Ahead of the opening of Rules For Living at Rose Theatre Kingston, Ed Hughes takes our Sugar Rush

Ed Hughes has a string of stage credits to his name, but is perhaps best known for his television work, which includes appearances in Ripper Street, Drifters, The Honourable Woman and Wallander.

Ed will plays Adam in the English Touring Theatre, Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Rose Theatre Kingston’s production of Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living, but took some time off from rehearsals to take our Sugar Rush Quiz. 

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What are you currently working on?

Rules for Living by Sam Holcroft, directed by the amazing Simon Godwin. A very funny play about a family gathering on Christmas Day where it all starts out well and rapidly deteriorates. I play Adam one of the sons. It’s a great part and the response from the audience has been pretty crazy with the amount of laughter. 

What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful? 

Perseverance and faith. There have been times when I have been out of work for extended periods and the doubts start to creep in, whether I will ever work again? Should I try something else? Just by keeping going, working on what I can control, and having faith that it will turn around it always has done. For every low moment it always balances itself out. Also being a bit stubborn helps at times! 

What is your favourite Book?

I have a few but 100 years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I had never been to Colombia when I read it in my twenties and I found it magical and intensely moving. I never dreamed that I would see the world he paints. I then met my wife Andrea Pelaez who is a Colombian choreographer and have been many times, the book has always stayed with me. I have now read it in Spanish which took a while but was even more beautiful.

What are you currently watching on TV? 

Billions. I am a box set junky and on tour you have lots of down time in different towns or between shows so have been ploughing through “Billions”. I have always loved watching Paul Giamatti and Damien Lewis. I prefer shows that make you think not just entertain and this is a cracker.

Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out? 

Having a toddler means I haven’t gone anywhere very much. So right now am craving a night out at the cinema to see Blade Runner with my wife. When the tour of Rules for Living finishes this is the plan (if it’s still showing).

What’s your favourite sweet? 

I have a chocolate addiction going on so really anything I can get my hands on at times. If I had to pin it down then a pack of Giant Chocolate Buttons.

What did you want to be when you were a child? 

A cricketer. I played cricket for England U19 young colts so all my time was spent playing sport all over the place from the age of 14-19. But then I decided to go to Drama School at 18 and got into The Guildhall School of Music and Drama so that put an end to the cricket.

What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child? 

I grew up in the country near Ipswich so spent a lot of time with friends on farms we used to drive a Citroen 2CV around at the age of 12 and had air guns which was pretty crazy thinking back but a lot of fun at the time.

What is your proudest achievement to date? 

Playing Fred Silvester in the original production of This House at the National Theatre. We opened at the Cottlesloe Theatre (now Dorfman) and it kept growing from there to the Olivier and West End. It was a special play by James Graham and group of people with Jeremy Herrin directing. I felt very proud of the show and all we did.

What’s next?

I direct as well as act, so am directing A Chorus Line at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama for their final year musical in January. We are in the design process at the moment and will start doing auditions soon. I always love to juggle multiple projects at the same time and to get the chance to work on a classic musical is a privilege.


Rose Theatre Kingston

7 – 18 November

Box office: 020 8174 0090



Ahead of her Cabaret at Tea Time at Lauderdale House, Shona White takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

West End favourite Shona White is set to thrill audiences with her dazzling vocals next weekend when she performs a very special cabaret at Lauderdale House. The songstress – who is perhaps best known for her portrayals of Elphaba in Wicked and Donna in MAMMA MIA! – will headline the Cabaret at Tea Time event and will be supported by London stage stars Stewart Briggs and Tim McArthur.

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Shona took some time off from her preparations to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

  1. What are you currently working on?

I have been enjoying exploring new work, most recently Page to Stage at The Other Palace and The Break at The Arts Theatre. There is a lot of exciting new writing out there at the moment. I’m also gearing up for my next Lauderdale House cabaret which is this Sunday 15th.

  1. What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful?

I think after 20 years in this crazy business it must be tenacity! This is not the easiest profession to work in but I’m still here!

  1. What is your favourite Book?

I always find these questions hard to answer as there are so many good books/songs/films!  My favourite book I have read fairly recently is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I have subsequently watched the movie but the book was far superior as is often the case. I have her new one ready to go! I don’t often find time to read but when I do I love a good autobiography.

  1. What are you currently watching on TV?

There is so much good British drama on at the moment. I have just finished Dr Foster. I watched the first season on catch up so I could watch season 2 with the nation. Fantastic acting! I hope there will be a 3rd as they left me wanting more…

I’m also enjoying Liar.

  1. Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out?

