CUTS and bruises, knackered knees and getting knocked out are all part of the current day job for actor Gavin Spokes.
The 36-year-old is starring as Francis Henshall in a nationwide tour of the National Theatre's award-winning production of One Man, Two Guvnors which comes to the New Wimbledon Theatre next week.
Despite the physical nature of the part, which Gavin admits is playing havoc with his body, he says it’s a dream role.
“It’s going stupidly, brilliantly well and all of us in it are having a great time,” he tells me. “I love every second - although it’s incredibly tough on me and the company - but the moment you get on stage it’s like being on the best roller coaster.”
The play is based on the farce, The Servant of Two Masters, by 18th century Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni.
Adapted by Richard Bean it is set in Brighton in the 1960s, and revolves around Francis who, fired from his skiffle band, becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe – his first guvnor.
To make a bit of extra money Francis takes on another guvnor but in doing so, has to keep the two apart.
“It’s possibly one of the most convoluted, ridiculous plays known to the history of theatre,” Gavin laughs.
“Francis is the most lovable chancer and a bundle of joy. He’s the kind of chap you’d want to have a pint with. He’s not the sharpest knife in the tray but he’s brilliant fun and it is a real laugh out loud, joyful evening.”
The play was first staged at the National Theatre and starred James Cordon as Francis. But despite such big shoes to fill Gavin says he felt no pressure.
“It was created for James but since then three of us have played the role so we’ve had a chance to put our own stamp on the character,” he says.
“To be honest, it’s never really bothered me partly because I’m enjoying it so much. There are not many lead roles in theatre for someone who is my shape, size and build to get to play – so I feel very fortunate. I love it!”
The One Man, Two Gunvnors tour comes to an end shortly after the week in Wimbledon and Gavin admits he will be sad to say goodbye to Francis.
“I will be sad because it’s such a great role,” he says. “It’s lovely to go out on tour to visit all these places and introduce him to new audiences but I’m looking forward to seeing my wife for more than two nights in a row.
“I’m also looking forward to lying on a beach and letting my body take a break from all this physical activity.”
Talking of which he admits his body has taken a bit of a battering over the last year.
“It’s the most physical role I’ve ever done by a long way,” he chuckles. “The play is just over two hours long and I’m on for most of that time so it’s demanding physically and mentally. It’s really full on.
“My knees are shot, I’ve given myself a black eye and knocked myself out once,” he jokes. “In fact I think I’ve had more injuries than the others who’ve played Francis though I’m not sure why!
“When I’m in Wimbledon I’ll visit a physio called Warwick who will no doubt give me one of those hugs that cracks every bone in my body!”
Physio aside Gavin says he is looking forward to coming back to Wimbledon and to the theatre where he’s performed before.
“I like this part of South London – it’s got a lovely feel to it so it will be great to be back.”
One Man, Two Guvnors is on at the New Wimbledon Theatre, Broadway, Wimbledon between Monday, March 2 and Saturday, March 7. Tickets from £11.90. Visit www.atgtickets.com/wimbledon or call the box office on 0844 871 7646.