We might have seen him as the adorable Alfie Moon on Eastenders, but Shane Richie is about to undergo a transformation unfamiliar to the soap audience.
He appears in The Perfect Murder at Northampton’s Royal and Derngate from Monday March 14 to Saturday March 19 alongside fellow Eastender star Jessie Wallace.
There will also be another chance to see the dynamic duo when they appear at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre from Tuesday March 29 to Saturday April 2.
And he had a clear idea about how to play the part.
Shane said: “I play Victor who is in a loveless, soulless marriage and he and his wife detest each other. We are always rowing with each other.
“But it has been good working with the director Ian Talbot. I came in with quite a clear idea on how I was going to play it and he has been very encouraging. I have been able to grow a beard and a moustache.
“I based the performance on Anthony Hopkins in the film Magic, he starts off quite normally but then the descent, you really start to see the character change quite dramatically.
“It has started to permeate my life. I was at home and my wife and I were rowing about the remote control and I had to take a step back because I thought I was turning into Victor.”
It was the radical departure from the happy-go-lucky soap character that motivated him to play the part.
Shane added: “One of the reasons I wanted to play this part is that he is so different from the parts I have played before.
“I think you see him in the first scene and you think he is just a typical lad. But as it gets darker and deeper… well you’ll have to wait and see.
“Peter James is a good friend of mine, and have read the books. He is also a big fan of Kat and Alfie. I’ve been asked to play it and was just a case of finding the time to do it. It is also only a nine week tour which was another appeal.
“When Jessie came on board, I said to her that there are plenty of laughs in the show and you can play it for laughs or you could go deeper and darker.
“I think we have found a good balance between the two.”
He is also pleased to be back on the stage having been on Albert Square for the last few years.
Shane said: “The tour has been going really well so far. We were in Dublin and there was a sell out crowd of 2,000 people and so we are hoping for the same at Northampton and Coventry.
“Northampton is a venue I have been to a number of times. I took Boogie Nights and the stand up tour. I have a few friends coming to see it and I think some of the Eastenders cast are coming to see it as it is the nearest venue to Watford.”
And he does wish he could do more theatre.
Shane added: “I do really love doing theatre when I am about to start it although when I am at the end of the tour, I think I can’t wait to go back to television.
“I would like to do maybe an eight week run on the West End so that I could do the school run and things like that and to know where I am.”
You suspect if he is not fed up of Jessie Wallace before the end of the year, then he never will be. Filming soon starts on a drama based around both their Eastenders characters and they will appear in pantomime at the end of the year.
Shane said: “I get my wrists slapped when I call it a spin off, but it will be interesting to see the audience reaction as there is no template for this before. There has been nothing where two soap characters have been given their own drama series so there is no template.
“I think it is like a cross between Broadchurch and The Wicker Man. Kat and Alfie goes to Ireland, this quiet little village and there are lots of secrets and they are both in the heart of it.
“I’ve read the script and within the first 10 minutes I was going, no please don’t go there.
“After the drama, and the darkness of The Perfect Murder, it will be great to go with Jessie on the stage and do pantomime at Southampton. It will be nice to go on the stage and just have some fun.”
To book tickets for the show at Northampton, call the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.