Spotlight On… Stars of Paper Hearts, Adam Small and Gabriella Margulies

‘Paper Hearts’ runs at Upstairs at The Gatehouse from the 2nd May – 20th May before embarking on a tour to Germany. Purchase tickets here: https://upstairsatthegatehouse.cloudvenue.co.uk/paperhearts

Break A Leg interviewed the two leads, Adam Small who plays Atticus Smith and Gabriella Margulies who plays Lilly Spocket in the show:

Adam Small playing Atticus Smith

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about the piece and your character…

Paper Hearts is an uplifting rom-com musical set in a high street bookshop. Think ‘You’ve Got Mail’ but this time it has an awesome pop/folk score and it’s half set in Russia. It sounds unusual but stay with me! We follow the story of my character Atticus Smith, a talented but disillusioned writer as he tries to finish his novel Angel Star – a Russian story of love and betrayal. His whole world gets flipped a number of times by a number of things, including the introduction of the headstrong and intelligent Lilly. We go on the journey with him as he tries to fight for what he wants and overcome the barriers.

What was your initial impression of the script?

When I got the script this time I couldn’t believe how much it had changed and developed since our Edinburgh run last summer. It had grown and matured so, so much. Liam O’Rafferty’s writing had me laughing out loud in coffee shops and tearing up on the tube. I’m so proud of where it has come from and so excited for an audience to see this new version of the script!

Was it easy to translate from page to stage?

I don’t know if its ever easy putting on a new musical, but it isn’t always guaranteed to be fun. However thanks to our incredible and inimitable creative team: Tania Azevedo, Dan Jarvis and Lindsay Mcallister it has been such a laugh from start to finish. I feel so lucky to be part of a true collaboration where I’m given free reign to play and come up with ideas. As such, I’ve been given the opportunity to develop my character from scratch and now I’m very territorial! Tania let me build him and create him right from the first day of rehearsals up to what you’ll see on stage. I feel very lucky.

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role?

Initially none. When its a new piece you have no idea of who the character is. If you’re lucky you might get a short bio or a brief with some decent adjectives, but you can’t really know a person/character from that. So I came in fresh. However, I was in the lucky position that nobody had ever played Atticus before. He was mine to make and develop. Like i mentioned before, Tania our director, allowed me to create him and if I had ideas as we rehearsed, I was always allowed to try them, discuss them and put them into play. She is an absolute gem!

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

WE HAVE SPACE! In Edinburgh last year we played the show on a stage described as a postage stamp. Which with a 10 strong cast plus drums and cellos and a load more instruments was no mean feat. Upstairs at the Gatehouse will be an absolute blessing because of the sheer size of it in comparison. I think it’ll add a whole new dimension to the show just having that room to breathe.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

Life is complicated and messy and tough. Come and watch Paper Hearts and get lost in the romance, the laughs and the damn good songs!

Gabriella Margulies, playing Lilly Sprocket

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about the piece and your character…

Paper Hearts is a real feel good love story set both in a bookshop and soviet Russia! It’s about realising and fulfilling your dreams. I play the ambitious and feisty Lilly Sprockett who comes to manage The Final Chapter Bookshop and opens Atticus’ eyes to what his world could be.

What was your initial impression of the script?

When I first read the script I thought what an original structure for a musical – in the sense that it really interweaves two COMPLETELY different worlds. I thought it was going to be an interesting challenge to make it all work smoothly. I was excited!

Was it easy to translate from page to stage?

It was pretty easy getting it up on its feet mostly because everyone involved in the show is amazingly talented and creative. I really enjoy working with Adam and bouncing ideas off of each other, and experimenting with different things.

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role?

One of the things that has been amazing about the Paper Hearts process is that we have all got to develop the script/story together. Adam and I have definitely influenced the humour of our characters – it’s a lot more dry than it originally was. But to be honest, Lilly and I are quite similar.

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

It’s amazing that the space is in thrust – it really lends itself to the show’s immersive different worlds and music.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

I would really encourage people to come see Paper Hearts because I have never worked with such a talented creative group of actors and musicians. They inspire and excite me every day.

Thanks so much to both Adam and Gabriella for their fantastic answers, wishing you all the best for the run.

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