Linzi Hateley is delighted to say that Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers is feeling like exactly the right role at exactly the right time.
She tours with the Willy Russell classic to Crawley’s Hawth from Tuesday to Saturday, October 16-20 – the tale of twins separated at birth who grow up on opposite sides of the tracks only to meet again with fateful consequences.
“I have to say I have been very fortunate to play some lovely parts in shows, but this is one of my dream parts that if it ever came up it would be wonderful to play. It is such an iconic show.
The role is so wonderful. I think it has got everything that you could want for a woman of a certain age, and also it is such a great acting part.
“It is absolutely brilliant. And also I am a mum. I am certainly not saying that you absolutely have got to be a mother to play it, but I do think it helps.”
As Linzi says, she can draw on her own motherhood: “It would be silly not to.
“With any role, I think you have got to try to bring something of you to it, and I am quite fortunate that I have been allowed to do that. I would like to think that I bring warmth and honesty to it.”
It is about bringing out those very human qualities: “Mrs Johnstone is quite desperate. She is very easily manipulated when she is younger. She doesn’t have time to think, and I guess we have all – not quite so drastically perhaps – done things that we regret and shouldn’t have done. She is bullied into it.”
It all adds up to a huge demand, says Linzi, speaking the day after a two-show day: “But you get through it because the audience respond so much. But yes, it is taxing, and it is still early days. I am still trying to work out a way that I don’t come off stage completely exhausted!
“But I suppose in the early days in my career, I would have come off stage absolutely buzzing and come home and sat up for hours. These days it is a cup of tea and straight to bed!
“But also, with this role, the longer you do it, the more it beds in. It feels as though to me that it is starting to feel good. I am really lucky to play this role that just fits in at exactly the right time for me.
“It is difficult to compare roles because all roles are different and mean different things at different times in your life, but one of the roles I really loved was Roxy Hart in Chicago just because it was so unexpected of me, and I was still quite a young mum at the time.
"There was something very exhilarating about doing the school run and then going off to be Roxy Hart! And then after that, I did Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins. It couldn’t possibly have been more different!”