When the chips are down head for Grand
Sailors have a girl in every port. Actors - a chippie.
And it’s the ‘posh lass’ in the three-strong cast of Lotty’s War, on until Saturday at the Grand, who owns up to being the biggest fan of fish ‘n’ chips - Victoria Emslie straight from Downton Abbey (via a couple of filmswith Eddie Redmayne).
“Actors tend to remember towns by their fish ‘n’ chips,” adds actor Ian Reddington who calls Vicky a ‘posh lass’. He’s been weaned off egg and bacon by her cooking on stage in an original work based on a true story about Germany’s Occupation of Guernsey.
The two hour play spans four years of Lotty’s life - and includes cooking breakfast (badly) for Ian’s German commander each time. Audiences may be hungry for more “it wafts across and makes them peckish,” adds Victoria, but Ian isn’t. “It’s supposed to be part of my revenge on the German who’s sharing my house.”
Blackpool is a first for Victoria. Ian, an old hand having toured 20 years, has offered lots of advice on touring: pack a tenner in your shoes, travel light, make friends on the first week - because you’ll have fallen out by the end of the tour. He adds: “I was last here with Frank Finlay - just two on stage for that in Woman in Black.”
Ian is widely recognised for roles in East Enders asTricky Dicky and Vernon in Coronation Street as well as myriad other roles. He didn’t die in either, he adds. “Last time I looked I was still married to Liz in Corrie.”
He’s a big fan of Blackpool - “I’ve been telling Vicky what a privilege it is play here” - and of local singer Karima Francis who sang at his (real life) wedding. “I was at Glastonbury and heard this amazing voice and just pushed past everyone into this little tent to find her. My favourite singer.”
Victoria has to fend off “will Downton come back?” (there’s talk of a film) having played drippy newspaper proprietor Lady Edith’s secretary Audrey. She’s also appeared in films The Theory of Everything and The Danish Girl. Not one for stereotyping. Indeed, theatre’s a passion for all three (Mat -one t - Ruttle plays Lotty’s love Ben, a member of the Resistance). Vicky’s on stage two hours every performance (including matinees today and Sat) complete with six costume changes. “I’m loving every minute,” she admits. Even the fish ‘n’ chips...