That’s hard as I love all 3! I guess if pushed I’d have to say restaurant. One of my favourite things to do is dine out. I’m a real foodie!

  1. What’s your favourite sweet?

Dessert or sweetie? Dessert anything salted caramel at the moment! Sweets I love a simple Dairy Milk bar or Haribo. I have a sweet tooth!

  1. What did you want to be when you were a child?

 An air hostess as I thought it was super glamorous!

  1. What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child?

I have always been attracted to shiny things and as a little girl on a trip to our village chemist with my mum, unbeknownst to her, I took glittery nail polishes from the shelf. My mum was mortified when she found them and marched me straight back to own up and apologise!

  1. What is your proudest achievement to date?

There are so many shows and parts I am proud of. I’ve been around a long time! My favourite role was probably Florence in Chess. Nothing makes me prouder than making my parents proud though! Not that I want to make people cry but when they are in the audience a few tears of pride give me a reason to keep doing what I’m doing.

  1. What’s next?

There are a few new shows coming up next year I’ve got my eye on!

For now I’m keeping busy with solo projects. I am also an Ambassador for Adoption UK, an Associate of The Royal Academy of Music and I may have another position to add to my list very soon! Watch this space…

In homage to Lauderdale House’s glorious past – after the House was restored in 1893 it served as the Waterlow Park tearoom for 70 years- they have introduced a Cabaret at Tea Time with a ticket offer that combines afternoon tea plus cabaret ticket.

You can join Shona White for Cabaret at Tea Time at Lauderdale on Sunday 15 October at 15:30. You can find more details on the website http://www.lauderdalehouse.co.uk/page.asp?ID=2494&PID=1&PVID=3240

We talk to Jack Ellis about the ultra scary ‘Wait Until Dark’ at Richmond Theatre

Audrey Hepburn earned an Academy Award nomination for the 1967 psychological thriller Wait Until Dark, writes Nicky Sweetland.

But fans of the film will soon be able to experience Fredrick Knott’s terrifying play – upon which the screenplay was based – when a new production embarks on a nationwide tour next week.

The play, which is set amidst the social turbulence of 60’s London, stars Oliver Mellor (Coronation Street) and Karina Jones (The Vagina Monologues and Crystal Clear) alongside Jack Ellis (Prime Suspect and Bad Girls) who took some time off from rehearsals to tell us about the new production.

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The play follows the story of Suzy, a blind woman who, left alone in her apartment, becomes embroiled with a group of conmen hatching an elaborate scam and Jack explains, “It’s a fantastic piece made better by the fact that we have Karina Jones, who is a blind actress, playing the Audrey Hepburn part. I think it’s the first time it’s ever been done. I think, were we to do it with a sighted actress, it might be slightly dated but having Karina adds a huge amount of poignancy and a totally different feel. It underlines disability and our attitudes towards disability.”

With her husband removed from the house, Suzy is left to fend for herself but with the phone line cut and the house plunged into darkness, how will she outwit her tormentors?

“Weirdly she becomes more and more resolute as the play unfolds.” Jack said.

Jack Ellis is perhaps best known for playing the dastardly prison guard Jim Fenner in the ITV television series Bad Girls. His previous theatre credits include A Clockwork Orange, Richard III and Hamlet (all for the Royal Shakespeare Company) but he was most recently seen onstage in the acclaimed UK touring production of Shawshank Redemption.

Jack, once again, portrays an unsavoury character in the new stage production of Waiting For Dark, which is often quoted as one of the top 100 scariest films of all time.

“Fans of the film will love it, but I think they’ll get a lot more from it. The film is just a scary film and this has got a lot of comedy in it as well.” Jack tells us, “It’s a bit like the Woman in Black, meets Hustle, meets Harold Pinter, meets the scariest film you’ve ever seen, particularly at the end.”

Waiting Until Dark will run at the Richmond Theatre from 4 – 9 September 

“A good suggestion is like a big wave; you just want to ride it and you don’t have to work that hard to make it fun.” We talk to Abandoman’s Rob Broderick

Known for creating hilarious songs and sketches at lightening speed, Abandoman have become one of the must see acts at Edinburgh this year, writes Nicky Sweetland.

In fact, the musical comedy duo performed to over 10,000 at lasts year’s festival and will return with a brand new show, which this year has been semi-written.

Winners of the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year, Musical Comedy Awards and the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Abandoman is made up of musician Sam Wilson and comedy Hip-hop artist Rob Broderick, who told me, “I think it’s going to be very cool and a lot of fun. It’s a nice healthy mix of written and freestyle stuff with some animation and it’s a way of bringing quite a surreal world to life.”

