He’s staged Thalidomide! A Musical, stormed American TV and starred in an explicit fairytale with his wife. Now, Mat Fraser is raising hell as Shakespeare’s royal villain – without the humpIf ever an actor was born to play Richard III it might be Mat Fraser. This is a character who, from the very first speech, outlines his intent to “descant on my deformity”; and Fraser – who was born with underdeveloped arms after his mother was prescribed thalidomide during pregnancy – has developed a 25-year career doing precisely that. “A director once said to me: ‘Mat, I can get to know you, learn where not to look and so on, but as soon as you leave the room and come back in – bam – it’s shocking again.’ So I thought – that’s useful to know. Maybe I should use that.”A former punk drummer, Fraser made his first stage appearances with Graeae in the early 1990s and is now one of Britain’s most recognised disabled performers, having fronted the television coverage of the 2012 Paralympic Games and sat in on drums with Coldplay for the closing ceremony. As an actor-producer he has been responsible for such deliberately provocative projects as Thalidomide!! A Musical and the first “cripsploitation” action-movie Kung Fu Flid: Unarmed but Dangerous. For the past five years he has been based in New York, having achieved mainstream success in the US television drama American Horror Story: Freak Show. Continue reading…

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The Guardian