Monthly Archives: April 2017

Casualty ‘Reap The Whirlwind: Part Two’ ~ Episode Review

Oh my days, Casualty! It’s no wonder they’re up for a BAFTA after those last two episodes, filmed so innovatively and cleverly written, too. Here are a few highlights of the tremendously sad episode from last night.

Dr Lily Chao (CRYSTAL YU) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Alistair Heap

Lily’s hit and run ~ So, we all thought that Lily was going to be the ‘casualty’ who met her doom – and it was certainly looking dicey there after her hit and run incident courtesy of Gem. So, as Lily recovers from her ordeal, there’s a cover up plan being hatched…

Gem and Iain ~ In last week’s episode Iain has lost it with Gem, hence her drinking and driving around the car park, causing Lily’s accident. Gem goes to lengths to conceal the fact that she was the driver who knocked down Iain’s potential love interest(!), however when Dylan is examining her injured eye – the truth begins to emerge. Iain, in spite of himself, offers to back Gem up and should Lily recall the incident, he plans to talk to her in order to continue with his plan. Very brotherly, Iain!

Love is in the air (again) ~ Ethan and Alicia can’t stay away from one another and their feelings spill over in this episode, culminating in the start of their relationship being sealed with a kiss, just around the same time as Cal is sticking up for his absent brother. Timing is the name of the game. Bad timing.

Ellisson Family ~ The return of the Elliosson family could only herald one thing, disaster. It just so happens that the fall out from the death of the head of the family, the blame for which is being laid at the feet of the striking doctors – has far reaching repercussions.

RIP Cal ~ We were led to believe that Lily was leaving the show in dramatic and tragic style. I don’t think audiences were prepared for the swift departure of Cal, courtesy of a stabbing from one of the Ellisson boys. Cal, in true heroic fashion was trying to prevent his brother coming to harm at the hands of his attacker, copping for a fatal stab wound in the process. The final scenes where Ethan discovers that his brother has been murdered emotive and horrific in equal measure. With the boys having lost their newly discovered mum, last year – loss has been a running theme for Ethan.

Caleb Knight Richard Winsor
Ethan Hardy George Rainsford
Alicia Munroe Chelsea Halfpenny
Lily Chao Crystal Yu
Iain Dean Michael Stevenson
Jez Andrews Lloyd Everitt
Connie Beauchamp Amanda Mealing
Dylan Keogh William Beck
Lisa ‘Duffy’ Duffin Cathy Shipton
Charlie Fairhead Derek Thompson
David Hide Jason Durr
Elle Gardner Jaye Griffiths
Jacob Masters Charles Venn
Louise Tyler Azuka Oforka
Max Walker Jamie Davis
Noel Garcia Tony Marshall
Gemma Dean Rebecca Ryan
Sam Strachan Tom Chambers
Denise Ellison Lucy Benjamin
Scott Eillisson Will Austin
Mickey Ellisson Mitch Hewer
Susan Beckett Susie Amy
Writer Dominique Moloney
Director Steve Brett
Producer Dafydd Llewelyn

Neighbours Ramsay Street Round-Up – Week Commencing 24 April 2017

Ramsay Street has never shied away from running several storylines simultaneously and this week has been no exception! Here are some highlights!

David’s dilemma ~ David came out to his brother recently – yay! So he’s now trying to get to grips with his newly found openness. This has involved David making his feelings for Aaron abundantly clear and ensuing confusion. Fascinating that David has been able to confide in Paul, though – it seems that their father and son relationship is developing.

Mark to the ‘rescue’ ~ What is it with Mark and pregnant women? Obviously he had a vested interest when Sonya was expecting, but now he’s all over Paige like a protective partner. I’m afraid I had a snigger when he was lying on yet another bed with a woman he’s not actually involved with. Oh Mark!

Ben’s choice ~ Karl is still struggling with Ben’s change of heart, it’s obvious that a part of Dr K still wishes that Ben was following him into medicine instead. Whereas Susan would rather that her grandson had stayed at school. They’re gearing up to catch him when he falls, but will he?

