In the second experiment of "The Good Listening To Show: Stories of Distinction & Genius" going LIVE as a Theatre Show, please welcome Theatre Royal Bath Pantomime legend Jon Monie, who joined me in front of a live audience, complete with Q&A and simultaneous streaming as we recorded to Facebook & YouTube.
Jon is an award-winning actor and writer. He is also a regular improviser in INSTANT WIT and an occasional table!
Monie by name but certainly not moany by nature. Jon claims to have inherited wit from his father and anxiety from his mother. That analysis by itself reveals his quirky sense of humour. He was educated at King Edward’s school in Bath, which in those days specialised in producing excellent middle class professional material - doctors, lawyers, accountants - rather than architects, actors or writers. The school’s attitude and facilities have changed a lot since then. Jon studied drama and found a second family in amateur dramatics.
Unhappy as a teenager, he sought solace and creative satisfaction in a company called ‘Musical Youth’. He then started a promising career in regional television, not as an actor but as a popular presenter.
His popularity earned Jon an invitation to Pantomime, so when the tide turned against regional TV, Jon had cultivated a new career on stage - acting and writing, inspired and guided by the legendary Chris Harris. You could say that from that point onwards, Jon never looked back. But there is a reflective side to Jon Monie, too. He recalls his own mental health issues and the help he received from an anonymous female therapist - who, ironically, he was originally highly unwilling to see. At the lighter end of the spectrum, Jon joyfully recalls collecting pictures of himself with a range of animal lilos while on holiday with his husband, Dean.
To this day, Jon’s idea of heaven is lying peacefully on a plain blue lilo, in a private pool, with headphones on, listening to 12 minute tracks from Genesis in their hey days - the 1970s. Music soothes his savage breast! Jon has also been a backing singer, more than once, for that popular West Country group, the Worsels!
In the real world, Jon is fascinated by the buttons that would confront him in, say, a recording studio or in an aircraft cockpit. And on the subject of buttons, he also acknowledges that in Panto, the character Buttons suffers resignedly with unrequited love for Cinderella. Jon Monie has a romantic side too, it seems!
At its best, Panto is tri-generational - in other words, it appeals to children, their parents and their grandparents. Popular TV likewise. Jon’s rubbery face and jiggly eyes mean that while he may not be a contender for the next James Bond, he has massive tri-generational potential.
Paul Eddington, who was so brilliant in ‘Yes, Minister,’ shares Jon’s Hippocratic lifetime ambition: “Do no harm.”
Tune in next week for more stories of 'Distinction & Genius' from The Good Listening To Show 'Clearing'. If you would like to be my Guest too then you can find out HOW via the different 'series strands' at 'The Good Listening To Show' website.
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Thanks for listening!