Live theatre shows for children are a fantastic way of introducing the young generation to live performances whilst reinforcing the fact that entertainment does not only come from the glowing box in the corner of the living room. What Pongo’s Party does is combine familiar voices from CBeebies, namely those of Justin Fletcher (who voices Pongo the Pig) and Nicole Davis (who voices Molly-Moo Cow) with lively performers and engaging puppets up on stage.
The story is simple yet effective and involves all of the puppets in the cast, not only the aforementioned Pongo and Molly-Moo, but also Sheena the Sheep, and that mischievous Crow, Crafty! Martin Parsons wrote the show and performs as Marty MacDonald, the Farmer. Kate Ashmead is the Producer but also acts as Sally the Scarecrow and happily meets the young audience members after the show.
The auditorium was rocking with The Hokey Cokey, The Wheels On The Bus and I Am The Music Man being received with enthusiasm, to which Sally the Scarecrow replied “Strawtastic!”. There was a fantastic mixture of musical numbers for the children to join in with and a special birthday party activity which also required audience participation.
I took my young son to see Marty MacDonald’s Farm last year and he loved it, Pongo’s Party has been a hit, too and we can’t wait to see more from the team.
She started acting professionally at a relatively late age, but I think I speak for fans of In The Club and Trollied when I say that we’re mighty glad she took up the profession. Her list of credits is not limited to these two exceptional shows, she has also starred in Doctors, Waterloo Road, Tittybangbang and Early Doors to name a few. Currently, you may know her as Midwife, Geraldine in In The Club, as well as Customer Services Assistant, Sue, in Trollied. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the fantastic Lorraine Cheshire!
Hello Lorraine, thank you for talking to Break A Leg, I’ll start with In The Club, what have been your personal highlights of the two series that you have appeared in so far and is there going to be a third series?
All of it has been a highlight for me, I’ve loved both series and playing Geraldine. I’ve really enjoyed the new characters that have been introduced in the new series. I love Kay Mellor’s writing, it’s a family set up with Gaynor Faye and Yvonne Francas (Kay’s daughters) also involved in the team. I’ve worked with such a lovely cast, they’re all such lovely human beings. I have had such smashing feedback from viewers too, the other day a little girl came up to me and told me she watches the series with her mum. I also love all the tweets we receive on Twitter.
We work long hours, especially when there is a birth scene to film, so being part of a cast that get on makes it easier. I don’t know if there will be a third series, yet!
What did you think when you first read the script?
I thought the writing was great and I could picture Geraldine and what she would be like. Kay was so lovely in the audition process and she wants you to do well. With Kay’s writing, all the work’s done for you, it’s all there in the script.
If there is a third series, what would you like to see happen to for Geraldine?
I don’t think she should have a back story, I think it’s more interesting to leave it with no story outside of her job as a Midwife. I like that she has no back story, but if Kay wrote one I wouldn’t say no, either. I know that the line in last week’s episode where she said she had “nobody to ring” made the viewers feel sorry for her and see her as lonely, but it could be just that, she’s lonely. Or maybe she’s got many bodies buried and it turns out that she’s a serial killer and she’s had lots of husbands!
Trollied is one of my favourite comedies, is there going to be a series six?
Yes, we start on 20th June!
What are your favourite memories so far of playing Sue in the show?
I love Trollied, it’s not all scripted and I think that’s great. I love my scenes with Faye (McKeever who plays Linda) and that Sue is in the wrong job as Customer Services Assistant. The cast is brilliant, Jason Watkins (who plays Gavin) is lovely and of course there are now two members of our cast who are BAFTA winners. Jason has won one and now Chanel Cresswell (who plays Katie in Trollied) has also won a BAFTA. They deserve it, they’re both so lovely and I’m really pleased for them.
I feel really lucky to have had the job on Trollied for six years!
What do you look for in a script? What encourages you to want the part?
Great writing, obviously, but also as happens with Trollied, where it isn’t all scripted, I love that too. Kay (Mellor) creates characters so well in a script that you know what she is looking for and who your character is, she does it all for you. Craig Cash (who wrote Early Doors) is also a great writer, his scripts for Early Doors were brilliant. I also like dark comedy, Jim Cartwright’s writing goes to a dark place and I love that. If you meet him, you can’t believe he can write that sort of script, it makes you wonder where his ideas come from!
Are there any roles that you have an ambition to play or any shows that you’d love to appear in?
I’d have liked to have been in Home Fires, even playing a small role, going into the Butchers shop, something like that! I think it would be great to be in The Walking Dead, too.
Finally, what inspired you to become an actress?
I went into it later in life after having been an Army wife, after my husband was made redundant I went to Drama School at the age of 35. I went to Arden Drama School in Manchester and learned my craft. It’s a funny business, when it’s going well it goes really well and then of course there are times when the phone doesn’t ring. I have been very lucky.
I’d like to extend my thanks to Lorraine for her time and very much look forward to the series finale of In The Club on Tuesday night at 21:00. I also have my fingers crossed for a third series and I can’t wait for more Trollied.
Last year I went to the London Short Play Festival where among others, I had the great pleasure of reviewing Blast From The Past by Anna-Lisa Maree. This year, Anna-Lisa has expanded on the script, added new characters and brings her master-piece to Camden Fringe. Details of how to book tickets and the press release can be found here: https://breakalegreview.com/2016/06/02/blast-from-the-past-press-release/
In the meantime, here is the brief review from last year’s shorter version.
Blast from the Past written and directed by Anna-Lisa Maree opened the event, starring ex-Coronation Street star Scott Wright, seasoned television and theatre star Judy Buxton, Anthony Poore and Matthew Jordan Wright. The story centres around the dysfunctional Tate family who are ensconced in their own Blackpool B&B business. With monologues which drew me in and enhanced the story, together with the sensitive tackling of real-life event, the 1999 nail bombing at the Admiral Duncan, this piece could easily work as a full length play. The attention to detail down to the costumes all helped to create the correct atmosphere and tone. The set was simple and effective, the casting was perfect, a definite triumph, and I’m keen to see more of Anna-Lisa Maree’s work.