Lorraine Chase hasn’t toured for a while, but somehow it all just fell into place nicely for John Penzotti’s sparkling comedy, Five Blue Haired Ladies Sitting On A Green Park Bench which comes to Worthing’s Connaught Theatre in celebration of the play’s tenth anniversary (until Saturday, July 2).
“I used to tour a lot,” says Lorraine, “but to be honest, I love being at home. I don’t like the disruption of it all, and it is actually very disruptive. You are moving out of your office every week and you stay in a different place each week, and then on your day off you might be driving from Lincoln to Plymouth.”
And then at the end of it all, you all separate.
“But it’s part of the gig. I have been in this game for 34 years now. You are with people day in, day out, and you make great friends and then you might not see them again for a couple of years.”
Five Blue Haired Ladies Sitting On A Green Park Bench, however, was too good not to do: “It’s not just about the play. It’s about the personal life too. It’s about who is putting it on, and this one is being done by a dear friend of mine, and we started the play in a theatre up in Lincoln, the place where I did my first panto.”
Add to that, the fact that it’s a nice part to play at the heart of the piece - the poignant and amusing story of five wonderful women and the bench which unites them.
Alongside Lorraine, the play stars Anne Charleston (Madge Bishop in Neighbours), Shirley Anne Field (Alfie, My Beautiful Launderette), Anita Harris (Cats, hit-song and album Just Loving You) and Nicola Blackman (Casualty, Live And Let Die). Christopher Beeny (Upstairs, Downstairs, Last of the Summer Wine), Frazer Hines (Joe Sugden in Emmerdale) and Tom Owen (Last of the Summer Wine) complete the cast.
The play tells the emotive story of Anna, Eva, Rose, Gladys and La La who only had two things in common when they met seven months ago: a park bench and a life well-lived.
“It’s fun and it has got pathos - five ladies who have got this bench where they meet in Washington Square in New York. They meet every day and they support each other…”