Wendi Peters talks about her role as Lady Raeburn in SALAD DAYS which heads to Salford’s The Lowry this week
Having charmed audiences around the world with their award-winning all-male H.M.S. PINAFORE and THE MIKADO, Regan De Wynter Williams makes a welcome return to Salford’s The Lowry with SALAD DAYS.
Starring TV and West End star Wendi Peters, SALAD DAYS tells the light-hearted tale of recent graduates Timothy and Jane, who decide to get jobs and take on the responsibility of looking after a piano in a park. The much-loved musical features an energetic score including songs WE SAID WE WOULDN’T LOOK BACK, LOOK AT ME, I’M DANCING and WE’RE LOOKING FOR A PIANO.
Ahead of its week-long run at Salford’s The Lowry, Wendi Peters talks about her role as Lady Raeburn in the show and how it feels to be taking SALAD DAYS out on tour.
You’re starring in SALAD DAYS, can you tell us what the show is about?
SALAD DAYS holds lots of great memories for me and I was thrilled when this opportunity came along to do it. I first saw a production of it when I was about 10. It was an amateur production in Accrington in Lancashire and my godmother, Lorna, was in it. I became obsessed with the music and, soon after, there was a TV version broadcast of the show. My sister and I videoed it and watched it over and over again… it’s really become a family joke/memory and it’s still quoted today! Of course, I’m now feeling very old as I’m playing one of the parents in the show….
The show revolves around Jane and Timothy, who have just graduated from university. Not knowing what to do next, they decide to get married and get a job looking after a piano, which happens to be magic and makes people dance! Tim’s parents are desperate for him to get a good job and send him out to visit all his uncles for career advice. Jane’s mother wants to find her a wonderfully rich and influential husband – not knowing that she is already married. It’s a wonderfully upbeat, fun show with great numbers that a lot of people will know and can tap and hum along to. Just a great ‘leave your troubles outside the theatre’ show and I guarantee you will leave with a big smile on your face.
Lots of audience members will know you from CORONATION STREET. How does this character differ from Cilla?
They differ in as much as Lady Raeburn in SALAD DAYS is the quintessential aristocrat who is very relaxed and laid back until it comes to her daughter and finding the right husband for her. I suppose she really just has Jane’s best interests at heart. Whereas Cilla in Corrie couldn’t give two hoots for her children, Fiz and Chesney, and comes from a very Northern, working-class background, so has had to fight for all she has. The only similarity is the fact that both have a roving eye for the opposite sex…
What else can you tell us about your character?
Lady Raeburn likes to look after herself and spends plenty of time in the beauty salon. There’s a wonderful scene in SALAD DAYS where she is having her hair and nails done… it’s going to be fun!
You have had an extensive stage career. How do you feel about embarking on this exciting tour?
Most of my career has been on stage, and if someone asked me to pick between TV and theatre… the stage would always win. It’s where I first fell in love with acting and singing. My mum would take us to see all the musicals that came to Manchester and I adored going to the theatre. A lot of my theatre work has been on tour and I love it. It’s very exciting to be back on the road again, bringing such a fun show to some wonderful places. I’ve played all of the theatres on this tour apart from two, so I’m looking forward to new towns and stages. We are mostly doing a week in places which is the perfect length. By the time you’ve settled the show in, you have a couple of days to explore and then you move on. It’s also great being on tour and catching up with friends and family in various towns.
What would you say to encourage people to come and watch SALAD DAYS?
SALAD DAYS is such a feel good, fun show that will have you humming and tapping all the way out of the theatre. It’s complete escapism for two and a half hours and in today’s world, that is sometimes needed.
What do you hope the audience will take away from the show?
I’m hoping the audience will leave with the biggest smile on their faces after such a glorious evening of wonderful uplifting singing and dancing. They may be a little confused as to why everyone was looking for a piano and one of Tim’s uncles appears from a spaceship shaped like a saucer… it’s such wonderful, crazy nonsense but very funny!
What’s coming up for you once the tour finishes?
I have a week off and then it’s straight into panto season. I’m back at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield playing Mrs Darling, Myrtle the Mermaid and Big Chief Squatting cow. I love Sheffield. I did my very first panto there in 1987 at the Crucible Theatre and have been back a few times. There are great audiences and it’s a lovely city.
Any advice for budding actors/actresses?
My advice would be that you really must have the drive and determination to want to succeed. Not in being ‘famous and a star’ but in having a long and varied career and a love for your art. Take the time to train properly, be it privately or at a drama school. Watch and learn from the other actors around you. You never stop learning…. If you’re still at school, get involved in as many schools or local amateur productions as you can and enjoy it! That’s really important.
SALAD DAYS runs at Salford’s The Lowry from 25 to 29 September 2018.
Donna is the Founder and Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she works as a digital marketing specialist, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage and The Reviews Hub. Loves Formula 1, prosecco and life.