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Matthew Kelly teams up with Denise Welch in new play at Hope Mill Theatre

Embark on an emotional journey with Matthew Kelly and Denise Welch in Jim Cartwright's 'The Gap' at Hope Mill Theatre, sharing a tale of reunion and timeless love.
Matthew Kelly

Jim Cartwright’s new play The Gap sees Matthew Kelly team up with Denise Welch within the intimate setting of the Hope Mill Theatre.

They play two characters who have not seen each other for fifty years. For Matthew, it means coming home as he was born in Manchester and he has worked here many times.

We caught up with the actor, following his success in the recent revival of Noises Off to find out more.

Matthew Kelly interview

What is it about Jim Cartwright’s writing that appeals to you?

Jim Cartwright writes like a poet, yet he is incredibly accessible. He speaks to the common man.

He’s funny, kind, and non-judgmental and he understands humanity.

He’s dead good fun.

Watching a piece of theatre in a space this intimate for an audience member is thrilling and involving. What does it feel like for an actor?

It’s great to be a part of something where the audience feels like they’re in the same room with us.

Like they’re spying, and they really shouldn’t be watching this. And then seeing them in the bar afterwards and they look like they’ve been in a wind tunnel for 3 hours.

I did Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in a 100-seat theatre in the West End. It was thrilling.

Also, the Hope Mill Theatre has a fantastic reputation, and all the actors want to work there.

Tell us a bit about your character.

Not unlike myself (haha) – Walter is a soft lad from the 60’s, who’s ‘prissy pernickety and particular.’

He looks after his friend Corral on and off and journeys with her from the 60’s to the present day.

And is the very epitome of love never dies. 

What was the last thing you saw on stage that you enjoyed?

Moulin Rouge at the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s glittering West End starring my son, Matt Rixon in the lead.

What do you love about Manchester?

Oh, the people.

It’s my home town, and I always feel the people understand me, and that I understand the rhythms of the city.

It’s a city that’s distinctive and particular as Liverpool yet very different.

Is there anything you would change about the city if you could?

I’d move it nearer to my sofa, as I live in London.

What are you looking forward to the most about performing in The Gap?

Working with Denise Welch. She’s a top bird.

A seeker of truth.

And she has the best heart of anyone I’ve ever met. She’s the perfect stage partner.

Matthew Kelly The Gap is at the Hope Mill Theatre from 9th February – 9th March and can be booked here

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