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Husband and wife to tread the boards for Stafford Players

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 23, 2014

By Gail Atkinson

DOUBLE TROUBLE... husband and wife Liz and John Mills play a married couple in Stafford Players next production Family Circles.

DOUBLE TROUBLE... husband and wife Liz and John Mills play a married couple in Stafford Players next production Family Circles.

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WHEN Liz and John Mills take to the boards in Stafford Players' next production of Alan Ayckbourn's Family Circles they may feel a little typecast.

Not only will they be playing a husband and wife on stage – Edward and Emma Gray - but they are married in real life as well.

But Liz says there is nothing familiar about their characters.

"We are really laughing about this because we haven't played a married couple before despite the fact we have both been on stage since we were children and we have been married for 22 years," said Liz.

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"This is a complete role reversal. In the play I'm the cowed little wife – it's a real acting challenge."

Three daughters and their men come together at the family home to celebrate their parents' wedding anniversary.

According to their father Edward Gray "we all marry the wrong people" and looking at his daughters and their choice of partners it would be difficult to disagree with him.

His own marriage isn't all roses either and his daughters suspect their parents of trying to kill each other.

As the plot thickens the old adage of the grass being greener on the other side is examined as the daughters are shown with all their partners changed. Utter mayhem.

Joint directors Phil Lycett and David Parton are both experienced actors but are making their directing debut with this Ayckbourn play.

"They are brilliant," said Liz.

"We can't believe how good they are – we have known them for years."

The cast is a mixture of newcomers and old hands.

Five have acted with the Players before including the very experienced John and Liz. David Harfield won a best actor award for his role in Humble Boy, Carly Smith and Gabrielle Ashmore have each appeared in one other Players' production; Carly in Ghost Train and Gabrielle in the award-winning The Anniversary.

Dan Brown, Alison Long and Alex Clay are making their first appearances on stage for the company although Alison worked backstage for last February's A Pack of Lies. Alex and Dan have featured in Stafford Players' very popular murder mystery evenings.

Family Circles opens for five nights on Tuesday, February 4, in The Met Studio at Stafford Gatehouse.

Tickets are £8.50/ £7.50 concessions from www.staffordgatehouse theatre.co.uk or 01785 254653. For more information and rehearsal photos see www.staffordplayers.co.uk.

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