Interview With… Feargus Woods Dunlop and Heather Westwell

LLLC’s Emma Clarendon chatted to Feargus Woods Dunlop and Heather Westwell about bringing Anthony Horowitz’s story to the stage.

Thanks so much for talking to me. For those who don’t know what is The Falcon’s Malteser about?

Feargus:  It was originally a brilliant book for young adults by Anthony Horowitz. It features Tim Diamond, who is a wonderfully stupid private detective, and his much smarter younger brother Nick. 

Heather: They are hired by a three foot Mexican called Jonny Naples to look after a box of Maltesers and half the world’s criminals are suddenly chasing them. It is very exciting and really funny.

What made you want to bring this particular Anthony Horowitz story to the stage? 

Heather:It’s just really funny with brilliant, larger than life characters and exciting set-pieces.

Feargus: It also has a gripping story at its centre, there are lots of laughs but you care a lot about the Diamond Brothers surviving.

How are you feeling about bringing the production to London?

Feargus:  Excited and nervous in equal measure.

Heather: We love regional theatre and touring our work, but the opportunity to work with James Seabright and present the show in the nation’s capital during Kids Week was too good to pass up.

Feargus: It’s our first ‘proper’ experience of London’s theatre scene, and we’re loving it so far.

How have you found the experience of bringing The Falcon’s Malteser to the stage? 

Heather:  It’s been a joy. When you are working with a piece of source material that makes you laugh out loud reading it, then add amazingly talented creatives around it, and finally add in a cast who bring these wonderful characters to life it is almost magical.

Feargus: We’ve had such great support throughout each step; our original theatre partners were brilliant during the tours, the Edinburgh run and working with that team was glorious, then meeting James (Seabright) and hatching the idea to bring it to London was amazing. Throughout it all Anthony himself has been so supportive and encouraging which is incredible.

Heather: Particularly considering when we first approached him we didn’t have that long a track record, just one previous tour.

What do you think it is about Anthony Horowitz’s stories that have such a massive appeal to young readers? 

Feargus: He understands how to create memorable and believable characters and then puts them in brilliant situations the reader (any age) wants to see them deal with.

Heather:  He also uses comedy so well. Even in his more serious-toned books like the Alex Rider series the comedy is still there and just lightens everything.

Feargus:  But with that lightness, he’s not afraid of a bit of dark. There are some scenes, even in The Falcon’s Malteser, which could be pretty harrowing without his comic timing and touch. 

What can those coming along to see the production expect?

Feargus: A group of four actors working very hard to give them the best show possible.

Heather: They can expect to be made to laugh, to be excited and perhaps even a little nervous at some points.

Feargus:  If they know the original story they will see a lot of the characters they know and love, but presented in new ways. They will recognise their favourite moments from the book, but with a theatrical spin on them.

Heather:  We hope they can expect to have a good time.

By Emma Clarendon

The Falcon’s Malteser will play at The Vaults from the 17th July until the 25th August.

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