What would you do differently from what you do now?
I would teach, direct and definitely write more than I have through my career. I have to admit there has been some wasted idle time.
Who inspires you and why?
Bold actors. There are so many actors worldwide who have influenced me, but it was Al Pacino’s performance in Serpico that made me, a young electrical apprentice in Hobart, wonder if I could be an actor. I’ve always been drawn to the idea of the ‘storyteller’, and actors in any production play a large role in that.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Well, change the government for a start. In the sixties and seventies we wanted to get rid of war and greed, corrupt and inefficient government and have a more peaceful, inclusive, forward thinking guidelines to live by. Some things have worked, but here we are stuck in the same old oily fox hole, doing stupid stuff, and watching the climate burn the Hell out of us.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
The little Bastide towns of the Dordogne region of France. Especially Domme. History, beauty, great food and markets, and the exquisite tranquil pleasure of sitting under a tree and having some wine, cheese and saucisson, whilst watching the swallows dip and dive over the fields ahead.
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
In Melbourne, my home city, I’d take them to one of our brilliant restaurants. Not one of the ‘top of the range’ ones, but the little ‘tucked away’ treasures. In Brisbane, a walk along your riverside. It’s something a lot of cities don’t have. Take care of it, because it’s beautiful.
What are you currently reading?
At the moment I’m reading The Cow Who Fell Into the Canal over Zoom for my grandchildren. Along with other children’s classics. It’s great, I get to play all the roles. As we are in different cities and also experiencing ‘lockdown’, I’m sure a lot of grandparents are doing the same. Keep it up!
What are you currently listening to?
Morricone’s film scores. I shake my head in wonder at his brilliance, the absolute variety of instruments he uses, some so simple.
A good life doing a job that’s fulfilling, my family, and the blessing of grandchildren.
What does the future hold for you?
Being part of my grandchildren’s lives. And probably one more big musical show. But first there’s dear old Grandpa Joe to enjoy.
Robert stars as Grandpa Joe in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – which plays at Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre – QPAC from 2 September 2021. For more information, visit: www.qpac.com.au for details.
Image: Robert Grubb (supplied)