Rex the King: An interview with actors Jac Husebo and Katy Sobey about the show and the experience of rural touring

Somerset theatre company, Wassail Theatre, is bringing their show Rex the King to The Wardrobe Theatre 1-3 Aug as part of their national tour of pubs, village halls and theatres. We interviewed actors Jac Husebo and Katy Sobey about the show and what the experience of rural touring is like…

Tell us about Rex the King.

Rex the King is a comedic look at Oedipus in the world of pub darts. A story about a young man’s rise from being a pub player to the king of darts. What he has to give up to get there and the corruption of fame & fortune.

Tell us about the team behind the show.

It was written by Will Gore and directed by Tim Bell in 2017. Greg Hall has written the music and is also in the show playing Disco Dennis. Jac and Katy have come in for this year’s tour and play Rex and Kezza (and a few others characters) respectively.

You’re returning to work with Wassail Theatre, what have you previously worked on for them?

Jac: Reclaimed

Katy: The Somerset Charabanc

What makes you excited to work with Wassail Theatre?

Jac: I’m enjoying taking theatre into spaces that don’t usually have it and to audiences that don’t normally go to the theatre.

Katy: It is exciting to go to communities that we haven’t been to, taking something to them and performing in a place that they love is exciting.

You’re both from the South West, what were your routes into theatre and how was that affected by the areas you lived in?

Jac: I was always into theatre as a kid, mostly got into it at SCAT under a course led by Ged Stephenson. It was an amazing course which was experimental and we got exposed to lots of incredible theatre influences. Their love for theatre and different types of theatre encouraged me to want to make it.

Katy: I grew up in Bristol and went to Bristol Old Vic Young Company aged nine, and did lots of productions with them as well as panto. Doing stuff at Bristol Old Vic helped shape my love of making work locally.

What’s it like to remount a show and to take ownership of it?

Katy: I feel like that whoever plays Kezza can put their own personality in it. Lots of license to put your own personality into it. The other characters are open so it never felt obvious what I had to do, so I can play in it.

Describe an average rehearsal day.

Jac: Pub lunch. Lots of bad jokes. Lots of silliness. Lots of instruments going off into different corners of the room. A really playful exciting atmosphere. Lots of walks with cows.

What is currently your favourite thing or moment in the show?

Jac: The back of the Bentley scene where Imelda is persuading Rex to do TV.

Katy: The cowboy and his relationship with Sophocles (his toy horse).

You’re touring this show for two months, what are the perks and the challenges of that, and how do you keep the show fresh?

Katy: Being in a new venue very day keeps it fresh. Keeps it in a different atmosphere. It has to be different

Jac: The get in and get out is quite exhausting but fun at the same time. Having a different audience means it always feels fresh and new.

Which venues are you most excited to be performing at?

Katy: The ones I’ve never been to. Pubs I’ve never been to.

Jac: Village halls in the middle of nowhere, especially when it’s part of an event; its a cultural event for a hub. In Stockland we were performing in an environment where the community have been on a five year challenge to buy their local pub. We could entertain the community who have been working so hard. You feel like you’re a part of the community for a day.

What’s next for you? (Optional question)

Jac: A wedding to plan (for a mate, not me, I’m still free ladies!) and developing my own stuff.

Katy: A month off and then an autumn tour, touring the south west: A Pure Woman with Poonamallee and Dorchester Arts.