Ten-month tour is a gruelling but fun experience, says Jasmyn

Jasmyn Banks
Jasmyn Banks

Jasmyn Banks admits it was all rather intimidating at first, which is hardly surprising.

After working in fringe theatre, her big professional stage debut has been a ten-month tour of One Man, Two Guvnors.

The tour stops off this Christmas at Brighton Theatre Royal (Tuesday, December 16, to Sunday, January 4).

Seen by more than a million people worldwide, the production is a glorious celebration of British comedy – a laugh-out-loud mix of satire, songs, slapstick and glittering one-liners.

And Jasmyn has loved it.

“It was a bit daunting at first,” Jasmyn says. “It’s a very, very long tour, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s incredibly gruelling, especially for Gavin (Spokes who plays the lead character Francis Henshall). He does a fantastic job, and I admire him for it.

“But for me, it’s just very exciting going from venue to venue. Different audiences react in different ways. Some audiences find different things funny. You might try something new and it completely bombs one night and then another night in another place it might get the biggest laugh.

“The further north in England you go, the louder the audiences are, but when you go south, they don’t miss a trick.”

Key to the enjoyment is also organising yourself somewhere nice to stay in each venue. No, it’s not something that the production company does for her.

“It’s a nice bonus in a way. I find a nice holiday home each week. Every theatre has its own digs list, and there is a great website you can use. It can be stressful, but it is so much fun when you are going to different places and finding different places for the week.”

As for the play, it tells the tale of the hapless Francis and his efforts to stay on top of a situation going madly out of control.

Fired from his skiffle band, Francis becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe. But Roscoe is really Rachel, posing as her own dead brother – who’s been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers. Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a job with one Stanley Stubbers – but to prevent discovery, he must keep his two guvnors apart. Simple...

Jasmyn plays the stereotypical dumb blonde in the piece. “I can’t think why they cast me! I was mortified!” she laughs.

But maybe the clue is in the fantastic, big, ’60s-style blonde wig she puts on every night.

“She’s great fun to play. She has a lot of trouble understanding what is going on. She is completely confused all the time. But she can get very feisty when she doesn’t understand it.”

Jasmyn trained at Italia Conti Monday-Friday but realised she wanted to take her acting further and so started spending Saturdays at the Young Persons Theatre Company.

“I would be going there for 12 hours on a Saturday, and I was there for about four years. It was great. You really couldn’t have asked for any more. I still go back if ever I want any help with anything. You never stop learning as an actor.”

And now Christmas in Brighton is a lovely prospect: “It’s definitely not a pantomime, but there are lots of pantomime elements in it.

“I can’t imagine anyone seeing it and not enjoying the show.”