Following their appearance in Edinburgh, the pair – who are currently the resident band for Alan Carr’s Happy Hour (Channel 4) – will take their new show Life + Rhymes to the Soho Theatre.

“It’s a fictional biopic, but it’s fully freestyled. We’ve been doing freestyled songs for a long time and we got really excited about the audience making up part of the story with their characters.”

Rob explained that the show spans twenty years of the duo’s attempt to “make it” as a band and that the audience will not only witness the highs, lows and scandals, but they will form the supporting cast every night. “It’s set in the 90s in Ireland and the idea is that everyone who’s in the room was there at a moment of our journey in Hip-hop. Irish Hip-hop is pitched as a very dangerous world and it’s very silly. I wanted to create an hour show in which the crowd gets to go on a journey, not just within each song, but an overall journey.”

The improv double act has an enviable reputation in the world of comedy, with Rob’s absolute commitment to the rap being of the highest competence. He studied Hip-hop and came upon the comedy side of the art by accident, when he realised that his improvised raps were always a bit more comical than other performers.

Rob told me, “Standup and Hip-hop are my two loves and so naturally my freestyling somehow had a sillier slant”

His onstage partner, Sam has the amazing ability to layer sounds and make the music appear as if it has been prerecorded, so when the two play together, the quality of the Hip-hop is beyond reproach, something, which is very important to both performers.

“Myself and Sam take the music and the rapping incredibly seriously. It’s not one of those things where a comedy act thought hip hop would be a good way to get success”

When mixed with suggestions from the on-looking audience, the result is an exciting and extremely amusing hour of entertainment.

“We ask people for bespoke moments or bespoke opinions of their lives, but every opinion has more weight because it’s actually happened. We’re asking them for a minor irk they went through or rule they broke and when those things are good or really interesting, the room really gets behind it and it makes freestyling much easier.”

Rob explains, “It’s like if you’re a surfer. A good suggestion is like a big wave; you just want to ride it and you don’t have to work that hard to make it fun.”

Abandoman will perform Life + Rhymes at the Soho Theatre from 14th-16th September


We talk to the Blues Brothers about their party at the Hippodrome Casino this summer

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Back in 1978 Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi founded a revivalist band as part of their Saturday Night Live sketch show, writes Nicky Sweetland.

Called the Blues Brothers, the band went on to achieve huge success with the release of several albums and a critically acclaimed film, which reignited the careers of soul stars like Aretha Franklin and James Brown.

Led by a couple of colourful characters called Jake and Elwood (who were played by Aykroyd and Belushi) the band attracted a cult following. The popularity of the group inspired a tribute show, which has returned to the capital for the summer to play a limited run at the Hippodrome Casino.

Along with a gathering of celebrated blues and soul musicians, Joshua Mumby and David Krisptopher-Brown portray the delightfully devilish duo and I caught up with them during a rehearsal.

Joshua told me, “Jake and Elwood Blues are putting on their summer special at the Hippodrome casino. They’ve got together their band and their singers and are putting on a show for the people of London.”

The show – which Joshua tells me is a mixture between a concert and a musical – was first performed in Edinburgh in 2012 and enjoyed a celebrated run at the Arts Theatre with a Christmas special in 2015.

With its intimate atmosphere the Hippodrome in Leicester Square, somehow feels like a much more apt performance space for the Blues Brothers and Joshua said, “It’s exactly the sort of place that the real Blues Brothers would have played, so it’s really cool.”

Rather than feeling the pressure of playing such a famous pair, the actors are thriving on bringing the sound of the Blues Brothers to a new audience and Joshua said, “It’s wonderful to be able to continue what Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi did originally and try to bring this music to the masses. It’s great to be able to step into their shoes and the character’s shoes and lift that a little bit further.”

“They’ve been loving it.” David adds, “People are absolutely crazy for these characters and we want to do a great service to what they know already, but the characters are so good and so well written.”

The show is in residence at the salubrious central London venue until the end of August and the stars of the show are looking forward to sharing the fun.

“It’s all really good fun and it’s about entering into their world and having a good night.” Joshua said.

David explained, “It will be the biggest party they will ever attend. The musicians are ridiculously good. We love doing this show, we love performing the music and we cant wait to share it with everyone.”

The Blues Brothers – Summer special is at the Hippodrome Casino until 26 August 

Photos by Darren Bell

Elliot Hadley talks to us about Coming Clean at the King’s Head Theatre

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the King’s Head Theatre is staging a seminal work by the acclaimed playwright Kevin Elyot to celebrate the milestone, writes Nicky Sweetland.

Elyot – who is perhaps best known for his 1994 work My Night With Reg – wrote his first play, Coming Clean, 35 years ago and the production at the admired Islington venue is the first major revival in London since it opened at the Bush Theatre in 1982.