Elly and Finn ~ Elly and Finn have rapidly become close again and they ultimately wind up in bed together, However, Finn’s perusal of Elly might not be wholly romantically driven. It seems that the new Deputy position at school is where his interest lies and he’s soon going behind backs to get what he wants, including ‘telling’ on Susan! This will not end well! He’s also creeping around Xanthe…

Terese and Brooke ~ Terese finally caves in and offers Brooke a job at the Spa. She is then devastated to discover that Brooke invented ‘the ladybird’. So, what’s the solution to feeling threatened by your new partner’s ex? Set him up with Paul Robinson of course… interesting consequences!

A link to the cast is below:

Neighbours_Cast

 

 

Spotlight On… Star of Mamma Mia, Lucy May Barker

Mamma Mia is currently on UK tour, click here for details and to book tickets: Mamma Mia UK Tour

Lucy May Barker is starring as Sophie in the show and I was delighted to ask her a few questions about one of my favourite musicals.

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Lucy, how does it feel to be playing a key role in the touring cast of Mamma Mia?

A dream come true. I absolutely love the show and getting to perform it to all the lovely audience around the UK is a feeling like no other.

How familiar were you with the musical and with Abba’s songs?

I grew up listening to Abba and we had the Abba Gold CD in my mum’s car, so I knew almost all the words already when I auditioned which was very handy ha ha!

What is your favourite scene and why?

I love going on for Lay All Your Love, I love singing that number and from then on I don’t leave the stage for the rest of the act which is a total rollercoaster.

Why do you think Mamma Mia is so popular and has stood the test of time?

The music, for sure, but also the story. It’s about real people and is so relatable, even nearly 20 years on.

If you could play a different character in the show, who would it be and why?

Pepper is a great role, and if I played that role it would mean I could dance and do tricks, which I most definitely can’t, haha!

Which Abba song means the most to you?

Thank You For The Music has my favourite lyrics, “without a song or dance what are we?” and that pretty much sums up my life. I love it!

Finally, what would you say to encourage people to book to see the show?

I’m probably biased, but I would say that I think it’s the ultimate feel-good night out at the theatre and my parents have seen it twenty times (and counting!) so that’s got to be a good sign!

Thanks so much for a lovely interview, Lucy – see you next week!

Spotlight On… Star of The Pulverised, Richard Corgan

Following an explosive premiere at the National Theatre of Strasbourg, Alexandra Badea’s The Pulverised arrives in the UK at the Arcola Theatre with a new English translation from 2nd until 27th May 2017. To book tickets click here: The Pulverised

Rebecca Boey (Sugar Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie, Arcola Theatre; Crystal Springs, Park Theatre; Island, National Theatre), Richard Corgan (Growth, Love Lies & Taxidermy & I Got Superpowers For My Birthday, Paines Plough; The Merchant of Venice, Singapore Repertory Theatre; Gardening: For the Unfulfilled And Alienated, Edinburgh Fringe), Solomon Israel (Dutchman, Young Vic; I Know All The Secrets In My World, Tiata Fahodzi / UK Tour;  Octagon, Arcola Theatre) and Kate Miles (The Grouch, West Yorkshire Playhouse; Troilus and Cressida, RSC; On Ego, Soho Theatre) star in this intimate and urgent story, told from a global perspective, with voices from four corners of the earth.

Here’s an exclusive interview with one of the stars of the production, Richard Corgan:

Tell me about The Pulverised and your character?

Firstly, it’s an honor to be playing the first English translation of ‘The Pulverised’ after it won the prestigious Grand Prix de la Literature at the National Theatre of Strasbourg. It’s always exciting to be involved in new writing and the rehearsal process involved in tackling new work. The play is huge. It spans continents, gender issues, relationships, exploitation, affluence, capitalism and culture. It’s the most worldly play I’ve ever read for sure. We’ve not started rehearsals yet so I’ve not made many choices for my character but I can say that he is a lonely sole who is balancing providing for his family with a life lived in airports and hotels. He does not always handle this virtuously. 

What was your initial impression of the script?

My initial impressions were about how impressively bold it was. It’s a huge story to tell and yet the device used to tell it works really well. It’s hard to answer this question without giving too much away. After my first read the scale of it stayed with me for some time. 

Do you feel it will be easy to translate from page to stage?

The play comes off the page really well so the translation has been very well handled. I’m not yet sure what Andy Sava our director has in mind with regards to staging yet (although she did use the term “movement workshops” in a phone call we had so I’m not sure if I should be dusting off the old drama school dance belt). Andy is a very intelligent director so I’m sure whatever she decides will serve the play appropriately and I can’t wait to get started.

