A Quick Chat with the Tinkertown team

We chat with the team from Tinkertown, which officially opens at the Blue Room Theatre in Perth tomorrow night.

Tinkertown is a dark comedy written and directed by award winning playwright Nathaniel Moncrieff, co-directed and produced by Sam Farringdon and features stars Tessa Carmody and Philip Miolin.

So what happens when we ask the four of them AussieTheatre’s 20 questions? Read on to find out..

20 Questions with:

Nathaniel Moncrieff (Playwright and Co-director), Sam Farringdon (Co-Director and Producer), Tessa Carmody (Tessa) and Philip Miolin (Chester)…

Phil  and Tessa from Tinkertown. The Blue Room 2012
Phil and Tessa from Tinkertown. The Blue Room 2012

1. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Nathaniel Moncrieff: Attractive.

Sam Farringdon: A journalist. I don’t know if I was too corrupt for journalism, or if journalism was too corrupt for me.

Phil Miolin:Footy player for Swan Districts Footy club and opening bowler for Australia

Tessa Carmody: An actor or a palaeontologist.

2. Who is the most important person in the world to you?

NM: My girlfriend, Sophie. (It’s only right I also say my parents. And Sam.)

SF: At this point in my life, my girlfriend and my family. And Tim Rogers.

PM: Too many to narrow it down

3.  What animal best represents you and why?

NM: I love paradise tree snakes. The kind that leap out of trees and fly through the air. They’re harmless, but you have to admire their ambition.

SF: A large dog: big, goofy and impulsive, but fiercely loyal.

PM: Bear

4. If you were a contestant on Deal or No Deal, how much would you need to be on offer before you walked away?

NM:  Let’s just say it would be the shortest episode of Deal or No Deal ever aired.

SF: An agreement from Andrew O’Keefe that he’d retire from all public appearance, effective immediately. Signed in his blood.

PM: I’d have to weigh it up as it was going, but I’m pretty sure I’d have picked the case with the $200,000 in it.

Tinkertown Nathaniel and Sam. Blue Room Theatre
Nathaniel and Sam from Tinkertown. The Blue Room 2012

5. What was the first piece of theatre/film/TB you ever appeared in and how old were you?

NM: I don’t recall how old I was, but when I was a child I appeared in a commercial for this cheap knock-off of Push Pops called Handy Candy. I had to do the hand modeling, pushing this slimy candy out of its tube. The director yelled at me and I was paid in candy. Which sounds like most productions I’ve worked on really.

SF: I erupted from a cardboard box-chimney, dressed as Santa, thundering “Ho, Ho, Ho and a Merry Christmas!” at age 5, for a pre-primary pantomime. I had yet the master the art of subtlety. Still haven’t, actually.

PM: Rinse The Blood of My Toga – a comedy in year 7 where I played a “private roman eye” investigating the death of Julius Caesar

6. Windows or MAC?

NM: If no one’s paying me to have a preference, then I don’t think I have a preference.

SF: Once you go mac, you never go back. Hyuck.


7. Favourite Food?

NM: The kind that’s cheap, but doesn’t fill me with deep, sorrowful regret afterwards.

SF: Fresh fish, or Mexican.

PM: Steak

8. Who is the actor you would most like to work alongside?

NM: Stacy Keach

SF: Mark Storen

PM: Philip Seymour Hoffman

TC: David Tennant

9. What five songs would be the first you put on a mix tape?

NM: Kangaroo – Big Star; The Electrician – The Walker Brothers; Street Hassle – Lou Reed; Memories – Leonard Cohen; Desperados Under the Eaves – Warren Zevon

SF: The Classical – The Fall; Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’– Rolling Stones; Rumble-You Am I; Take Me Down to the Hospital-The Replacements; The Ballad of El Goodo – Big Star

PM: Spill The Wine– Eric Burdon; An Englishman In New York -Godley & Creme; Candy -Iggy Pop; Fight for Your Right – Beastie Boys; Lilac Wine -Jeff Buckley

TC: The Scientist – Coldplay; Fishies – The Cat Empire; Space Oddity – David Bowie; Hotel California– The Eagles; Pencils in the Wind – Flight of the Conchords

10. What is the best thing about theatre in Australia?

NM: I think we have an extremely supportive industry. There are many companies, playwrights and directors that I’m eternally grateful to; who have reached out to me and helped me get my work circulated and/or produced.

SF: That it gives an opportunity to exciting young artists on the fringe to do something daring and ambitious.

