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Casualty star to play five soldier's wives
She spent almost 20 years playing Lisa “Duffy” Duffin in the long-running BBC hospital drama Casualty.
But the chances of actress Cathy Shipton being typecast are very slim indeed, judging from the response to her critically-acclaimed one-woman show Soldier’s Wives.
Directed by Anthony Biggs, artistic director of Jermyn Street Theatre, the play has received four-star reviews from national newspapers and landed Shipton a nomination for best solo performance at the 2012 Stage Awards.
It comes to the Rose Theatre on Monday, October 28, and will be preceded by a performance from the South West London Military Wives Choir.
“I wanted the challenge of a one person show and something you could get your teeth into,” says Shipton.
"I wanted to have a show in my pocket.
“Prunella Scales used to have a one-woman show and she would take it all over the place whenever things went quiet.”
The play, originally written by Sarah Daniels for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, focuses on five women living on an army base as they nervously await the safe return of their husbands from a tour of Afghanistan.
Shipton, 56, portrays all five wives. The idea for the Soldiers’ Wives stage show came about after Shipton approached Daniels about writing a show for her.
“I just called her up one day in 2011 and asked if she had any ideas. She said: ‘I’ve got this, I don’t know if you can make it in to a show.’ “Then Antony Biggs came on board and we tried it out at the Jermyn Street Theatre and it worked.”
Shipton is modest when it comes to accepting the plaudits for her five-hand performance.
“That’s all down to the quality of writing,” she says. “Sarah’s eye and ear are so accurate – I believe in all the women, and I believe all of their stories.
“There isn’t a false note, there’s truthfulness about all of them – I might not agree with all of the women’s beliefs but then that makes it all the more interesting.”
Soldier’s Wives, Rose Theatre, High Street, Kingston, Monday, October 28, 7.30pm , £10-£13 (a portion of the production fee will be donated to soldiers’ charity Help For Heroes).
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