• Revellers

Actor Spotlight | Alex Mugnaioni

Updated: Jun 23


Today's spotlight is focussed on actor Alex Mugnaioni, infamous for losing an antique mandolin used in his current production of Captain Corelli's Mandolin... But let's not dwell there too long! He has worked with the Globe Theatre more times than you can shake a stick at (The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, Othello, King Lear and a six month tour of Much Ado About Nothing around South America and the US). Other stage credits include productions at the Watermill Theatre, with PunchDrunk/National Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse and Greenwich Theatre. His work on screen includes Mr Sloane and The Borgias for HBO.

Revellers: Let's start with the here and now - How is Captain Corelli's Mandolin going? We hear it's coming into town!

Alex: Yeah it's going amazingly well thanks. It's a project that I'm incredibly proud of! During rehearsals no-one really knew how it would be received, which is often the way with a piece that is so heavily involving and time consuming. We had 5 weeks of very intense rehearsals with Saturdays and evenings and then a tech week and then we previewed in Leicester for just over a week and were re-rehearsing stuff during the days, such hard work and very intense but also incredibly rewarding. Even during the preview period we were unsure of the response because apparently the audiences in Leicester are notoriously quiet, but then the reviews started coming in and they were all very positive which was a relief. I know reviews aren't important but it's always nice to see something that you've put such a huge amount of work into getting praise and validation. The company are so warm and loving and we really care for each other on and off the stage, and you really need that with a production like this where you're dealing with such big emotions and moments I. The character's lives. You've gotta feel safe with each other. Also we're touring so you want to be with people that you get on with and luckily we all do. Melly (Still) the director created a fantastic ensemble. I'm going to be really sad when it finishes. 

Captain Corellie's Mandolin rehearsals showing Alex Mugnaioni playing a small guitar
Alex in rehearsals for Captain Corelli

Revellers: We have to ask about the missing Mandolin... We hear your father had a rather amusing response?

Alex: Ah. Yes. Thanks for this... I think it's gonna haunt me for the rest of my life. "The actor who lost the mandolin" Well, my dad was instrumental (lol) in discovering the mandolin that the company ended up purchasing so when I lost it I was dreading letting him know. I called him up about 5 minutes after realising and said "Dad I've done something really bad... I've left the mandolin on a train". That was hard enough to admit but it was the 10 second silence after admitting it that was the real killer, he finally responded in his Scottish accent after what felt like an age "... Oh for FUCK sake". Fair enough really. 

Revellers: What's your favourite regional theatre?

Alex: Ooooh I don't know really. There are some really amazing theatres out there. It might change after this tour, because all the theatres that we are going to I haven't been to before. I have a feeling I'll really like Birmingham Rep, its a theatre I've wanted to perform at for a while. We've just finished in Bath Theatre Royal which was a dream, the sun was out, the city is beautiful and we just lay in the private garden and played with one of the cast member's dogs. It was lovely. Nottingham Playhouse also holds a place in my heart because it was where I had my first major theatre gig. 

Revellers: What's your favourite theatre in London?

Alex: Again that's tough, but I absolutely LOVE the Young Vic, they put on incredible theatre and I've always wanted to perform there. Fingers crossed. Also the Cervantes theatre is an amazing theatre just opposite actually which produces amazing Latino theatre, and has been very welcoming to my theatre company Chaskis Theatre. 

Actor dancing and shouting with band playing in the background

Revellers: You trained at Rose Bruford - How was that?

I did I did. I studied on the Actor Musician course which was perfect for me as I wasn't sure whether to do music or acting. I have zero complaints. I had an amazing time. I know drama school isn't for everyone and some people have very different experiences but I loved it. I was getting to do the things I loved all day everyday and never once didn't want to go in. I threw myself into everything and tried to absorb everything. I also met some of my life long friends there so I have a lot to thank Bruford for. 

Revellers: And you were actually at school with Revels in Hand founder Lucy Eaton - What was it like doing plays together back then?

Alex: How far we've both come! Lucy was prolific at school in the amount of theatre she produced so it's no surprise she's running this very successful company now. I loved doing them mainly because I got to be cool and hang out with girls from the year above me. I remember we did The Importance of Being Ernest... I played Algernon and what I mostly remember is that I hardly knew any of my lines and made most of them up, which was probably quite annoying for Lucy and was definitely annoying for Max Hutchinson who was playing Ernest and had to contend with me making most of it up. Max and I are still very good friends though so I think he forgave me. Luckily not learning my lines is a habit that I've grown out of. 

Revellers: What's the most exhilarating audience you've ever performed for and why?

Alex Mugnaioni actor globe theatre

Alex: I'd probably say when I performed The Drowned Man with Punch Drunk. There was just something about the proximity of the audience and the unpredictability of them that meant nothing was ever the same and you always felt moment to moment with them. That was amazing. Also I did a project a few times with the Globe Theatre called Playing Shakespeare where we performed to a full house of inner city London and Birmingham school kids from 12 to 17 yrs old. That's 1500 kids from different schools probably rivals all squashed together to watch an hour and a half long Shakespeare show. It was absolute carnage. Historians say that the atmosphere in the theatre was probably most like what it would have been like back when Shakespeare was writing the plays. It was an overwhelmingly humbling experience as an actor being probably 5th on their list of priorities and having to work so hard to keep them involved. But when you did there was nothing like it. The most successful one was probably 12th Night directed by Bill Buckhurst. 

Revellers: What should be catch on TV or at the theatre at the moment?

Alex: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin! And avoid the last season Game Of Thrones, it would be much more satisfying to just make up an ending in your head and go with that. 

Revellers: Who's your favourite actor/actress?

Alex: I absolutely LOVE Joaquin Phoenix. I think everything he does is spectacular and he is so versatile. Watching him on screen is like no other actor, he's doing something different and very very special. I can't wait for the Joker movie. 

Revellers: What would you be doing if you weren't an actor?

Alex: I'd probably be some sort of therapist or social worker. The only issue is I never put the work in at school so didn't get the grades. But if I decide to take a different path then I'd probably be able to apply myself to the learning now. But currently things are going great and I'm happy to take the highs and lows of this career. 

Alex is currently playing the titular character in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which will be coming into town from 4 July to 31 August. Catch it at Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End.

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