Derry actor Jack is getting rave reviews

Actor Jack McCann. Photo: Mug Photography.

Actor Jack McCann. Photo: Mug Photography.

A Derry man who has taken the lead role in a major London play has been described as making “a remarkable professional debut.”

Jack McCann, a former head boy at St Columb’s College, is a million miles away from his first career choice. The 23-years-old had been accepted to study law at Oxford, but a passion for drama and musical theatre led him to the prestigious Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where he’s currently studying.

When the chance came up to take up his current role in ‘The Sins of Jack Saul.’ Jack couldn’t turn it down.

“I was actually back in Derry for the Easter holidays when I got the call,” said Jack this week, during a busy run of shows in London.

He was called to audition for role of Jack Saul. Saul was the most notorious male prostitute in Victorian London. Born in a Dublin slum, he worked his way into the upper echelons of the aristocracy, became embroiled in two major scandals and was the central character in an infamous work of pornography. But it was his involvement in the Cleveland Street male brothel, with its high profile clients, that secured his reputation.

Now Jack Saul’s story has been brought to life in the writing of Glenn Chandler, the creator of ITV’s ‘Taggart’.

“It’s amazing to be playing such a fascinating personality,” says Jack, who shares the same name as his character.

“This is a story which probably should have been told earlier. It’s one that we all feel we should have heard about but it hasn’t really been out there. The fact that Jack Saul was Irish is an added dimension.

“Because the part hasn’t been played on stage before, there’s great freedom there for me, as an actor.”

Jack cites his parents, Bridgeen and Paul as musical influences. His father is a former director of the Londonderry Musical Society.

“There have been many influences in my decision to follow this path. The pianist Ruth McGinley was a great help to me when I was making that decision to move into studying musical theatre. Also, when I lived in Derry I studied singing with Caroline Millar and while at St.Columb’s I was taught music by Margaret Burns, both of them were also big influences for me,” said Jack.

The former St Columb’s College pupil will next appear in an opera and has other projects in the pipeline. ‘The Sins of Jack Saul’ has also had its current run extended at the Above the Stag Theatre.