This week we are talking and celebrating our first real life theatre show for the first time in months! Whilst the industry is slowly trying to adapt to a covid and a global pandemic world, there are some shows that are slowly appearing in the theatres. Rachel Thorn who is in Between Us, Crime Scene Impro and Mates is making her return to the stage this month with a brand new solo show. I had to catch up with her to find out all about it. It is important to note that the theatre in Clapham where this show is taking place has social distancing rules and regulations in place and to find out more about these you can click here.
Hello there! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello! I’m an actress-writer-comedian-improviser. Anyone got a new noun for that?! Phoenix Remix-ers might know me from my improv work, including Between Us and Sex, Lies & Improvisation, as well as CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation and MATES: The Improvised ‘90s Sitcom.
Tell us all about the show!
Think Fleabag plus ‘90s nostalgia fest! The central character finds herself suddenly single after years of monogamy, but she doesn’t know how to do modern dating. The last time she was on the pull, she was doused in Impulse Body Spray and The Spice Girls were at number one! So she dusts off her Sugar magazines and goes back to the ‘90s in her hunt for a phwoar-some trouser-shape. The show is all about working out what you want, what you really, really want.
What times does it run throughout the day?
Lovefool is live – yes, real-life live! – on 29th September, 30th September and 1st October at 8pm.
How much does it cost, location etc?
How was the project formed?
I had roughly 50 performances booked that got cancelled due to lockdown, so I decided to get positive and sign up to Katy Schutte’s solo show course. It was awesome! Katy is an excellent teacher with so much experience. And Lovefool was born! My lockdown brainchild.
This is going to be your first show back on the stage. How are you feeling about it?
I went on a ginormous zip wire over a lake in August. So like that! Part of my central nervous system is telling me I appear to be leaping to my death and I should commence freak-out, while the rest of me is yelling: “This is gonna be AWESOME!!!!”
How did you get inspiration for the show?
The weird thing is I think I’ve had this show brewing in me for the last 25 years, right back to when pre-teen Rachel was buying Sugar magazine. I just needed lockdown and my Jedi Mistress Katy to release it. I always knew those magazines were going to be important. I’ve jettisoned so many past possessions but Sugar clung on. I’m fascinated by it as a snapshot of an era and an attitude. In many ways it’s very supportive of young women. The text is mostly empowering and the tone is wonderfully upbeat. But the images and adverts tell a different story. Ultimately it’s part of the machine that groomed girls like me to meet certain expectations. Lovefool explores what happens once you’ve grown up, and life hasn’t delivered on its share of the bargain.
How do you rehearse for a solo show?
With my director, Claire Dean! She’s another Sheffield actress. We were cast together in a play I’d written for Next Left. I love working with her because she has such great attention to detail. She helps me mine every single nugget of comedy out of each moment.
What has been the inspiration for the show?
Honestly the inspiration has been the many amazing women I am blessed to know since I hit my 30s and found that – like it or not – our lives revolve around our uteruses. These people are my friends, just “normal women”, who are quietly making amazing choices that affect life and death. Maybe that’s why Sugar magazine banged on about periods so much!
With everything happening in the world at the moment, why is it so important to have activities like yours available?
We can’t not have live theatre! (And live comedy and live music and live circus and live poetry and live improv etc.) We just can’t. Without it we are shadows of our former selves. I’m not going to quote Winston Churchill, but you get me.
Will the show be available online in the future for those who could not attend the real life performance?
No. In many ways, lockdown has made theatre and learning more accessible. Sex, Lies & Improvisation took part in two online festivals; I’m teaching improv for a Chicago theatre from my own home; and I had the pleasure of doing Katy’s course with people based in South Africa, California and Australia. But there will always be a place for live theatre, and that’s where you’ll find Lovefool!
What can people expect over the next few weeks from your project?
The Bread And Roses Theatre has done a great job of implementing social distancing measures and making them workable in a fringe theatre. I hope we can prove that if you can go to work, go to school, go to the pub, play golf, then you can go to the theatre too.
If people want to find out more about you on social media where shall they visit?
Find me or Claire Dean on Facebook and Twitter!
Finally why should people come and see your show?
It’s really bloody funny.