Full steam ahead in Stratford pupil’s stage debut

PUBLISHED: 15:30 03 February 2015 | UPDATED: 15:38 03 February 2015

Max McKenzie performs at The Railway Children at King's Cross Theatre

Max McKenzie performs at The Railway Children at King's Cross Theatre


Much like the train that appears on stage alongside him, this young actor is steaming into London theatres.

Max McKenzie performs at The Railway Children at King's Cross TheatreMax McKenzie performs at The Railway Children at King's Cross Theatre

He might only be 13, but Max McKenzie has already landed a role in The Railway Children playing at Kings Cross Theatre.

And yes, it features an actual steam train.

Max, of McGrath Road, Stratford, has been taking acting lessons with Stage Studio Theatre School at the Theatre Royal Stratford East.

He now juggles performing on stage four times a week in front of hundreds of paying punters with the daily routine of doing his homework and having fun with his friends.

Talking about his role as Thomas in the production, the Year 8 Forest Gate Community School pupil said: “I have to get involved with the audience so sometimes I have to go up to them and talk to them in a posh voice.”

With the theatre divided in two and audience members sitting on both sides of a railway track that runs through the stage, Max’s theatrical debut is tougher than most.

“I always have to make sure that I’m never be out of character – that I’m never myself,” he said.

“I can’t really relax, so it’s quite hard work, but it’s just fun. It’s my idea of fun.

“The best bit is that we go on an actual steam train at the end. It was so weird the first time because it’s just completely different .

“You actually feel like you are in the time [it is set – the turn of the 20th century] because everyone around you is dressed like it.”

Starring in the play, which officially opened earlier this year, has given Max the chance to rub shoulders with professional actors and learn all he can.

He said: “I can just talk to them and they are all really nice people. I just enjoy myself and am getting the experience from it.”

With acting on the London stage already under his belt, Max is on track to fulfill his dreams of wrting, directing and starring in movies.

“I would love to be an actor when I’m older and maybe write a few of my own screenplays,” he said.

“And maybe see my name on a movie screen saying ‘written and directed by Max McGrath’.”

But it’s not the fame that seems to be driving this young rising star.

“Entertaining people is the best bit,” he said of acting.

“Just seeing people around you with smiles on their faces or changing their emotions, depending on which character you are.”

Watch this space.

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