Adam Spreadbury-Maher, the Artistic Director of the King’s Head, has chosen to headline the theatre’s Queer Season with Elyot’s play and gathered a stellar cast, which includes Lee Knight (Much Ado About Nothing, Wyndham’s Theatre, Savage, Arts Theatre), the Royal Shakespeare company’s Jason Nwoga and Elliot Hadley, who took some time out from rehearsals to tell me about how the preparations are going.

“We’re in the room on our own today so it’s really intense; there’s so much to think about, but it’s going really well.” Elliot tells me during a break for lunch and this is not the first time the actor has been part of an important piece of LGBT theatre, as he was instrumental in the conception and progression of the multi award-winning play Five Guys Chillin’.

The play – which was performed at the Brighton Fringe, the Dublin Gay Arts Festival and even Off-Broadway as well as at the King’s Head – was critically acclaimed, with Elliot not only performing as part of the cast, but also helping to ensure it was published and eventually becoming an associate director when it returned to the King’s Head last year.

“Going from the very early stages, to acting in it, getting it published, winning awards and then to become one of the creatives was a really fulfilling and humbling process.” Elliot told me, “It’s been such a big part of my career and my life as well because a lot of the issues are really prevalent in the community at the moment and it’s nice to give a voice to them.”

In contrast, Kevin Elyot’s Coming Clean was written at a time when gay culture and Aids were barely discussed in the UK. It was therefore noted for the candid writing style and Elliot explains, “It’s about two people trying to make it work and what’s great about the play is that it’s not the fact that they are gay. It’s just about relationships; about love and fidelity and it asks those questions.”

The play follows Tony and Greg, who are in an open relationship, but the boundaries of their faithfulness have never been established or tested until a young attractive twink comes on the scene. “The rules have never really been spoken”.

Elliot plays Tony’s best friend and confident William and tells me, “He’s a working class mate who provides a bit of comic relief; he’s witty, he’s direct. He comes around and has a brew and a chat and talks about his shenanigans.”

Written 12 years before his most famous play, My Night With Reg, Coming Clean won Elyot the Samuel Beckett Award for writers showing particular promise in the field of the performing arts.

Elliot said, “The whole play is extremely funny, really witty and razor-sharp. It sort of reminds me of sitcoms I used to watch with my parents when I was younger. It’s hilarious but it will pull on a few heartstrings as well with the themes it covers. I think there’ll be a few tears shed.”

Kevin Elyot’s writing is known to be semi-autobiographical and covers three very distinct phases of his life. His final play, Twilight Song is also being staged in London this summer at Park Theatre.

“This year celebrates 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK so we’ve got two Elyot plays on at the same time, which is going to be brilliant for audiences.”

Coming Clean runs at King’s Head Theatre from 25 July until 26 August 

Photo by Paul Nicholas Dyke

Director, Adam Lenson tells us about the return of the madcap Quentin Dentin Show

Director, Adam Lenson has had a busy few weeks, with the brand new musical Superhero at Southwark Playhouse opening to critical acclaim and The Quentin Dentin Show arriving back on the London stage due to popular demand, this time at the Tristan Bates Theatre, writes Nicky Sweetland.

Director, Adam Lenson

The latter has been Billed as the ‘Rocky Horror show for the new millennium and has continued to grow in popularity following a successful run at Edinburgh and at above the Arts in London. Adam tells me,

“It’s a really unique show. It’s unlike anything I’ve worked on before but I mean that in the best possible sense. It’s a mixture of very real topics but handled in a surreal way”

The Quentin Dentin Show follows a regular couple, which have become despondent with their dull life, but just when things take a turn for the worse a strange being from their radio pops out to save them.

“It’s about happiness and relationships, the noise of modern living, the oddness of being a human being but transposed with this heightened surreal energy, which I find enthralling and confusing in equal measure.” Adam explains, “It sounds crazy and it sounds like a really weird set up for a show, but it sort of makes sense when you’re watching it, I think.”

The satirical musical features a live rock band, with a soundtrack incorporating styles of music ranging from 50s and 60s doowap pastiche up to modern rock fusion and promises to give audiences a night of escapism.

“There’s a heightened juxtaposition of the real and the unreal, which musical theatre is really good at.”

The Quentin Dentin Show is at the Tristan Bates Theatre until 29 July 

We talk to Grammy nominated Sisters Grimm ahead of their new show Voices of the Amazon at Sadler’s Wells

After the phenomenal success of Inala, performed with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Sisters Grimm will return to Sadler’s Wells next week with their brand new dance musical set in the Amazon Rainforest.

