The Roundabout is currently wowing audiences at The Park Theatre and will be staying there until 24 September 2016 https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/the-roundabout
I spoke to actress, Lisa Bowerman about her character in the production and how the show has been received so far.
Thanks for talking to Break A Leg. Tell me about your character in the play and what was your first impression of the script?
I play Lady Kettlewell the estranged wife of Lord Kettlewell, and mother of Pamela. I first read the play at the scratch reading 18 months ago, when Hugh (Ross) first discovered the piece. I pretty much agreed to do it on the spot once I’d read it – you don’t get scripts of this quality coming along every day. The dialogue just jumps off the page. I’m just delighted that Hugh and the producer Denise have managed to bring it to the stage.
Were you familiar with the play and have you appeared in a J.B. Priestley play before?
I, like most of us – had never heard of The Roundabout, and it’s been fascinating seeing a very early work of J.B. Priestley’s. Once we’d all started putting the play together, and certainly after our first run, none of us could quite understand why this delightful play had ever been lost. Obviously I’d seen productions in the past of When We Are Married, and Inspector Calls, but I’ve also been in one of his time plays a few years ago: I Have Been Here Before.
Did you find that the rehearsal process changed any initial thoughts you had about the way imagined you would play your character?
There’s always going to be a bit more exploration of the characters and their relationships at the rehearsal stage, and although Lady Kettlewell isn’t a substantial part, she’s talked about a lot, and serves a real purpose in the play. Her relationship with Pamela is very revealing – and having a proper rehearsal period really helped to bring out certain characteristics more; especially in terms of recognising where Pamela’s character traits come from. Having said that, the writing was sufficiently strong to know what kind of character Lady Kettlewell was, and it was certainly more a case of embellishment, rather than a wholesale rethink.
What do you think the main themes of this piece are and what do you hope the audience will take away with them?
There are so many themes, you can take your pick. There’s the domestic drama of it, there’s also the social drama, and the political drama – and in amongst all of this – it really is extremely funny. It’s amazing the parallels you can see in it, with the current political and social times we live in now.
As you’re now off and running with the production, what have audience reactions been like so far?
It’s been a very long time since I’ve been in a play that I can say, without exception,every audience member I’ve met afterwards, has been ecstatic in their response to the piece. It’s been observed that audiences have been coming out with a beam on their face. It really is wonderful to be involved in a drama where everyone (including the cast) enjoy themselves.
Finally, what would you say to encourage potential audience members to buy a ticket?
There’s a temptation to think a play of this type would be insubstantial – but it really isn’t. It works on so many levels.
It is, above all though, an entertainment. There are some great characters, some great dialogue, (and of course a great cast), and some amazingly prescient observations. All that – and you’ll laugh.
Thank you to Lisa for chatting to me, I can’t wait to see the play!