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Manuel Harlan

Interview with actress Imogen Stubbs

5 May 2015 Laura Stevens

Imogen Stubbs is performing in the first London revival of Alan Ayckbourn's comedy thriller Communicating Doors. The acclaimed actress talks to London Calling mid rehearsal on the play and how the London theatre scene can survive without Hollywood star casting.

London Calling: What is the story behind Communicating Doors?

Imogen Stubbs: Well it’s about time travel... well that’s giving away the plot! It’s set in a hotel where you go through these revolving doors that should be leading into a box room, but it actually brings you out to 20 years previously.

It’s meant to be like Hitchcock meets Doctor Who but it’s Alan Ayckbourn so it’s funny too. A classic comedy but it’s probably quite frightening – it’s a thriller  - it’s not a gag a second.

LC: So how are rehearsals going for ?

IS: They’re going well – it’s fun. We’ve just been literally upside down! There are some bits where it’s like Charlie Angels meets Miss Marple.

LC: What can the audience expect from a night out at Communicating Doors?

IS: It’s Hitchcock meets Alan Ayckbourn meets Back to the Future.

LC: Are you excited to perform at The Menier Chocolate Factory?

IS: Oh it’s great – it’s inspiring! It’s such a funky place. It’s a great place to rehearse because you have Borough Market – what a treat. It really makes a difference where you rehearse, I’ve been doing a lot of shows in North Hampstead and this is by far the nicest venue! I’ve been to places that are nice enough but this is really nice.

LC: What was the last show you saw?

IS: My partner’s written a play so last night I saw that, A Level Playing Field.

LC: Can I ask you what your opinion is it on it?

IS: It’s great! It’s got 12 18-year-olds on their last day at school.

LC: What do you think of the current London theatre scene?

IS: I think it’s great, I mean again and again shows prove that they can survive without Hollywood stars in them. There are lots of shows that work well with Hollywood stars but there are also shows that are doing very well without having absolute star casting.

Otherwise you get people trying to come up in the theatre world and find it hard to get a foot in anywhere unless they become a telly or film star. And sometimes that's great, but sometimes people who are brilliant on film aren’t necessarily great on stage.

And that can cause an imbalance in theatre if you start having too many film stars who aren’t actually that well cast or that talented. There are film stars who are extremely talented but if they’re not, you get a real imbalance.

LC: Will you be heading to Edinburgh this year?

IS: No, I did that when I was young!

Communicating Doors is at the Menier Chocolate Factory 7 May to 27 June. For tickets click here.

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