T’S easy to figure out why Daniel Francis has been cast as flamboyant club owner Caleb.
With his immediately likeable personality and warm smile, you feel at ease with an actor who oozes a certain cool.
“You know what you get with Caleb. He says it, he doesn’t hold back and he’s very opinionated,” enthuses Daniel. “When I first read the play I was ‘I like that’. I love how open he is. He’s very aware.We’re dealing with a lot of class issues in the play and he represents the working class black man in Philadelphia and he’s very in touch with that.
“He owns the jazz club which is a popular little joint and is always in contact with the people, keeping an ear close to the street. He’s a man’s man, down to earth. There’s not much pretension with him.
“He’s a bit more harsh than me, though. The way he goes about expressing is a little bit harsh at times, but I do respect people who have their opinions. There comes a time when you’ve got to pick your team... this is where I stand and I’m willing to live or die by these morals and beliefs’. Some people are gonna love you for it, some people will hate you, but that’s just how it is.”
One Monkey also reunites Daniel, whose TV credits include Eternal Law and a “blink and miss” part in Law & Order, with director Dawn Walton, the artistic director of Eclipse who previously found success with the marvellous There’s Only One Wayne Matthews in the Studio.
Fast-paced and funny, Don Evans’ script is a combination of US TV sitcom The Cosby Show and Restoration Comedy fleshed on a set built to replicate a live television show with real TV and on-air lights.
The story follows the family as their lives are turned upside down by the arrival of sassy southern cousin Beverley.
Upon the death of her father she is placed under the guardianship of his business partner, the streetwise Caleb. But Beverley is no child and she soon has plans to get hold of both the business and Caleb. “They’ve moved into the white neighbourhood and gone middle class. She’s from the ‘hood’ but she’s aspiring now and she has made a very clear stance on what side of the fence she’s on,” says of Myra (Jocely Jee Evien).
“She tries to leave it behind but it gets brought into the family, which my character just loves because he’s trying to bring them back down. I get up to some dirt. I bring my own prejudices and judgements. I guess I struggle to find a universal message, but people will come and get from it whatever from wherever they are in the time of their life, which is often the case with good writing.”
One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show runs until September 24.