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role?

I think my job as always is to bring honesty. He’s a strong man with weakness and that is an interesting duality to play. I guess I just hope I can do the writing justice.  It’s such a brilliant team with The Arcola, York Theatre Royal and The Changing Face Collective all involved that at this point I just don’t want to screw it up. In all seriousness though, I have faith that Andy Sava will guide us brilliantly so I’m not too worried. 

How does the Arcola lend itself to the piece?

This is my first time at The Arcola as a performer although I’m obviously a fan of the space as a customer. It’s a very versatile space with a lovely cozy feel to it.  I have watched many plays here over the years and I’m in no doubt that this play will slot into the space brilliantly. Can’t wait to be in the building and meeting my fellow company members.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

It’s an award winning play at The Arcola, I think that’s enough to get anyone to the box office. If not then I’d say It’s a unique opportunity to see such a global story in an intimate environment. The bar is brilliant too, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to come. Hope to see you there.

Thanks to Richard for an insightful interview, wishing you all the best with the run.

 

Spotlight On… Stars of Paper Hearts, Adam Small and Gabriella Margulies

‘Paper Hearts’ runs at Upstairs at The Gatehouse from the 2nd May – 20th May before embarking on a tour to Germany. Purchase tickets here: https://upstairsatthegatehouse.cloudvenue.co.uk/paperhearts

Break A Leg interviewed the two leads, Adam Small who plays Atticus Smith and Gabriella Margulies who plays Lilly Spocket in the show:

Adam Small playing Atticus Smith

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about the piece and your character…

Paper Hearts is an uplifting rom-com musical set in a high street bookshop. Think ‘You’ve Got Mail’ but this time it has an awesome pop/folk score and it’s half set in Russia. It sounds unusual but stay with me! We follow the story of my character Atticus Smith, a talented but disillusioned writer as he tries to finish his novel Angel Star – a Russian story of love and betrayal. His whole world gets flipped a number of times by a number of things, including the introduction of the headstrong and intelligent Lilly. We go on the journey with him as he tries to fight for what he wants and overcome the barriers.

What was your initial impression of the script?

When I got the script this time I couldn’t believe how much it had changed and developed since our Edinburgh run last summer. It had grown and matured so, so much. Liam O’Rafferty’s writing had me laughing out loud in coffee shops and tearing up on the tube. I’m so proud of where it has come from and so excited for an audience to see this new version of the script!

Was it easy to translate from page to stage?

I don’t know if its ever easy putting on a new musical, but it isn’t always guaranteed to be fun. However thanks to our incredible and inimitable creative team: Tania Azevedo, Dan Jarvis and Lindsay Mcallister it has been such a laugh from start to finish. I feel so lucky to be part of a true collaboration where I’m given free reign to play and come up with ideas. As such, I’ve been given the opportunity to develop my character from scratch and now I’m very territorial! Tania let me build him and create him right from the first day of rehearsals up to what you’ll see on stage. I feel very lucky.

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role?

Initially none. When its a new piece you have no idea of who the character is. If you’re lucky you might get a short bio or a brief with some decent adjectives, but you can’t really know a person/character from that. So I came in fresh. However, I was in the lucky position that nobody had ever played Atticus before. He was mine to make and develop. Like i mentioned before, Tania our director, allowed me to create him and if I had ideas as we rehearsed, I was always allowed to try them, discuss them and put them into play. She is an absolute gem!

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

WE HAVE SPACE! In Edinburgh last year we played the show on a stage described as a postage stamp. Which with a 10 strong cast plus drums and cellos and a load more instruments was no mean feat. Upstairs at the Gatehouse will be an absolute blessing because of the sheer size of it in comparison. I think it’ll add a whole new dimension to the show just having that room to breathe.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

Life is complicated and messy and tough. Come and watch Paper Hearts and get lost in the romance, the laughs and the damn good songs!

Gabriella Margulies, playing Lilly Sprocket

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about the piece and your character…

Paper Hearts is a real feel good love story set both in a bookshop and soviet Russia! It’s about realising and fulfilling your dreams. I play the ambitious and feisty Lilly Sprockett who comes to manage The Final Chapter Bookshop and opens Atticus’ eyes to what his world could be.

What was your initial impression of the script?

