When asked about his interest in acting, Cameron Abery simply pushes his head back and laughs. ‘‘I’m a linguist,’’ he says, clearly bemused. ‘‘When you study French & Portugese, everyday life is merely a collection of masks.’’ But it’s Abery’s various on-stage guises that Oxford audiences are increasingly familiar with, starting in typical fashion with an appearance in Queen’s cuppers last year, and culminating last term in a major role in Devised Play One: Fear.
Devised Play saw Abery adopt the role of a teenage paedophile in a script produced ‘organically’ from scratch over the course of a term. Asked why he ended up in the role, Abery merely grins and says it ‘‘came naturally’’ to him.
Abery’s fondest memories from his childhood growing up in a small Yorkshire town are of acting in school plays. During our chat he takes a moment to reminisce about a role in his primary school nativity play. ‘‘I was the cow,’’ he says wistfully. ‘‘They cast me as Joseph in Reception but by Year 1 I was back in my sister’s cow-print leggings as one of the cattle.’’
Childhood disappointments aside, Abery’s star is now firmly in the ascendancy. Following roles in the riotously funny Moliere adaptations Tartuffe and The Hypochondriac, Abery will return to the stage in 4th week as Miles Gloriosus in the Queen’s garden musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. This and a devised version of Frankenstein will mark his departure from the stage for a while, however – in Oxford, at least.
‘‘I knew straight away that I wanted to spend my year abroad in the arts. I’m working with a burlesque troupe based in Paris – just a clerical role, but fingers crossed I’ll be able to get a bit more physical.’’ What about long-term plans? Cameron’s dream role would be Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire but in the meantimee he’s planning to let loose and enjoy life, with Dancesport cuppers as his next challenge.