Salisbury Playhouse reopens its doors on September 16th with the funny and heart-warming John Godber play. Which has been Especially chosen by the Theatres artistic director Gareth Machin smaller cast will help reduce the chances of covid cases.
The two-hander play follows the thirty-year marriage between Liz and Jack Munroe. The couple spend a week every year in September visiting Blackpool where they have disastrous holidays year after year. The play by John Godber has been chosen specifically for the Theatres relaunch after the long closure where we saw Covid-19 bring live Theatre to a complete halt.
During their rehearsal lunchtime break I was fortunate enough to catch up Nicola Sloane and Ian Kelsey to find out what they have been up to during the pandemic and their thoughts on their upcoming roles as Liz and Jack Munroe.
After months in lockdown, I asked both actors if they managed to get any work during that time?
Nicola explained about working in Leeds, where she had self-isolated for two weeks before starting the recording. To then spend most of her stay in Leeds confined to a hotel room. “You couldn’t order any food” and “the only thing available for breakfast had been a bacon roll without butter just a very basic service. Very simple to try and stay secure”.
Ian’s experience had been far stricter when he had worked in Dublin. The “covid police” were out in force making sure people were two metres apart, gelling your hands all the time he explained and strict curfews were upheld. The whole experience was “strange” and “it wasn’t very nice as it wasn’t the friendly experience being on the jolly film set that it usually is”
How are you finding the new way of working in Theatre?
As Ian explains Salisbury “are writing their rules as they go” strictly taking temperatures, asking people to wear their masks and keeping two metres part. Both Nicola and Ian feel very safe working in Salisbury and have extremely high praise for all the staff work there. As they both agreed “its great to be back on stage”.
Have you worked together before?
The natural relaxed relationship I saw between the couple led me to ask if they had worked together before, as they certainly appeared to be old acquaintances. However, laughing and joking they explained that until they had gone for dinner the first night, they arrived for rehearsals they had never met before. Nicola had heard of Ian before and was keen to work with him. She jokingly tells me that he had probably never heard of her before. Even if that was the case he has now.
What drew you both to agree to perform in this play?
Ian laughed and said “the pay check” straight away. I am sure there’s some truth in that answer too. However, Nicola laughs at him and says “No, it’s the opportunity to perform this fantastic two-hander. The script is funny, touching and a real joy to be performing”. Ian explained that he has always fancied performing a John Godber play and he tells me that when his agent offered him this opportunity after halfway through reading the script he was sold and agreed.
If the couple I met off stage are as entertaining and funny on-stage Theatre goers are in for an incredibly funny and entertaining performance. I look forward to reviewing September in the Rain on press night, Friday 17th September.
If you live in the Salisbury area and feel confident to return to live Theatre, then a trip to see the couple in September in the Rain sounds like a great way play to watch. If the rapport between these two lovely actors is as good on stage as I witnessed off stage audiences are in for a fantastic play. The comedy throughout this play will hopefully raise the spirits of the returning audiences as much as it has for Nicola and Ian.