Eastenders star Lucy Benjamin can't wait to return to the stage at Queen's Theatre as she stars in David Elridge's In Basildon
PUBLISHED: 15:21 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:21 06 March 2019
"It's the perfect play for people that live locally, they will be able to relate to the story line and all of the characters in one way or another."
Famous for her role as Lisa Fowler in Eastenders, actress Lucy Benjamin who has lived in Gidea Park for the last 10 years is excited about her role in In Basildon, which is opening at Queen’s Theatre in just a few weeks.
Romford playwright David Elridge’s (Market Boy, National Theatre; Beginning, West End) latest show, focuses around Len - a die-hard West Ham supporter who proudly made a career at Fords of Dagenham.
Now he’s on his death bed with the nearest and dearest gathered to say goodbye. His sisters, slogging away on the checkouts at Asda Romford and Tesco Basildon, haven’t spoken in 20 years, as the play charts an East End family’s history from the homelands of Hackney, via Romford, to Basildon and beyond.
Lucy - who plays Maureen (one of the sisters) told the Recorder she is slightly more nervous having to perform in front of the mums from the school run and her neighbours, but she still can’t wait.
This is the first time the soap star has been back at Queen’s since performing in Deadly Murder in 2015, and said: “The mums who I see every day at both of my kids schools, and my neighbours who have been knocking on my door, they will all be in the audience, which does make it slightly more nerve racking but it is all still very exciting because I love being on the stage.
“It’s a fabulous stage at Queen’s and I can’t wait to get back, rehearsals have been going well and I’m looking forward to looking out into the audience and seeing lots of faces that I recognise.”
Being an East ender, on screen and off for nearly 20 years, and living in Havering, Lucy says has given her a head start in getting into character.
“Knowing the area, and having lived here for a long time now, it is nice having an insight into the character, and into what they are going through.
“My husband is a die-hard West Ham fan too, he’s got a season ticket, and I’ve been to the old ground and the new one, so I know exactly what that part of the story is like.”
Speaking about meeting writer David Elridge - who will be in the audience on the opening night - she had tonnes of praise for him and is excited about meeting him.
“The script is fabulous, and that’s what enticed me into doing the show.
“My partner’s aunty went to see it (In Basildon) at the Royal Court, and when I told her that I might have a part in it she told me that I’ve got to do it.
“Being a play from a home grown writer he’s captured the exact feel of the area, and the story is brilliant.
“I think there is something for everyone, you will laugh and cry, but for all the right reasons, it is the perfect play for people that live locally.”
She will be joined by Peter Bray (Much Ado About Nothing, Rose Theatre Kingston); Patrick Driver (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, West End); Emily Houghton (Olivier nominated production The Lorax, Old Vic Theatre); Beverley Klein (Les Misérables, original cast, Royal Shakespeare Company) Peter Temple (Boy; Almeida Theatre) and Connie Walker (Trestle, Southwark Playhouse).
Completing the cast are David Hemsted (White Gold, BBC Two) and Charlotte Law (Beauty and the Beast, Theatre Royal Stratford East) who were cast through the Queen’s Theatre’s open audition process to find local actors.
In Basildon runs at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch from March 14-30. Tickets prices range from £12.50 – £29 (plus an additional 65p QNew Transformation fee), with £8 tickets available for Under 26s.
For more information about the Queen’s Theatre visit queens-theatre.co.uk