Ipswich: Close shave is sheer Madness

BY DAY, he’s a business specialist in a High Street bank.

By night, he’s learning to embrace his alter-ego as a petty criminal and thug.

Stephen Lawrence, 39, is one of the lead performers in a production by Ipswich amateur theatre group Gallery Players of Our House, a musical based on the songs of 1980s band Madness.

And for his role as bad-boy Reecey in the show, Stephen has agreed to have all his hair shaved off.

With just over a month to go until opening night, Stephen, from Kesgrave, has taken the plunge already and undergone the transformation, which he hopes will help him embrace Reecey’s hooligan character.

He said: “To be honest, I haven’t been looking forward to this.

“But I think it will help me get into the character of feeling more like a thug.

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“I have to try to remember how to smoke again too and it’s been a long time since I did that.”

Father-of-three Stephen admits his wife and daughters are not looking forward to his new appearance, but said they and his workmates are used to him getting into character for various shows.

He recently sported a moustache which he said looked “ridiculous” to play Fagin in a production of Oliver and again for Officer Crabtree in ‘Allo ‘Allo.

“My wife, Katie, is really not looking forward to seeing how I’ll look like this.I think the girls will be ok,” he said.

“I think some of my workmates will be a bit shocked, but I have warned them and some have already booked tickets for the show, so they’ll see what it’s all about.”

Hairdressing salon Antonio Giovanni, in Friars Street, Ipswich, was the setting for the dramatic appearance change, and boss Antonio Palladino took charge of the clippers to shave Stephen’s locks.

Sally Scurrell is directing the production.

She said: “When we explored the role of Reecey, it quickly became clear that the character needed to be a skinhead.

“I wasn’t nervous about asking Stephen, I knew that he would want to portray the character how we both saw him and I was just relieved that he agreed that Reecey was most definitely a skinhead.”

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