MICHAEL Lambourne doesn’t usually play humans, so he finds himself in unusual territory this season at York Theatre Royal.

No sooner has he removed the rugged beard that framed his face as cheery northerner Sir Ector in Mike Kenny’s The Legend Of King Arthur than he is waxing his moustache, cast as an escaped German prisoner of war in Philip King’s 1944 farce See How They Run.

“This may be the very first time I’ve played humans back to back,” says Michael, answering a question that originally asked what nationalities he had played in the past.

“Usually, it’s animals, like Roger the Dog in My Family And Other Animals in 2011, so if you’d said. ‘What animals have you not played?’ it may have been harder to answer.

“It’s mainly been animals, other-worldly creatures and potatoes, though whether you think a Nazi German is an other-worldly creature, you decide.”

What’s On was more curious about “potatoes”. “Last Christmas I played a Potato Latke in The Latkes Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: a Lemony Snicket story done by Tall Stories at the Roundhouse in London.” Curiouser and curiouser.

Ever since director Juliet Forster said Michael fitted the bill for the physical comedian she needed for King’s play, he has been mastering his German accent for the role of The Man, or The Intruder as he will be known in Forster’s production, drawing on his German lessons at school and tips from his Theatre Royal voice coach.

“I’ve gone from playing an affable medieval gent to a calculating German Luftwaffe officer,” he says.

“And this is the first farce I’ve done since university days in 2000 at the John Moore University in Liverpool, where I played Dr Rance in Joe Orton’s What The Butler Saw. He was highly strung too, like The Intruder, and the similarity is that there was no wasted line.“Orton didn’t let his audience off the hook and nor does Philip King. This play is like a horse that keeps galloping.”

No less precise than Orton or King’s writing is Michael’s new moustache.

“I make my own moustache wax because I’ve never found one that was strong enough. Now I’ve found a method on the internet where you melt beeswax and add Vaseline to give it just the right firmness and I’m also wearing a beard oil fragrance at the moment called Zeus! So if everything goes wrong, I can always go into the moustache-waxing business.”

Far from going wrong, 2013 has been an annus mirabilis for Michael, whose wife, Pilot Theatre associate director Katie Posner, is expecting their child.

And guess what Michael will be playing next? Yes, an animal, the Big Bad Wolf in Hull Truck Theatre’s production of Nick Lane’s Little Red Riding Hood this Christmas.

• See How They Run runs at York Theatre Royal from tomorrow until October 12. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk