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Claire Sweeney talks marriage, panto and her new show
CLAIRE Sweeney has had a long and varied stage career, playing some of the most coveted roles in the West End. She is currently touring with Cold Feet star, John Thomson, in a John Godber play called September in the Rain, which she said is both touching and has lots of laughs.
The 42-year-old star is still probably best known for playing Lindsey Corkhill in Brookside but her stage career is impressive.
She has played Roxie Hart in Chicago, Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and Paulette in Legally Blonde the musical- and that is just a few of her roles.
She is currently touring in John Godber's September in the Rain, which charts the life of Yorkshire couple Jack and Liz through their annual summer holiday jaunt across the Pennines to Blackpool, which has been a ritual for more than 40 years.
The audience follow the journey of Jack and Liz as they dip in and out of time recalling their first holiday as newlyweds, to their last, as stooped OAPs.
Claire said: "It is going very well indeed. The audience have been lovely- we've had lots of laughs."
She hadn't worked with John before but she said he is an absolute joy to work with. Claire and John are the only two cast members, on stage throughout.
She said: "There has got to be a chemistry between us- we do have a good laugh. We do get on very well which helps."
And does she like her character, Liz?
She said: "Yeah, she's great. She's very tolerant of him. He is always moaning.
"They love each other and they have a connection with each other."
But what is it, which makes the show a hit?
Claire said: "It appeals to all ages. We play old and young in the play. It is a beautiful story and a touching story.
"It is written by John Godber who is a wonderful writer and working with him and working with John is great. It is so beautifully written.
"It is something a little bit different."
And for Claire, she said she is gradually ticking off boxes of what she would like to do in her career, adding that she has always wanted to do Blood Brothers.
But for the new year she has written her own show called Sex in Suburbia- a British housewife suburbia version of Sex and the City.
She got the idea from listening to her friends' dating stories. She said: "Listening to different people's stories and experiences and writing them down. "A lot of women can relate to it."
There will be a cast of four woman and she hopes it will be out next spring. Depending on the reaction she gets, she said she would consider writing another play as it has been good fun.
Once she has finished touring with September in the Rain, she is playing the Ice Queen in Santa Claus- The Musical in Worthing. When asked if she enjoys panto she laughed: "It pays the tax bill."
But added that she does enjoy working with kids and being in a Christmas show. Last Christmas she and her partner, Daniel Riley, got engaged. The 28-year-old runs an online marketing agency.
They are not planning the wedding yet as it depends on Claire's work commitments- but they hope to tie the knot next year.
And the actress' work commitments are numerous- as she is also on our TV screens. She makes guest appearances on ITV1's Loose Women and in the past has been on reality TV shows, Celebrity Big Brother and Strictly Come Dancing.
If she finds any spare time left what does she enjoy doing? Claire said: "I like to read. I like to exercise- lots of different things really. In London I will catch up with friends."
To keep so trim she goes to the gym, does yoga, pilates and jogging, but she doesn't enjoy exercise. She said: "It bores me senseless. I find it a chore but I have to really."
I had one final question for Claire- which role on stage did she most enjoy?
She said: "Guys and Dolls. That was crazy. That was a joy. It is a classic piece- one of the best pieces of musical theatre. Miss Adelaide is one of the best theatrical roles.
"And working with Patrick Swayze was a joy. And being in the West End- being home and being in town."
September in the Rain is at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from October 14 to 19 at 7.30pm with a Thursday and Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets range from £10 to £25. Call 0844 8717607 or go to www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury
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