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Interview with Eithne Browne 2007

Image: Eithne BrowneBy Chris High

Liverpool Actress, Eithne Browne, has appeared in many TV productions but is probably most recognised as Brookside mother, Chrissie Rodgers. An accomplished stage actress, Eithne recently starred in Brick Up The Mersey Tunnels and is about to appear in Dave Kirby’s new Liverpool-set play, Lost Soul, in which she plays a disillusioned married woman in search of fulfilment. ‘Having reached her late forties Pat feels life is slipping away and thinks that if this it she might as well keep on dancing,’ Eithne explained.  ‘When she gets fancied by a much younger man – a Bouncer at the club she goes to – her actions split up the friendship she has with her two best friends. Although she may not have as many lines as the others in the play, she’s still a great protagonist and kicks a lot of things off. Her dilemmas are those that lots of people will recognise, I think.  I knew Pat and what was needed straight away. Dave Kirby writes women’s parts really well and is a bit like Willy Russell in many ways, because Dave comes from a family of seven sisters and has absorbed everything about them. He’s also a very honest writer and Lost Soul is a lot different to Brick: a lot deeper and a lot darker, but is still very funny.’

Lost Soul is billed as a play about “getting older but not getting any wiser”. How do you fair on this point? ‘I’m not getting any older …that’s it now,’ Eithne laughed, ‘though I’m definitely getting wiser and never want to stop learning. When I was seventeen I thought I knew it all. Now I’m fifty-two I set myself smaller targets – little dreams, if you like – that I feel comfortable achieving. I’m very happy with where I am at the moment. Have little dreams but lots of them, is my advice.’

Having just completed a hugely successful six-week, sell out run at The Royal Court with Brick Up The Mersey Tunnels and coming straight into Lost Soul for a further three weeks, it may not be surprising to find that relaxation is not something that really concerns Eithne. ‘I don’t relax, not really.  I sleep really well and use the theatre as a free gym. Working repertory, like I am for the next six months or so, means you don’t really have time for a lot else other than work and requires a fair amount of self-discipline. I don’t drink anymore, but that doesn’t stop me enjoying myself. Spending time with my son, Neil, and close friends are very important and, after an illness and a few operations, I’m rediscovering the joys of reading, which is great.’

Eithne was seen on TV most recently as Jamie Draven’s mother in ITV1’s superb drama, Mobile. ‘Jamie must have been panicking when he saw who his on-screen mother was. My TV kids tend not to have too happy an existence, somehow. Mobile was a great show to work on with a superb cast, a lot of whom I’d worked with before, such as Neil Fitzmaurice. I enjoy acting in both mediums and though TV is easier on the nerves and pays a lot better, stage work gives you that sense of working in a team and I love rehearsals and the character development process. Then of course there’s the instant audience reaction you get. I love it. I’m here at The Liverpool Royal Court for six months. After Lost Soul there’s Good Golly, Miss Molly and then panto. I’m not sure exactly what 2008 has in store yet. So like I say, it’s busy at the moment but, also, a lot of fun.’
Chris High.

Lost Soul runs at The Liverpool Royal Court Theatre from Friday 31 - September 29. To book telephone 08707 87 1866 or online at www.theroyalcourtliverpool.co.uk

Parts of this interview have, or will, appear in other publications and in other formats.

  
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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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