Welcome to 2021 and all this month we are celebrating acts, websites, content, musicians and everything in between that you should be looking out for this year! Last year was not an easy year to launch a new show, let alone a solo show and in an actual venue! Well that is exactly what Rachel Thorn did with her show Lovefool and is hoping to be able to take it on the road this year! I spoke to Rachel to find out all about it.
Hello! Tell us all about yourself Rachel?
Hello! I’m an actress and a writer based in Sheffield. Lovefool is my solo show about using the logic of ‘90s teen magazines to tackle modern dating. You might also know me from Sex, Lies & Improvisation, CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation and MATES: The Improvised ‘90s Sitcom. I also write and perform comedy sketches for “Sketch Up!”.
How did your show Lovefool come about?
A few years ago in our dressing room at Brighton Fringe I got chatting to a woman about her solo show. She told me that I should create one because there’s nothing like it. It’s such a challenge and you find out so much about yourself. That moment lodged in my brain. I really wanted to take her advice but I knew I didn’t have time. Scroll forward to March 2020 and I had roughly 50 live performances booked – which of course got cancelled. Then I spotted Katy Schutte’s solo show course and knew the time had come. Lovefool is my lockdown silver lining!
How long did it take to write?
The script itself took just a few weeks. I think I tend to write quite fast because of all my years in narrative improv. After all, I’ve effectively co-written live something like 300 plays, not counting rehearsals. But the concept and themes have taken about 25 years to mature!
What inspired you?
A great source of inspiration for me is the joy of being a teenager in the ‘90s, so I’ve created a character who goes back to that world and tries to bring it into her adult life. And more recently I’ve been inspired by the amazing women I know who make such difficult decisions so quietly. They’re amazing.
You did a few shows last year. How did they go?
I managed to take Lovefool to the Bread & Roses Theatre in Clapham while Covid rates were still low. It was a joy to be back on stage. Theatre really needs to be live and human beings really need live theatre. Fingers crossed for those vaccines.
What are your plans improv-wise for 2021?
So many plans! Sex, Lies & Improvisation will hopefully be at Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe, alongside MATES: The Improvised ‘90s Sitcom. I can’t wait to be back teaching live again and I’m super excited for international improv retreats to reopen.
I’m also looking forward to touring Lovefool and doing some more “Sketch Up – Live!” gigs. Watch this space…
What other shows are you looking forward to seeing perform online or in person to this year?
Sex, Lies & Improvisation are doing some awesome double bills at the Bread & Roses in July, with Project 2 and Pippa Evans. Cannot wait!
What styles do you hope to see more of in theatre this year?
I hope that people will feel able to make theatre that doesn’t reference the pandemic. I’m sure there are lots of audiences who would love to see that kind of work but personally I’d prefer to look elsewhere for drama and for comedy.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? If so what are they?
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions. I wake up each day and my brain goes, “What’s possible today?” It’s always the first day of the rest of my life.
Are you on social media? If so how can people find out more about Lovefool?
Yes! For the first time ever I’m on Instagram. It just seemed like a better platform for sharing all the awesome ‘90s nostalgia stuff that working on Lovefool has generated. Check out @lovefool90s on Facebook and Instagram, especially if you’re still agonising between ananya and dewberry, Home & Away and Neighbours, Alanis Morissette and Alisha’s Attic.
Three words why people should come and see you this year?
We’ll have fun.
QUICK FIRE ROUND
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
I had a zebra burger at a music festival. It was nice. Stripy.
If you could trade lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?
My six-year-old so I could see the world through her eyes.
If you could paint anything what would you paint?
My grandmother was a wonderful artist. I’d really like to be able to do watercolour landscapes like her.
What is the most delightful word you can think of?
I mean, I’ve been humming Lovefool by The Cardigans a lot lately…
Who is your comedy hero and why?
I think I’ve been in love with John Cleese since I was about eight.
What is your favourite movie quote?
“The ship will sink.” I like what it tells us about why we tell stories and what we want to see in them.
Who is your favourite cartoon character and why?
The brave little toaster! Beats Toy Story hands down.