THEATRE: Dave Benson Phillips

Dave Benson Phillips is playing Mr Toad
Dave Benson Phillips is playing Mr Toad

A RARE home date will be one of the highlights on tour for Dave Benson Phillips who stars as Toad in The Wind in the Willows, the big half-term attraction at Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre (Monday to Saturday, February 26).

Dave moved to Worthing more than 10 years ago – and it’s proved a great place to be.

“I am nearly a naturalised citizen! After being in London and spending a lot of time there, we were looking for somewhere to work and raise a family

that was close enough to London.

“But the further you go from London, the more cost effective it becomes; you get to Worthing and the next place is the sea.

So we stopped there! But it is great. We have met lots of lovely people.”

The chances are he will meet a few more when The Wind in the Willows comes to town: “I am finding Toad reasonably easy to play because most people think I am a pain in the backside, anyway!

“You have got to be a pain to play him, but the wonderful thing about him is that he is a very likeable creature. He has his faults and crazes.

“One day it is rowing. The next day it is cars.

“And then all of a sudden, it’s all over. He is not great at concentration.

“But he manages to get out of it all in the end.

“He is devious and clever and innocent!”

He’s an active part to play: “But I am pretty active. Somebody just said ‘Get Dave Benson Phillips and amp him up a bit!’ It has just been wonderful – very physical.

“The first time I did it, I was losing buckets of sweat back stage. It’s great for weight loss! And I have got tweed on most of the time. I look like a chubby version of Chris Eubank, which is a joy to behold. The cast are all equally tweeded up and suited.

“You’ve got to hope that the theatre isn’t too heated!”

Dave added: “We are getting great audiences because it’s a show that spans all the generations.

We are getting the real fans going back years and also the really little ones.”