When I first read the script I thought what an original structure for a musical – in the sense that it really interweaves two COMPLETELY different worlds. I thought it was going to be an interesting challenge to make it all work smoothly. I was excited!

Was it easy to translate from page to stage?

It was pretty easy getting it up on its feet mostly because everyone involved in the show is amazingly talented and creative. I really enjoy working with Adam and bouncing ideas off of each other, and experimenting with different things.

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role?

One of the things that has been amazing about the Paper Hearts process is that we have all got to develop the script/story together. Adam and I have definitely influenced the humour of our characters – it’s a lot more dry than it originally was. But to be honest, Lilly and I are quite similar.

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

It’s amazing that the space is in thrust – it really lends itself to the show’s immersive different worlds and music.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

I would really encourage people to come see Paper Hearts because I have never worked with such a talented creative group of actors and musicians. They inspire and excite me every day.

Thanks so much to both Adam and Gabriella for their fantastic answers, wishing you all the best for the run.

Fracked ~ Malvern Theatres

Fracked runs at Malvern Theatres until Saturday 29 April, click here to book: Malvern Theatres Box Office

Star rating: ****

If the opportunity presents itself to see James Bolam and Anne Reid on stage together, you take it (well, I am of that opinion at least!). Especially when said production is directed by Richards Wilson – this truly felt like a piece of theatre (for the most part) created by heroes that I have grown up ‘with’.

Fracked or Please Don’t Use The F-Word is written by Alistair Beaton and couldn’t be a more current piece in the current political climate. The fact that it has two more mature characters at the helm in strong roles is especially notable and also exceptionally observational (my parents are that age!). However, it is a play featuring a wide variety of well-rounded characters all of whom play an integral role in the story. From PR guru, Joe (Harry Hadden-Paton) to loved up campaigners, Sam (Freddie Meredith) and Jenny (Andrea Hart), the wet lettuce head of Deerland Energy, Hal (Michael Simkins) and the benign Malik, PR/techie bod (Waleed Akhtar).

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is a way of assisting the release of gas or oil by pumping chemicals and water under a huge pressure into a shale below the surface. As with every proposition, there are activists campaigning against this, all the more so when they get hold of the information that the result is fuelled with radioactivity and therefore not a viable option given the levels that are occurring. The fact that a play is written about Fracking doesn’t sound inspiring but the story revolves around the campaigners and the fierce PR strategy and that makes for a superb comedy drama.

Anne Reid and James Bolam play husband and wife, Elizabeth and Jack – they live in their picturesque cottage (the set for their home is stunning, homely and could be straight out of Last Tango In Halifax!) and have no signal for mobile phones. They have a landline and if a signal is required they head for a nearby field, avoiding the resident bull! Bolam and Reid are a comedic force to be reckoned with. Elizabeth gets herself involved in campaigning against fracking, loans their back garden to fellow activists and newly dating couple, Jenny and Sam (she’s a lot older than him…) and becomes glued to her laptop in the quest to stop Fracking. Jack, meanwhile would prefer to play Scrabble and would love for Elizabeth to cook for him again. One of the stand-out performances comes from Harry Hadden-Paton who is like the proverbial Duracell bunny and spinning plates all over the place for his client, Deerland Energy. He is a bafflement to Hal, and his assistant, Emma (Sophie Khan Levy) – but he appears to have a loyal assistant in Malik.

It’s packed with laugh out loud humour and only too familiar political snipes. The set and lighting is quite incredible and drew me in, from the clinical whiter than whiteness of the PR company offices to the cosy kitchen belonging to Jack and Elizabeth, the simple revolve does the trick and those two main sets are enough.

You don’t have to know a single things about Fracking to enjoy this, such is the cleverly engaging style of the script. Highly recommended!

Spotlight On… Star of The Crucible & Call The Midwife, Victoria Yeates

Victoria Yeates is best known for her role in Call The Midwife, she is usually found beneath a wimple as Sister Winifred – however she is currently appearing as Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Here’s what Victoria had to say about the production…

Victoria as Sister Winifred in Call The Midwife (Credit: BBC)

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, how familiar were you with the script?

Not very familiar but I had read the play at school.

What have reactions to the piece been like so far?

Incredibly positive…

What do you think the strengths of the production are?

I think it’s pace. Doug didn’t want the audience to have time to reflect so you feel pulled along in the madness with them.

What is the biggest challenge for you in playing Elizabeth?

