A long time before I started obsessively going to the theatre, I saw the odd production as an English Lit student in Liverpool. My first ever stage Hamlet was at the lovely Theatr Clwyd just over the Mersey in Mold. It was towards the end of 1991 or early 1992.
The thing I remember most about it - apart from one of the costumes catching fire on a candle - was that Gertrude was played by a man, Martin McKellan, and his performance was so affecting I was moved to tears.
Well I certainly haven't seen his name crop up since and neither have I the actor who played Hamlet, Geraint Wyn Davies. But tracing the names further down the cast list, the Bernardos, Francisco's and Osrics and low and behold I find none other than Toby Jones, Rhys Ifans and Jack Davenport.
The latter was making his stage debut at the age of 18 having been discovered by the director performing on a summer drama course. And to think I've just been watching him in the NBC TV series Smash as single-minded and unfeeling musical producer Derek Wills?
Rhys Ifans is of course legend and seen most recently playing the baddie in the blockbuster Spiderman movie, as is Toby Jones who's become a stalwart of TV and film.
Just goes to show you should always keep an eye out for the minor players as you never know who's fledgling career you might be experiencing. Anyone else got a good early spot, even if you didn't realise at the time?