Siubhan Harrison stars as Alithea in the 1920s play The Country Wife which plays at the Southwark Playhouse, London until 21 April. Siubhan told me about her role in the show, the 1920s world, audience reactions and more…
Can you explain a little about The Country Wife and how your character Alithea fits into it?
The Country Wife is about a society of sexual liberation where Harry Horner poses as a eunuch in front of men in order to sleep with their wives without suspicion! He meets Margery, the young beautiful country wife of Pinchwife, when she comes to London. We soon see Pinchwife lose her to the fun of the bright young things society as her eyes are opened to how town people conduct their relationships. She searches for what makes her happy in contrast to her constricting loveless marriage. Alithea is Pinchwife’s sister, who is due to marry Sparkish for what we suspect may be financial and social convenience for the pair of them, but when she meets his friend Frank Harcourt who pursues her and offers her the possibility of happiness we see her turmoil.
What attracted you to the role of Alithea? Are you alike at all?
Alithea is fabulous, cutting, searingly honest and an absolute hostess, the image of the 1920s glamour girl. I wish I was like her… In real life, I’m very clumsy and geeky!
How has it been immersing yourself in the 1920s world? What do you enjoy the most?
The era is so much fun, pretending to be a bright young thing has been a hedonistic, liberating party.
What do you think people will be saying and feeling as they leave the theatre after seeing the show?
Hopefully, they’ll laugh, it’s amazing how a play written over 340 years ago can still be so accessible, the language and humour is brilliant!!! The era is so evocative and sexy.
Can you sun up the show in five words?
Debauched, funny, liberating, hedonistic, glamorous.
If you had a magic wand, which show would you do next?
A spy film. Or a Pinter play.
What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring performers?
Be playful, be brave!