PM: The Nest Ensemble

11. What is the worst thing about Theatre in Australia?

[pull_left]There’s the ongoing danger that if our local industry isn’t nurtured and given the resources to thrive, we’ll keep losing our artists to other cities[/pull_left]

NM: I can’t speak for Australia as a whole; I can only speak from my experience in WA theatre. Let’s just say it’s a prosperous time in this state. There’s a lot of construction being undertaken all around us in Perth. There’s a desire for this city to be almost completely revised; to be new and world-class. Strengthening and supporting our theatre scene should be part of that. There are a lot of talented artists in this city, a lot of theatre companies doing fascinating work – but there’s the ongoing danger that if our local industry isn’t nurtured and given the resources to thrive, we’ll keep losing our artists to other cities.

SF: Amateur company musicals.

PM: Funding for major theatre companies being swallowed by administration rather than creative endeavours.

12. Name one moment when you looked around, breathed happily and felt content.

NM:  When I was in the womb? Maybe?

SF: David Bowie. Supreme Court Gardens. 2004.

PM: When I pat my dog Suzie and sense her utter feeling of security and relaxation.

13. Where is the most interesting place you have traveled?

NM: Every time I try to answer this question, it comes out like a passage from Sartre’s Nausea. It’s likely an indicator I need to travel more.

SF: Accra, Ghana, the West Coast of Africa. It was a glorious culture shock I intend on revisiting sometime in the future.

PM: It’s happened in a few places where I have felt a hatred, loathing based on my race, class or perceived political/ economical/ social values or some sort of prejudice which I can’t get my head around. I’ve seen some awesome and/ or beautiful places, but those I can make sense of. What interests me most is that which I haven’t found a way to make sense of yet.

14. Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?

NM: I’ve met a lot of people I really admire; I’m not sure if ‘famous’ is the right word to describe them. Damo Suzuki and Van Dyke Parks come to mind.

SF: Tim Rogers got me drunk on champagne and whiskey as a wide-eyed 21 year old, whilst we discussed the facial hair styling’s of 1970s cricketers. I’ve had a platonic man-crush on his ever since.

PM: The Queen.

15. Most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?

NM: I was playing Estragon in a production of Waiting for Godot. I forgot my lines. The actor playing Vladimir and myself ended up in this endless dialogue loop involving a carrot. “What is it?” “It’s a carrot.” “A carrot?” “Yes, a carrot.” “But what is it?” “It’s a carrot.” This continued for what seemed like forever, until the actor playing Pozzo burst onstage and put us out of our misery.

SF: Does karaoke count? Nathaniel and I did drunkenly duet on the Rolling Stones’ masterpiece of spoilt decadence, Emotional Rescue. We didn’t think it particularly embarrassing… Until it turned up on the internet.

PM: I had a scene in Three On, One Off where I got caught in an uncompromising position with some lingerie.

TC: During a rehearsal, falling off the stage in the middle of a dance routine into the orchestra pit, then climbing back on stage hoping no one noticed. Everyone noticed.

16. What’s your life motto?

NM: “I’m sorry, I can explain…”

SF: Don’t make mottos: you’ll always disappoint yourself.

PM: Be kind – it’s a motto because I’m still working on being consistent in this regard.

17. What’s your favourite post-show snack?

NM: Beer

SF: Gin.

PM: Beer

TC: Maccas or cereal (or both).

18.  What’s your biggest phobia?

NM: Death. Failure. Death by failure?

SF: Phobophobia.

PM: Fear.

19. What’s the worst date you’ve ever had?

NM: It was a first date. I was 17. This little kid tried to mug me. He had this tiny knife and was demanding my wallet and phone. My date scared him off. It was completely humiliating.

SF: When I was 15 I took a girl ice skating. She went home with a guy who could skate better than me. I’ve had a blood curdling hatred of ice-skating every since (not that I’m bitter, or anything).

PM: With a girl in Sydney who wore a very low cut top and had fantastic boobs. I spent the whole time trying not to look at her boobs and she spent the whole time trying to work out if my economic credentials matched up with my exquisite looks. Not likely for an actor. It wasn’t so bad really.

20. Where do you see yourself in five years?

NM: Happy. Healthy. Somewhere interesting. Doing work that I’m satisfied with. That’s the dream, right?

SF: Pushing through Market Square… So many mothers sighing…

PM: Perth. John Clark (former head of NIDA) once told me about the time when they were establishing NIDA, Nimrod, Old Tote etc. If anyone wanted to make it back then, generally they would take off to London to get any credibility, but some of them stayed to try and build the industry back in Australia. These days Perth artists do the same heading for the east coast. I want to stay and be part of creating a stronger industry here in Perth. The city is big enough now to support a vibrant arts industry. It’ll just take the people who complain about it to stay and do something about it, lose the attitude of entitlement and develop an attitude of development. There are a lot of people in Perth who are doing this far better than I am and I am very optimistic about the prospects for the Western Australian art scene.

Tinkertown is playing at The Blue Room Theatre, Perth until 17 October

Book tickets via The Blue Room 


Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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