Wendi Peters is “so looking forward to being back on stage and in front of a live audience again.” As she and the cast of Andrew Corbet Burcher’s comedy Going Ape! prepare to bring Biblical hilarity to the Union Theatre the former Coronation Street star tells us about the rib-tickling show, her Eve and socially distanced rehearsals. Time to book your tickets!
The tale of an unusual historical meeting, which was originally due to run at the Southwark venue in April, finally takes to the stage from 10 to 21 November 2020.
Adam and Eve, who lived for 900 years after their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, are both waiting for the arrival of their eldest son Cain, dropping in for a short visit to break the monotony of his homeless wandering life.. A life sentence imposed on him by God for killing his brother Abel.
But Cain brings with him a woman he’s met in Africa. She is Australopithecus Afarensis, the earliest known woman. As Cain’s girlfriend is introduced to the family, it soon becomes clear that they are destined to put on the first show on earth!
Peters was most recently be seen as Madame Latour in the UK Tour of the premiere of John Cleese’s farce Bang Bang! and is best known for her role as Cilla Battersby Brown in Coronation Street, which led to appearances on many programmes including Celebrity Mastermind and Celebrity MasterChef, in which she reached the finals. The famed actress also boasts London stage performances including Big The Musical, White Christmas, Call Me Vicky and Hatched n Dispatched.
Peters is joined in the cast by Anabel Kutay, who appeared in an earlier production of Going Ape! when it ran at the Dance Attic in 2018, Jeremy Taylor, Nick Barclay, Henry Collie and Laura Tyrer.
Evan Ensign, who directed the first production of Going Ape!, returns to direct the Union Theatre production.
As part of its work to make the venue COVID-safe, the Union Theatre has removed its usual seating and replaced it with ‘bubbles’ of seating for 2 or 4 people, increasing the floor space for the audience. Bubbles can be booked for two or four people. The theatre also has santiser stations around the venue, is operating temperature checks before audiences enter and is asking to people to wear masks inside the venue and during the show unless medically exempt.
Wendi Peters on Going Ape!
How has your 2020 been?
My 2020 has been strange, like everyone’s. I was on tour in a play, BANG BANG, by John Cleese. We finished in Windsor on a Saturday night, had a week’s planned holiday and then never returned. I enjoyed being at home for a few weeks, cooking, decorating, walking the dogs, but then missed my work, and friends, terribly. It’s devastating what has happened to our beautiful business.
How are you feeling about being able to perform on stage for a live audience again?
It’s so wonderful to be back in a rehearsal room with others, interacting, socially distanced of course, and having fun. I’m so looking forward to being back on stage and in front of a live audience again. I’ve missed it so much.
What drew you to Going Ape!?
When I read Going Ape!, I was drawn to its sense of fun but also its complexity and cleverness. There are moments when you may think “What on earth is going on?” But it’s really interesting and entertaining.
You’re playing Eve (of Adam and Eve fame). What’s your Eve like?
I’m playing Eve with clothes on, thankfully, and it’s not the Eve we would naturally think of. She’s 800 years old and has had enough of Adam. They bicker a lot and are not the classiest of couples. She adores her children and can’t wait for them to visit. She’s been busy cooking, thinking up any recipes she can with apples!!!
How has social distancing affected to the rehearsal process?
Rehearsals had to be very strict, Covid wise. We have to keep a 2 metre distance on stage at all times if we’re facing each other, 1 metre if not. It means things just take a little longer to think about and block, but we have managed to put a few visual gags in too. It’s very odd not being able to get close to new colleagues, and we haven’t been able to go for the usual, after rehearsal drinks to get to know each other better, but that’s just how it has to be at the moment.
How are you feeling about performing at the Union Theatre?
I’m really looking forward to being at the Union Theatre. I’ve rehearsed, and seen productions there, but looking forward to actually getting into the space properly.
What can audiences expect from their trip to this new version of the Union Theatre, and from Going Ape!?
Audiences can expect their 1st trip to the newly spaced Union to be safe and exciting. Every measure has been taken to ensure that people can enjoy live theatre again, and, hopefully they’ll laugh a lot, and love, Going Ape!
Going Ape! runs at The Union Theatre, 229 Union Street, Southwark, SE1 0LR from 10 to 21 November 2020, with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays 7.30pm, matinees Sunday 2.30pm. Tickets are priced £20. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!!