Max the Brave Q&A - Britten Sinfonia

Meet Max the Brave

Max the Brave (c) Ed Vere, 2014. Reproduced by permission of Penguin Books Ltd.

Max the Brave (c) Ed Vere, 2014. Reproduced by permission of Penguin Books Ltd.

Ahead of our family picture book concerts, we caught up with the star of the show: Max the kitten, to find out a bit more about the cat behind the superhero cape.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight is yet to come… sharing the stage with Britten Sinfonia, I hear they’re not at all bad.

When are you happiest?
I’m happiest when I’m chasing a mouse through a meadow on a sunny day.

What is your greatest fear?
Being tricked by a mouse. Mice are devious and exceedingly cunning, I do not like them at all and I haven’t yet learnt all their wiles.

What is your earliest musical memory?
Listening to Jacqueline Du Pre scratching away practicing Elgar’s cello concerto. I lived next door, she used to tickle me under the chin and feed me bits of fish, and I would give her much needed encouragement.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
I’m not sure if he’s still alive, if he is he’s very old, but I most admire Tom… such persistence, diligence and conviction to the cause. How he didn’t catch Jerry I will never understand.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
Most embarrassing moment? Why would I tell you that…? I don’t want everyone knowing.

What is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possession is/are my remaining 8 lives (I’m counting that in the singular if I may). I lost one to the monster. I plan on hanging on to the others.

What would your super power be?
What do you mean ‘would’? I have the gift of being a cat.

If you were an animal what would you be?
What a remarkably strange question… Didn’t you notice that I’m a cat?

What is your most unappealing habit?
Best left unsaid.

What is your favourite book?
No question, ‘Max the Brave’, it’s a true work of art, full of pathos and the dark comedy of life. How I’d love to meet the author. I hear he’s highly intelligent… highly!

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Near constant naps… but honestly, I don’t feel that guilty about them.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Plenty of mice… but I suppose you’re asking about guests? In that case I’d invite the Britten Sinfonia… I don’t know if they’d eat mice though… What do you think?

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
I’d go to Eygpt at the time of the Pharaohs… they worshiped cats… a highly intelligent civilisation!

How do you relax away from the concert platform?
Performing really takes it out of me… when I’m away from the concert platform I simply adore to shred the arm of the nearest sofa.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement has probably been the tour de force of my acting in the 3 ‘Max’ books. A highly demanding role. For the first book I had to pretend I had no idea what a mouse looked like. I appeared entirely clueless, but with a dash of sophistication. As I said, a highly demanding role.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Humility (as you will note from my last answer).

In a nutshell, what is your philosophy?
‘Carpe mus!’ Which I believe translates as ‘seize the mouse’!

Many thanks to author Ed Vere who was kind enough to translate Max’s purrs, meows and hisses into English.

Max visits Norwich’s St Andrew’s Hall, Saffron Walden’s Saffron Hall and London’s Barbican during February half term. Book tickets here