It’s hard because, at the beginning of the play, she’s so conflicted; she has five things going on at the same time. She loves her husband John but he has been unfaithful to her so you see her as being aggressive, defensive, guilty, scared that he might leave her and on top of that she also wants to be the best wife to him. It’s what happens when someone is having an affair but here the stakes are so high and she doesn’t know how to express herself. It’s a complicated part but it makes it really interesting.

What do you enjoy about theatre work?

I like getting time to hone. Also with text this well written you are endlessly finding more layers and being surprised every night by something new. This longevity really allows you to open as an actor I think and have a ‘work out’ so-to-speak.

When you’re on tour, what home comforts do you like to have in your dressing room?

A nice scented candle, I like to bring a nice blanket with me from home and probably some flowers.

Just quickly dipping into Call The Midwife (because I’m a huge fan, like the rest of the nation!) why do you think the show is so popular and what do you particularly like about your character Sister Winifred?

I like that we are still getting to know Winnie, she still has a lot hidden. I like how she has struggled with judgement and other more unattractive qualities we all share. I think in this current climate its important to represent someone we like, but then feel contradicted in that liking by some of their views we don’t particularly share. I think it’s so successful because people like watching connection and community. Stories we can all share in and have a link to in some way…..and of course as its nearly all women! 

Huge thanks to Victoria for her time, I can’t wait to come and see this and I’m excited for more Call The Midwife too!

Spotlight On… Director of Brimstone & Treacle, Matthew Parker

Brimstone & Treacle opens at The Hope Theatre, Islington on 2 May 2017 and runs until 20 May – 4 May is already sold out so book your tickets now: The Hope Theatre Box Office

I’m really looking forward to seeing this production and I always thoroughly enjoy productions at The Hope Theatre – so I caught up with Matthew Parker, award-winning Artistic Director of The Hope and also Director of this in-house production.

Fergus Leathem as Martin

What inspired you to choose Brimstone & Treacle as your next in-house production?

It’s a controversial masterpiece about good and evil, identity, religion and what it means to be British. Who wouldn’t want to tackle a one act play that explores all of those monumental themes? Plus – and crucially for me and the Hope – it is a gender balanced cast (2 women and 2 men) with roles for two actors over 50. 

It’s about racism – the horror that lies behind the twitching floral curtains of middle England homes. It attacks what it means to be British and the lengths people will go to inside their own heads to “reclaim their country”. Coming off the back of 2016’s Brexit vote it really couldn’t be more timely if it tried! It’s the 40th anniversary this year and I am always fascinated to look at these 20th century classics with a 21st century audience and ask ourselves “what has changed?”. It’s scary to see just how little that matters has actually changed in terms of attitudes to race, gender and religious tolerance. 

It’s a controversial piece of theatre, what do you think the strengths of Dennis Potter’s writing are?

The piece examines the nature of good and evil, and asks whether miracles can occur from an act of evil – from the visitation of the devil rather than an angel. So it’s challenging; make step audience think. It’ also has elements of horror and the classic thriller about it. 

And it is funny – and the fact that it is funny as well as violent is shocking in itself. Even at our first read through some of the team were laughing away whilst some others were staring at them in horror, thinking “how can you be laughing at that?”. As a director, work that creates different reactions within audiences has always attracted me. I’ve wanted to have a crack at this play for many years. 

How do you feel that the space at The Hope Theatre will lend itself to this play?

The Hope is a fabulous space in which to create intimate and atmospheric theatre. The audience feel part of the action – connected to the actors in a way that is rare in theatre. And that connection is felt by the actors too. It creates a real live wire experience. And for a play like tis that contains some scenes of a potentially disturbing and violent nature, that intimacy will create quite an atmosphere!

Olivia Beardsley as Pattie and Stephanie Beattie as Mrs Bates

Did you have any ideas of who you wanted to cast when you selected the piece or particular qualities that you were looking for in your cast?

No. I always look for people who are gorgeous to work with. Talent is so important but it’s not the be all and end all for me. They also need to be collaborative, open and fun. To take the work seriously but not themselves. I feel very lucky with this cast – they are all at various stages of their career but pulling together and learning from each other loads. As am I. 

