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We ask actor Matthew McElhinney about the special relationships in his life

Friday People

By Kerry McKittrick

The 25-year-old actor is currently appearing in festive comedy show Mistletoe & Crime at the Lyric Theatre, playing the characters of Ryan, Ciaran and Rosco. He currently lives in Belfast.

My best friends

I'm quite blessed in that I found some very good friends when I was growing up and we're all still quite close. There is Jack Davies, Connor Brettmann and Adrian Bell, and we all met at primary school.

Connor lives in America now, as that's where his dad is from, and he comes home about once a year. Adrian is doing a PhD in Brighton in something crazy like insect neuroscience, and Jack still lives close by.

We catch up as often as we can and tend to have a big session once a year when Connor comes home over Christmas. I've been out to visit him a few times in Denver as well.

My parents, Marie Jones and Ian McElhinney

My parents are both actors and my mum is also well-known as a playwright.

My parents are very supportive of me being an actor and they never tried to put me off. They're supportive of me in general. I enjoy acting, but there are other things I would like to do as well. I've been thinking of going back to university to do a degree or concentrating on music, as I play a bit as well.

I've never felt any extra pressure because of my parents, people recognise my surname but that's it. I'm appearing with my mum at the moment and we've worked together a few times before. I find myself working with my mum quite often, in fact. We're all quite close so it's not weird for me. I've spent my whole life surrounded by theatre and theatre-going people, so it's a very normal environment for me.

I'm the middle of three brothers, Darren and David are the other two.

Darren is a marine engineer and is working as an operations manager at Harland & Wolff at the moment. David is still at university in Manchester, studying criminology.

Person I go to for advice

I go to both of my parents for advice, but my dad is the level-headed and practical one.

Mum is the ideas person of the two while dad is the more pragmatic.

My mentor, Damian Cox

Damian Cox is a production manager and technical manager. He's currently at the Lyric Theatre working with us on Mistletoe & Crime but I know him from having worked together in the Millennium Forum.

He's always been very supportive and is a gentle reminder that I'm doing the right thing. He has a very calming influence over everyone and always manages to give me a bit of confidence in myself.

Celebrity crush, Rachel Weisz

I always had a thing for her. I thought she always looks wonderful with her big eyes and dark hair, but she broke my heart when she went off and married Daniel Craig.

Fantasy dinner party

I would like to invite Bill Hicks, the comedian.

He died at 34 from pancreatic cancer but he was so far ahead of his time and very funny.

Next would be Christopher Hitchens, who was a famous writer and public speaker.

He wrote a lot of great books and memoirs.

He was very well informed and there are some great videos of him on YouTube.

When you watch him speak, he really sounds like the smartest guy ever.

I would also invite Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones, as he'd no doubt be a bit of a laugh. And finally, Mahatma Gandhi, to bring a variety of opinion to the dinner table.

  • Mistletoe & Crime runs at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, until January 11. For details, visit www.lyrictheatre.co.uk

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