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Benidorm's Sheila Reid talks about her new role coming to Aylesbury
WE are more used to seeing Sheila Reid wearing copious amounts of fake tan playing Madge Harvey in ITV's Benidorm. Her new role couldn't be further from the Spanish resort as she takes to the stage at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre in Maurice's Jubilee. Sheila talks about the role of Helena, starring in Call The Midwife and that dreaded fake tan.
At 75-years-old Sheila Reid is continually getting offered new roles and she appears to be loving it.
Next week the run of Maurice's Jubilee begins at Aylesbury and runs until Saturday.
The play started its life at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year where is received rave reviews. Sheila, who spoke to me from rehearsals, said: "We had an amazing reaction. It was really good.
"It was lovely- we were on the Fringe. We were surrounded by lots of experimental theatre and young people and dance troupes.
"We came along with our play- the other side of the age spectrum.
"Everyone actually loved it- all ages. We had a fantastic time. It was really good."
It has been fleshed out slightly for the tour as at the Fringe it can only be 90 minutes long.
Sheila plays Helena alongside Julian Glover as Maurice and Nichola McAuliffe as Katy. Nichola, who starred in The Lady In The Van, penned the play.
The story is focused on a couple- Helena and Maurice- who have been married for 66 years but there is a skeleton in the cupboard in that he has a deep love for the Queen of England.
He thinks he spent time with her when she was young on the day of her Coronation, but Helena does not believe him as she thinks it is a fantasy.
He is now terminally ill and they have to have a live in nurse, who acts as a catalyst and gets them all to see the situation in a different light.
Sheila said: "It is just so lovely to have a really good part that is funny and moving and there is lots of emotional stuff there with Helena. "It is exciting to have a part that explains all those different emotions. "It is lovely to do something completely different.
"These are three such cracking parts. The play just leaps off the page."
And she said you have to get under your character's skin and imagine what their lives are like- their lives that aren't written on paper.
She said: "I have to think about my relationship with my husband and how I feel about someone coming into my house with a similar sense of humour to him and they seem to have more in common than myself.
"I have had a tricky life as Helena. I am a goer and I keep going."
And she said it is a relief not to have to wear copious amounts of fake tan, which she dons as Madge on ITV's Benidorm.
She said she loves working on the TV show: "It is just lovely to make people laugh and make people happy and what could be nicer than that?
"It is huge fun to film. We have a lovely team- it is hard work- but they are a great group of people. "We all get on so well together, which is tremendous in itself."
And interestingly she said Helena and Madge are similar as both are survivors, both are very strong and both believe in what they believe.
Sheila also starred as an old lady in the 2012 Christmas edition of Call the Midwife.
She said: "She was of course a real woman. We had to find absolutely her truth. I had to put myself in her shoes- imagine putting your children in the workhouse and not seeing any of them.
"That wasn't fun to do.
"It is lovely to do of course- it is a great company again. "It was quite sobering playing that part. It was very truthful to her and I had to try and get it as real as possible. It was a good challenge."
And Sheila clearly strives on a challenge. She said: "I just love work. I like the camaraderie and I love the challenge and the excitement of discovering new people to be."
Maurice's Jubilee is at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from January 29 to February 2 at 7.30pm with Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets are £10-£27 from 0844 8717607 or go to www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury
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