Stephanie Beattie was in my production of STEEL MAGNOLIAS last year and blew everyone away with her astonishingly heartbreaking performance as M’Lynn. Joining her as her on stage hubby is Paul Clayton, an actor with an amazing career spanning TV (Peep Show, Him and Her, Coronation Street) and theatre including RSC, Chichester, Royal Exchange, West End. They are joined by 2 graduates of Drama Studio London; Fergus Leathem, who last year appeared in Game of Thrones (and is part of the Hope Box Office team so it’s great to finally get him onto the stage here and not just handing out the tickets!) and Olivia Beardsley joins us less than a year from graduating and I’m super-excited to get to work with her at this early stage of her career. She’s definitely one to watch!

Is the rehearsal process changing your initial vision for it?

Oh every day the play surprises me. There is so much detail in the writing and that’s wonderful to work with. It is both very funny and very shocking. And it has moments of breaking theatrical conventions from heightened naturalism to something a little more odd. Something I tend to call “Whoo”. As in “it all goes a bit Woo here” meaning magical or odd or supernatural etc. I love working on plays with Woo in them!

Paul Clayton as Mr Bates

What do you hope that the audience will take away from the production?

The comfort that good will always triumph over evil. And the knowledge that they7 have watched 4 excellent actors giving a performance of a show they will never forget. 

Finally, why should everybody buy a ticket to come and see Brimstone & Treacle at The Hope Theatre next month?

Because it’s funny and challenging and moving. It’s written by one of our greatest writers and is so rarely seen that this is a fabulous chance to catch it. Plus it’s just 90mins straight through so you can be back down in the lovely Hope bar by 9.15!

Thanks to Matthew for chatting to Break A Leg during a busy time (rehearsals are well under way and the production opens next week!) – I urge everybody to go and see this play!

All rehearsal photo credits: Headshot Toby

 

Neighbours ‘Ramsay Street’ Round-Up ~ Week Commencing 17 April 2017

I’m a little late with last week’s round-up, but here is the latest about last week’s Ramsay Street shenanigans:

Ben’s Career ~ Ben’s been taking advice from Mr Kelly and the verdict seems to point towards him leaving school early to take up a mechanic apprenticeship which will have a job at the end of it. Sounds pretty perfect to me, Ben. Although I think your granddad is just a teensy bit upset that you’re not following in his footsteps. You’ve taken your life into your own hands by suggesting to your Grandmother that you leave HER school early too!

Sonia & Mark – Rumbled! ~ Toadie’s brother, Shane and their mother arrive in typical boisterous Rebecchi style and Toadie is soon questioning Sonia and Mark about the nature of their relationship again after his brother mistakes Steph for Toadie’s wife. The mistake could be forgiven as Shane spotted Mark and Sonia kissing. One thing seems clear to me as this storyline progresses, Sonia does not love Mark – regardless of his feelings for her.

Sonia’s AA Visit ~ Sonia has been hitting the bottle again, kudos to her though, she has started to attend her AA meetings again. Let’s see if their support helps her through this… it’s sad to see her going off the rails again.

Brooke’s Job Hunt ~ Brooke is determined to hand around for her honey bunch, it seems and it willing to undertake a job, too. Of course there’s more to it, but first she tries to coax Piper into giving her a job at the coffee shop, eve attempting and failing to fix the loo in order to prove her worth. However, she soon has her sights set closer to home as she makes a beeline for Terese and a vacancy as a masseuse. Are they going to work together? I predict trouble if they do!

Back wax! ~ The reason for the vacancy in the hotel spa is due to the resignation of the therapist who had been booked to wax Gary’s back following a massage which Terese intervened. Poor Gary wasn’t anticipating a back wax, however, Terese was quite sneaky in planning it all, even administering the first strip herself – painful! Needless to say the entire back was not waxed in the end!!

A link to the cast list is below:

Neighbours_Cast

 

 

Spotlight On… Star of Blood Brothers & Hollyoaks, Sarah Jane Buckley

Sarah Jane Buckley is a name that has been familiar to me since she first burst onto our television screens as Kathy Barnes in Hollyoaks back in 2005. Hollyoaks is one of those soaps that many deem to be their guilty pleasure. I’d say I’m the sort of viewer who feels guilty about not being able to watch it as often as I’d like and find it a pleasure to watch when I do get around to it! Kathy was always a favourite character of mine and I’m delighted that she is making a brief return to the show, even if it is under tragic circumstances.

