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The foreboding weather is a fitting backdrop to our discussion of his latest dark character, Martin Taylor, who wheedles his way into the suburban household of Mr and Mrs Bates.

They are caring for their severely disabled daughter, who in one scene, he shockingly rapes.

She didn't want to be there." Although this doesn't bode well for audience members, he says that the play is as relevant today as it ever was.

This is the actor's first stage outing since his well-received West End debut at the Garrick Theatre in 2010, playing a closeted film star in Douglas Carter Beane's comedy The Little Dog Laughed.

"At Christmas his tin roof flew off so I went up there to help him put it back on in a blizzard," says Friend.

"I've never thought it was a good idea to act back-to-back.

It's like a less funny version of Rhys Ifans in Notting Hill, and not Welsh," says Friend. They couldn't afford a set nor somewhere for me to live.

I'd come out of the shower in my towel, and there would be the cameraman in my kitchen, making coffee.

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