Cast of Cider With Rosie draw inspiration from Laurie Lee's home county
Buy this photo » Cider With Rosie cast members including Susie Blake (centre front), who played Hilary Nicholson in Mrs Brown's Boys on BBC1 Picture: Carl Hewlett
LAURIE Lee’s much-loved story about growing up in Slad will be performed for the first time in 20 years at the Everyman Theatre later this month.
The cast of Cider With Rosie have spent the last few weeks meeting their fellow actors and getting a feel for the area so beautifully described in the book.
Susie Blake, who appeared in Mrs Brown’s Boys on BBC1, plays Laurie's mother Annie.
"The good thing about performing the play in Laurie’s home county is that egos go out the window and it becomes purely about telling the story," she said.
Former Marling School student Simon Kent, from Brownshill, plays three characters, Walt, Kerry and Howard.
"Understanding that sense of village community which is so very important in Cider with Rosie is vital in this production and being from the area has really helped me," said Simon.
Tristan Pate, who plays one of the Lee children, lived in Stroud until he was 11.
"This story has such a strong connection with my childhood. I can remember driving through the Slad Valley and just being reminded of simpler times," he said.
Creator and director Paul Milton chose to incorporate the musical element of Laurie’s younger life into the production.
"It often gets forgotten but Laurie first made his living as a violin player, a talent he honed while living in Slad and performing for the villagers in the Woolpack," said Paul.
"We decided to emphasise this element by shaping the backdrop of the set like a violin, which older Laurie will then narrate through."
Charlie Hamblett, who trained at the National Youth Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, will be showcasing his violin skills when he plays the young Laurie Lee.
Richard Derrington, who plays the older Laurie, attended Wycliffe College, in Stonehouse, from 1963 to 1965, and understands the importance of the story to the area.
"I definitely feel a pressure to get it right especially when I think that Laurie’s widow and daughter are going to be in the audience and if I don’t get the accent, the mannerisms and the tone exactly right they will know," said Richard.
Cider With Rosie is at the Everyman from Thursday, March 21 to Saturday, March 30.
See this week's SNJ to be in with a chance to win tickets for the performance.