise in fashioning the noses of starlets brings him fame but not fulfillment- must abandon plans for retirement to pioneer the most challenging procedures in surgical history, including the complete reconstruction of the human face.
But McIndoe soon discovers that all his efforts in the operating theatre are futile unless he can also save the shattered man behind the face. ‘For what good is a face without a man – a whole man?’ This then becomes his mission – and his own salvation. Unconvinced and antagonistic toward McIndoe’s goal is Rusty, a suicidal Spitfire pilot burned beyond all recognition. Yet McIndoe will not be stopped, even if it means persuading a young nurse, Alice, to ‘play up to Rusty’ to help him envisage a meaningful future. The maverick McIndoe then tackles the attitude of the rest of society. ‘Don’t turn away’ becomes his battle cry.
Joining a ten-strong cast will be Fiona Dolman playing head nurse Sister O’Donnell. Fiona is perhaps most well know for her role in Midsomer Murders as DCI John Barnaby’s wife, Sarah as well as PC Mike Bradley’s wife, Jackie in ITV Drama Heartbeat. She has also appeared in ITV day-time spin-off from The Royal, The Royal Todayas Miss Pamela Andrews.