Image: Jerome Whittingham (PhotoMoments)

Sophie Thompson of Middle Child Theatre Company has spoken to Browse Magazine about the Hull-based companies next production which is on in Hull Truck’s studio theatre from 2nd to the 12th of March.

Speaking first about what audiences can expect from the production she says: “I think they can expect sort of a big house party, they’ll be really involved with it. “I think they can expect sort of a big house party, they’ll be really involved with it.

“The music’s live on stage as well, it’s sort of partially recorded and partially being done live and it’s a very ensemble piece, so it’s got that vibe of being quite close knit together, bouncing off each other and the sort of atmosphere you’ll get in a ten storey building.”

It seems there is also some influence on the production from Richard Milward who wrote the book that the play is based on, Sophie says: “Richard Milward has been absolutely fantastic.”

“Paul (Smith, Middle Child artistic director) got in touch with Richard about this and he’s actually been fantastic because he’s also worked with Luke Barnes who’s adapted the novel, which was quite a challenge I would imagine because it’s written as one big paragraph, the whole thing.”

“It’s not even split up into different chapters or paragraphs, so it’s quite difficult to adapt I should think but Luke and Richard worked really closely together.”

Then there is talk of a previous favourite from this wonderful company the award-winning Weekend Rockstars which is mentioned in the billing on the Hull Truck website for this production, the idea of the success of that project making it slightly safer territory for this production is easily dismissed: “I don’t think it makes it safe territory at all.

“I do think it’s a leap forward just in a different direction I guess, it’s still very exciting, very sort of out there, I guess and we’re still pushing with this one.”

As this beautifully outgoing and effervescent lady moves onto the subject of her part, Ellen, in the show there’s a definite glint in her eyes and a cheeky grin which totally gives away how much she is enjoying the part: “She’s fantastic to play, I’m very much enjoying it.

“She absolutely loves herself, she’s a wild child and quite spontaneous and has lots and lots of fun but that can end up with quite severe consequences for her.”

“But she’s also very exciting, very energetic, she’s quite tiring but she’s very fun to play.”

The conversation then moves towards the graphic and controversial nature of the production and whether any of it makes her at all nervous, she says: “Absolutely yeah, I think it’s always a challenge when you’re trying to depict things on stage, be it sexually or, you know, that kind of thing it’s a bit taboo and it’s a bit strange to watch live so we’re trying to find different ways of making that watchable.

“It’s not going straight in with the literal strain of sexual-ness, it’s quite, over the top.”

The return of Middle Child to Hull Truck is also obviously a big thrill for this thoroughly delightful lady, and her response definitely seems to carry with it the thrill for the whole company: “It’s brilliant to be back at Hull Truck.

“We actually did Apples there a few years ago which is also a Richard Milward novel and I was in that so it’s nice to be in this one again.”

There is clearly an agenda as to what they all want an audience to take away from seeing a performance of Ten Storey Love Song: “I think there’s so much an audience can take away from seeing it because we don’t just centre on one particular character, we keep focusing on all the different characters and the tales they’ve got to tell.

“I think what the audience will get is, err, I think it’ll be quite a trip for them.”

“The visual nature… I think it will be quite drawn in and focused.”

Then it takes on a slightly political element at the mention of a previous Tory Prime Minister: “It takes place in Middlesbrough but it could really be related to any modern day inner-city that’s been done over by Thatcher.”

“It’s very honest about people, just about how certain people do survive in certain circumstances, not from being in a better position financially or anything like that, so there’s an obvious political connotations for anybody, but I think it’s just very real.”

Tickets are available at Hull Truck Theatre Box Office and online priced at £12 or £10 for concessions and there is an option to pay-what-you-can on Wednesday 2 and Wednesday 9 March, book for either Saturday performance and you will get entry to Shuffle at Welly Club for £3 afterwards.

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