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Interview with Lynne Fitzgerald 2010

Four Girls and a Caravan - promotional image

4 Girls and a Caravan? What could possibly go wrong? Chris High chats with Lynne Fitgerald.

Every woman knows what it's like, screaming kids, lazy husbands, nosy neighbours and the only thing to look forward to is a huge pile of ironing. There comes a point when the only answer is to pack your bags load up the car grab your mates and get away from it all for a weekend of peace and quiet in the Welsh Countryside. What could possibly go wrong?

This is the premise for Liverpool Comedienne and actor, Lynne Fitzgerald, and her partner, Steve Simpson’s new play 4 Girls and a Caravan, which is being Directed by Merseyside theatre legend Sylvie Gatrill and produced by Jane Joseph of St. Helens Theatre Royal.

Theatre goers will remember Lynne as an award winning stand up shows Bunty the Bouncer and Shona Snatch the Drag Queen from Hell. More recently, she’ll be recognized following her outstanding performances in The Salon and Night Collar, both at The Theatre Royal and then later at The Liverpool Royal Court.

4 Girls and a Caravan is the first play Lynne has written with Steve Simpson, her partner of four years. ‘We just hit it off because our sense of humour is very similar, so when the opportunity came along to write the play it just made sense to do it together,’ Lynne explained.  ‘I’ve written for my own shows and I’m used to thinking on my feet, whereas Steve would go away and think about stuff for three or four days which has given the play a really strong edge. I tend to be more literal, whereas he’s more lateral, and to be perfectly honest it didn’t really take us that long to write, about four or five weeks in total. Then we approached Jane Joseph at the Theatre Royal who agreed to give the play it's debut and has really been supportive. Although it didn’t take us that long to write, the process from getting it from being on paper to live on stage has taken around two years or so. A play is an ever changing piece of work and it won’t really be finished until the curtain goes up on the opening night.’

Even though it’s her play, Lynne hasn’t landed the role she wrote for herself. ‘My character is Stacey, although we had written the part of Danielle for me, who is now being played by Lynn Clarke. People always tend to see me in a loud mouthed, feisty kind of role and I wanted to do something a little bit different. Then when we read the script through and began getting the mechanics of it aired, it made sense and Sylvie saw me straight away as single mum of seven Stacey who makes a living off benefits and doing very well out of it, ta very much.’

But the play isn’t going to be all post card gags, terse innuendo and bluff humour either. ‘What Steve and I have tried to do is create four very different women. Danielle, Stacey’s best mate, is not in a very happy marriage and thinks it might be time for a bit of a change. Then there’s Amber, played by Suzanne Collins, who is incredibly dippy and innocent and then there’s Rhonda played by Claire Bowels who takes just a little bit too much interest in Amber’s well being for an older woman and comes across as a sort of Margaret Thatcher of Liverpool. Now there’s an image to conjure with! Chantelle Joseph, Jane’s daughter, also features in the play and the hilarious star of Council Depot Blues, Shaun Mason, is the only male on stage with us. Pete Price puts in an apperance on the silver screen, so there’s plenty of recognisable faces for the audience to feel comfortable with. What we want is for people to come and have a good laugh, yeah, but also to go away and think a little bit about their own lives and how they impact on others.’

As well as all this, Lynne has also come up with idea for a way in which to train aspiring comedians.  ’24 Hour Comic comes from people stopping me all the time and asking me how I do it. I started out as a comedienne as an 18 year old single mum needing to find something to live on. I didn’t want work in a bar or restaurant or anything like that so then, from out of nowhere, I thought – as you do – “Oh you know what, I’ll and do stand up,” so off I went to an open night at The Trade Union centre. Straight after that I got 16 bookings and doors began to fly open. Of course there’s been some great experiences and some not so great experiences, and 24 Hour Comic is designed to outline to those who want to do it what to expect and how to perform on stage in front of people expecting to laugh.

Some people say you can’t teach stand up, but I actually think you can. My background is in drama, so if can you pretend your acting as a stand up comedian and are prepared to put the work in on the timing and delivery aspects, you’ve just about got it cracked. What I’m offering is the chance to become a stand up comic in 24 hours, over 12 weeks, to perform in front of an audience at The Adelphi Hotel at the end of July. What I’d really like though is for it to be an ongoing course so that every quarter we can put a showcase together for local talent that will be a great experience for everyone involved and a whole lot of fun.’

So back to the play and another development that Lynne has thought of to get people involved ... the world of social networking. ‘This is the first time that anyone planning to go and see a play can interact with the characters – in this case, Stacey Ealey, Amber Hawthorn, Rhonda Fletcher and Danielle Carpenter – via Facebook and you can even sign them up as friends. Over a thousand people have so far added the characters to their profiles. The interaction is really capturing people’s imagination and some of the exchanges are hysterical.’

4 Girls and a Caravan produced by Jane Joseph and directed by Sylvie Gatrill makes is at the St Helens Theatre Royal on Thursday July 8th with further performances on Friday the 9th and Saturday the 10th (including matinee). For further information or to book online visit www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com or call the Box Office 01744 756000.

For further information on 24 Hour Comic, E-mail Lynne on 24hrcomic@googlemail.com

 

 

  
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If you would like to comment on this interview with Lynne Fitzgerald 2010, please feel free to contact me - GUESTBOOK

“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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