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Wolverhampton Grand at 125: Shrew-d move for actor Blair

By Marion Brennan | Wolverhampton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

A rose by any other name.... A fledgling actor said it with flowers when he came face to face with leading lady Kate O'Mara.

Leading lady Kate O'Mara with Blair Plant, from Kingswinford, making his professional acting debut

Blair Plant, from Wall Heath, Kingswinford, was making his professional acting debut at The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, in June 1988 in The Taming of the Shrew.

He played Curtis, manservant to Petruchio, in the production by the British Actors Theatre Company, while Kate played the title role of the Shrew.

The Express & Star reviewer wrote that the audience was left "well pleased" by the rollicking tale of quarrelsome battle of the sexes.

He went on: "The whole play is well cast , carefully put together by the actors themselves, nicely spiced with comical business and well worth a visit."

But he also felt that O'Mara, whilst "cross enough" for the role, had difficulty in making the character credible – adding she was "too good-looking" to play the part.

The actress, already an established star, survived the criticism. She had by then starred in US soap Dynasty as scheming sister Cassandra Morrell to Joan Collins' Alexis Colby and also had leading roles in British series Doctor Who, Howards' Way and Triangle.

In the 1990s, she starred in BBC comedy Absolutely Fabulous as Joanna Lumley's on-screen sister Jackie, and in 2001, she made a string of appearances in ITV drama Bad Girls.

The picture is reproduced here as part of celebrations to mark the Grand’s milestone 125th anniversary. The Express & Star is publishing a weekly archives picture in association with the Grand’s own 125 Memories Project.

* If you have any stories or pictures of visits to the Grand, email 125@grandtheatre.co.uk or in writing to 125 Memories Project, c/o Stage Door, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1DE.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan
@Marion_EStar

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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