Thamesmead TV actor Jamie Zubairi stars in Agatha Christie thriller
PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:16 13 February 2019
Seeing Star Wars as a five-year-old convinced a Thamesmead lad a life on stage and in front of the cameras was for him.
And now Jamie Zubairi is making waves.
He cut his teeth in Grange Hill, and the now 47-year-old has been in Holby City, Silent Witness, EastEnders, and even several video games.
Now he is appearing on stage in Agatha Christie’s thrilling courtroom drama, Witness for the Prosecution.
The show is now in its second year, running at the spectacular setting of London’s County Hall on the South Bank.
He told us how it all started for him.
Jamie said: “I saw Star Wars when I was five and it was the power of the storytelling in that film that fired my imagination.
“When I was a little older, my parents took me to dinner-theatre in Kuala Lumpur, where we lived at the time, and I saw good British actors like Gordon Jackson and Joan Sims in live performance.
“It was then that I found there was this job that people did called theatre.
“There was humour, tragedy and romance happening right before me. My heart was set from then on.”
Apart from the likes of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, his actual inspirations are thin on the ground, but he does enjoy a wide variety of theatrical styles, even at times a panto.
He said: “That changes as I grow. In theatre it’s wonderful to watch actors who, night after night, produce different magic from their performance.”
He singles out Jasper Britton and William Chubb, his co-stars in Witness For the Prosecution because of their ability of tremendous expression on a stage in front of a live audience.
Jamie, who plays Dr Wyatt, said: “They are amazing to watch. I’m lucky I get to observe them night after night.”
As for his favourite production to be involved with so far, he said: “Tides, which is an indie feature film that’s out now, was an amazing shoot to be part of because of the level of artistry and craft involved, and we felt like a family. I had that with Cucumber too. On stage there have been so many favourites for different reasons: the ones that stick out are the ones where it has felt like a family pulling together.
“With Witness, everyone is mucking-in around the leads to make the show work. The pool of talent in the room is humbling.”
Asked if he ever fancied being a major Hollywood player, Jamie, who calls himself Zooby, said: “I want to act and tell stories in whatever form, be it a one-man show, or through a painting, a poem, or a big blockbuster film. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been part of huge productions.”
So why did he opt for Witness? He told us: “I’d been offered it originally a year ago but the timing hadn’t worked out. Then, when a friend of mine was in it said she was having a great time with it,
“I went to see it - and was struck by Agatha Christie’s clever weaving of mystery, deception, humour and drama. When the opportunity came round again to be in it, I jumped at the chance.
“Story is important to me. And message: I certainly hadn’t thought that Agatha Christie, writing about class and entitlement in the early-to-middle of the last century, would have had any resonances, but this production certainly hits several nails on the head about our society today.”
Jamie, who also appeared on stage in Parliament Square at Manchester Exchange Bush Theatre and The Letter in the West End, said Agatha Christie’s work seems to be more popular than ever at the moment.
He was also featured in the music video for Chrissie Hynde’s single Adding the Blue with his own painting centre stage.
Witness for the Prosecution runs at London’s County Hall, currently
booking until 1 September 2019.
Tickets at www.witnesscountyhall.com