Since August last year, Sarah Jane has been entertaining audiences up and down the country as Mrs Lyons in Blood Brothers. It’s a show I’ve seen many times and it continues to be a firm favourite of mine, I can honestly say that Sarah Jane is one of the best I’ve seen in the role of Mrs Lyons and I have my fingers crossed that she’ll return in the role when the tour kicks off again after the summer.

Having the opportunity to interview Sarah Jane was a real pleasure, so without further ado, here’s what she had to say about her recent performing experience on stage and in front of the camera.

Thank you so much for talking to Break A Leg, you’re making a brief return to the role of Kathy Barnes in Hollyoaks, what are you able to tell me about Kathy’s come-back?

I’m back for Amy’s funeral (Kathy’s daughter), she has been murdered and we don’t know who’s done it – not even I know who’s done it so I can’t tell you! Sadly I didn’t get to film with Ashley Slanina-Davies who plays Amy as the character had passed away by the time I got there for filming.

How did it feel to return to the set? Did it feel like you’d never been away?

Actually it did feel as if I’d never been away, a lot of the team are back – some left and have come back and some are still there, so a lot of the crew were the same. Tony Hirst who played my husband was also back, Zoe (Lister) who wrote the episode had been asked by the producers to write herself back in, and she’s also a friend of mine. So being in the episode with them felt quite familiar as we’d all been in it together all those years ago. I felt completely welcomed which was amazing, but it was quite a tough time because I was filming at the same time as appearing in Blood Brothers. My partner picked me up outside the theatre at 10:30pm and drove me up to Liverpool where I would then have three hours sleep and go into the studio, he would then pick me up outside the door and drive me to the venue for the matinee or evening performance of Blood Brothers. If it hadn’t have been for him I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I was so happy and excited to be back in Hollyoaks and to be able to do both jobs at the same time. I was so lucky.

Kathy’s back!

What’s your dream job?

To be behind the bar of the Rovers Return in Coronation Street is my dream gig, it always has been. Or behind the bar in Emmerdale, either of those pubs will do! I’d go back to Hollyoaks full time at the drop of a hat, though, I love Hollyoaks.

Moving on to your recent stage work, you joined the cast of Blood Brothers last year – what has that experience been like and how familiar were you with the show before you joined the cast?

I was super-familiar because I’ve been a fan since 1988 when I was at Guildford Drama School, I went to see it and Kiki Dee was in it with Con O’Neill. I have always wanted to be in it and I feel lucky to have the chance to be on that stage hearing the music and to work with Lyn Paul who is an amazing Mrs Johnstone.

You’re playing the role of Mrs Lyons but you understudy the role of Mrs Johnstone and have played her, are you keen to move on to play her, eventually?

Absolutely, I’d love to take on that role – I love playing Mrs Lyons, it’s a great part and an acting part which is what I do but as I’m also a singer it’s a lovely opportunity to do both, really.

Do you have a favourite moment or highlight in the show or does that change from performance to performance?

I think it does change because we have such different audiences in for every performance and there are spine-tingling moments at every point. Some days it’s when we’re singing ‘Tell Me It’s Not True’ and you can feel the audience’s passion and emotion and sometimes it’s the scenes where I’m working with Tim Churchill and Mark Hutchinson who play my husband and son. There are moments there that are very tender and there are so many of those in the show, it’s such good drama.

I feel that I get something different from the show every time I watch it…

I do as a performer, too because that’s the joy of live theatre, you get the chance to have another go and to change it.

So, finally, what else is next for you?

I’m going to have a rest for a month, see my partner, my family and friends and then hopefully the autumn will bring the next tour of Blood Brothers (nothing is confirmed yet). I have felt so lucky to have been part of this Blood Brothers tour and to have been directed by Bill Kenwright for the gala performance in Liverpool last year.

Of course in this business you never know what’s going to come through the door, you can be unemployed on a Friday and working on a Monday.

I want to extend my thanks to Sarah Jane for taking time out to chat to me, I really hope she’ll be back as Mrs Lyons (and eventually, Mrs Johnstone) and I can’t wait for Hollyoaks at 6:30 pm tonight! Kathy Barnes is back! Sarah Jane also does panto every year so Break A Leg will let you know as soon as we have news on which one she will appear in this year.

You can keep up with all of Sarah Jane’s news here: Sarah Jane Buckley Website