The actress spoke to Emma Clarendon about starring in Psychodrama at Never For Ever from the 21st January 2021.

(c)Ruth Crafer.

Could you explain a little bit more about what Psychodrama is about? It’s a show about an actress in her forties who comes under investigation for the murder of an auteur theatre director, whilst rehearsing a theatre production of Hitchcock’s Psycho. 

What caught your attention about the story when you first read the script? Matt Wilkinson is obsessed with story, and this is an unputdownable script. It should play like a very gripping, fast moving thriller. With a lot of laughs. 

Could you tell me more about your character that you play? Well.. she’s an actress with a few skeletons in the closet! As Janet Leigh says of Marion Crane’s actions in Psycho we watch her make ‘ a grasp… a desperate grasp at life’.  It’s basically a really gripping revenge drama. And for anyone who is a Hitchcock fan, it’s a must see! 

What do you think makes stories such as these so important to tell? We need to be entertained right now, more than ever. And it’s a totally captivating story. It’s funny. And the themes of powerlessness, love and betrayal are timeless. 

How does it feel knowing you are going to be performing for live audiences again? Yeah, a relief! The challenge of staging the show in a pandemic is energising us. It’s been good to be in action and just find a way of doing it NOW, in a really cool ‘found’ space, without waiting for someone to sort it out for us! A lot of the systems that are normally in place in a theatre – seating, ticketing etc, need to be created from scratch here, and that’s an exciting conundrum. We’ve put a lot of safety measures in place. Temperature checks, socially distanced seating, mask use, ventilation and deep cleaning between shows. There are only going to be twenty four seats per show in a large warehouse space. This is a decision led by safety, but what it also creates, is a really exclusive theatre experience. 

What have you missed the most about live performance? Like everyone, I’ve missed being in rooms with other people. I’ve missed group laughter! I’ve missed the little bit of stardust that comes with going out and watching a show, or taking part in one! It’s humbling (and exciting) to be working with such a remarkable creative team on this. Gareth Fry who is going to build the sound scape for us, created the sound design for the Olympic Ceremony, and Harry Potter. Elliot Griggs who lit Fleabag is lighting the show. James Turner, who has collaborated several times with Elliot, and with me on Donkey Heart in the West End, is doing the design. Pádraig Cusack, who was in house producer at the National Theatre for many years, is producing. He has four sisters who are all celebrated actors so he knows a little bit about the surrounding palaver of being an actress in a world obsessed with fame and youth! These are repeating work relationships for most of the team, and that creates a lot of cohesion and efficiency – and joy! 

By Emma Clarendon

The world premiere of ‘PSYCHODRAMA’ is at Never for Ever
(formerly Pizza East) 79 Highgate Road, Kentish Town,
London, NW5 1TL from the 21st to the 31st January 2021.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting
https://neverforeverkt.com/psychodrama