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    Tags: Stephen_Fletcher, Mam_I'm_'ere, Royal_Court_Liverpool, Sarah_OHara

    Interview: Stephen Fletcher

    With a whole lot of fun and seventies grooving, we caught up with Writer and Director Stephen Fletcher to talk Mam I'm 'ere, Holiday Parks and disco dancing...

     

    How did Mam I’m ‘ere first come about?

    It started out when I wrote the plot line for Mam I’m ‘ere. I’d been in a few productions at the Royal Court over a number of Christmases and a few other shows. I’d seen the formula and the way it works, so I pitched the idea firstly to the Royal Court. At the time it was felt that it wasn’t really ready, so I kind of put it in moth balls for a while. Then I started up my own production company with two shows - A Life in Theatre and The Last Five Years - mainly to give myself a job and friends of mine a job. It’s really difficult to anyway being an actor, but particularly at the moment. I did those two and when a few of us had Christmas free, I thought I’d dust off Mam I’m ‘ere and do that. I got the team together; a lot of people who’d been at the Royal Court, found a venue and literally over the course of three months, put this show together. Built a venue, built a stage, designed the tickets, designed the costumes, wrote the script, was in it…and by the end we got over 10,000 people to come and watch it. It was like small acorns to big results. 

    The show is centered around seventies music. A lot of programmes and many musicians are currently paying homage to the decade - what is it about the seventies that is so appealing?

    Well it’s appealing, but I wonder if it’s got a lot to do with the people who are in the position to create drama or to create writing. They are at an age when that [the seventies] was their prime. I think it makes sense to look back on that kind of thing. Probably in about ten years time we’ll be all about the eighties. Also, it’s where some of the best music came from really and fashion. Although it is billed as a sort of disco show, there is some soul music within it too. Disco is the large part of the show.

    I heard one of the settings in the show is a Welsh Holiday Park. Is that something to do with the popularity of Holiday Parks in the seventies?

    It goes in with the whole escapism thing. It was like a stay-cation and it took people out of the city. I was taken to a lot of Holiday Parks. When we did it [Mam I’m ‘ere] a few years ago at The Dome, it was in a tent. Now it’s a caravan park. We’ve got real life caravans on set and little tweaks like that, which have taken it all up a few notches. I think people can relate to it; a lot of people in Liverpool have a story about Telaca or Rhyl or something. It also removes it from what we all know. Although the hook is the Mam I’m ‘ere thing, with the Scouse sound, it’s not a Liverpool show. It could be anywhere; it’s just because we’re all from Liverpool that it sounds like a Liverpool show. There’s no particular references that would alienate anyone. If we took it to Leeds or Manchester or Newcastle, they’d say “Mam I’m ‘ere” so it could be anywhere really. 

    What keeps you coming back to the Royal Court, as you have been in quite a few productions here…

    Liverpool doesn’t really have much of a varied voice outside of the city within drama, which is why the Royal Court works so well. It speaks a language that the Liverpool audience understand. The outlet that programmes like Brookside gave for a lot of those Liverpool voices, it was a go to place. There isn’t really that thing anymore. I actually think that there’s a gap in the market, if anything to mop up all the talent. That’s why people come back here [The Royal Court]; it’s a natural home where people get you. The theatre takes a gamble with the new plays it puts on and new writing. 

    Speaking of talent in the city, in Mam I’m ‘ere there’s a great cast including Andrew Schofield and Ethaine Brown. How are going to get through rehearsals without laughing?

    You can’t get through a play without one of those actors making each other laugh. It is a laugh a minute. We all know each other so well, so only literally a slight movement in the face shows that someone is onto something. It doesn’t take long before it spreads around the cast!

    A little bit of fun now in the interview, I’m going to say a song from the seventies and I want you to guess who sung it…

    Right ok, go on.

    ‘Rivers of Babylon’…

    (Starts singing) it’s that one isn’t it? Ah what are they called? It’s like er…Boney M!

    Correct! Fabulous!

    You can see the cogs turning in my head can’t you!

    (Laughs) Okay, ‘Blockbuster’…

    (Starts singing again) Ah I don’t know! I know the songs but I never know people’s names. I’ll pass on that one.

    It was The Sweet. ‘Schools out’…

    That’s erm…him…ah no, what’s his name? (Sings the song) It’s him isn’t it? Dark hair…him…name…

    Alice Cooper…

    Alice Cooper! (Both start laughing)

    Ok I’ll give you one more - ‘September’

    Earth, Wind and Fire.

    Can you sum up the show in three words…just not Mam I’m ‘ere

    Fun for all. It’s great to have a show where my seven year old cousin can come along to and my eighty year old aunty. I’ve said from seven to one hundred and seven really; it’s for family. It’s a celebration and its about coming together.

    Mam I'm 'ere is at the Royal Court Liverpool from Friday 26th June - Saturday 1st August 2015

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      Sarah's posts By Sarah O' Hara
      @TheLowdownMag


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