The company, which was conceived almost ten years ago by Grammy-nominated Ella Spira and former Royal Ballet dancer Pietra Mello-Pittman, will present their new show Voices of the Amazon with the help of Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons – who provides the voice over – and the Royal Ballet’s First Artist Nathalie Harrison, along with a cast of 16 dancer singers and musicians.

The creators took the idea for the new dance production from a visit to Brazil, where they saw for themselves the impact of the continued deforestation.

Pietra Mello-Pittman told us, “We went to Brazil and visited lots of cities but we ended up in the Amazon Rain Forest. We witnessed for ourselves the effects of forest fires and deforestation and we thought that we’d really like to try to work it into the narrative.”

Voices of the Amazon follows the story of Beleza; a water spirit, whose search to find a cure for her dying sister takes her on a journey deep into the forest.

Unlike the Grammy nominated Inala, the international cast of performers will undertake all of the elements of the production and Pietra said, “[They are] all singing, all dancing, all hanging from bits of fabric, performing circus skills and spinning on their heads as well.”

Composer Ella Spira has collaborated with Brazilian songwriters to ensure lyrically both the native Portuguese and English languages are reflected in the soundtrack. She gathered the inspiration for the melodies from some of the awe-inspiring sights she witnessed when in the Amazon Rainforest and fellow creator Pietra explains, “You just feel the emotion of the score”.

Sisters Grimm, Pietra Mello-Pittman (left) and Ella Spira (right) on stage at Sadler’s Wells with The Sweet London Life Editor Nicky Sweetland

The pair met through a mutual friend in 2008 and found almost immediately that they had a common goal, “We shared the same ambition with what we wanted to create, which was to fuse our backgrounds of classical music and classical ballet but really fuse it with a whole load of other disciplines and unite people from different backgrounds and create really spectacular shows.” Pietra said.

Ella has written the score for Voices of the Amazon (after her Grammy nomination for Inala), Pietra is directing the production and Helen Pickett (Resident Choreographer for Atlanta Ballet and former dancer with William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt) has joined the company to provide the choreography.

They are hoping the new show will be relevant – with some political leaders recently disputing the impact if greenhouse gases on the world’s climate – and will inspire audiences to take note of global environmental issues, while entertaining with an engaging narrative.

Ella Spira explained: “We hope they’ll leave feeling like they’ve had a really good night. We focus on having big choral singing that really hits you, so you have this immediate emotional engagement with it and we want people to leave feeling a bit more engaged with the amazon. It is a kind of folk tale and it is fairytaleish, but it’s beautiful. It’s also about letting go of differences between people and having everyone and everything coming together and respecting everything.”

Voices of the Amazon will receive its UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells from 4 to 8 July and the production is supported by WWF and the Eden Project along with science consultant Alexander Van Tulleken (CBBC’s Operation Ouch, Channel 4’s How to Lose Weight Well).

Following the run at Sadler’s Wells, the show will perform at Latitude Festival 13-16 July and Singapore 28-30 July. There are also plans to go to Australia and Hong Kong then do a UK Tour either later this year or early next year, including performances at the Eden Project.

Voices of the Amazon is at Sadler’s Wells from 4 to 8 July.

We chat to the stars of Bat Out of Hell The Musical

After taking almost 40 years to reach fruition, the musical theatre adaptation of Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell officially opens in London this week.

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The show – which features the music of Steinman and famed rocker, Meat Loaf – was a big success with fans when it completed a run at the Manchester Opera House earlier this year.

We caught up with two of the stars backstage at the London Coliseum to find out more.

Andrew Polec leads the cast as Strat, the forever young leader of The Lost, who has fallen for Raven (Christina Bennington), daughter of Falco, the tyrannical, ruler of Obsidian.

Andrew said: “It was originally a concept that Jim Steinman had as a musical and I guess things just didn’t pan out and so they went for an album instead. As our director has said, ‘It’s the most premature cast album to have ever been recorded.’ Meatloaf paved the way for all of the music and it became a huge hit. Now it’s finally coming back to its roots.”

The show is set in post apocalyptic Manhattan, which has become detached and floated out into the Atlantic Ocean. The show includes the well-known rock anthems “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad”, the title track “Bat Out of Hell’ and the number one hit song “I’d do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”.

Andrew explained, “The show is incredible. It’s a mixture of Peter Pan and Romeo and Juliet all infused with music from the rock gods themselves, Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman.”

Christina Bennington plays Raven and added, “We have the amazing music woven into our storyline.”

It’s not just the music that promises to impress audiences in the Capitol however, as the show boasts one of the biggest sets in the world and Andrew tells me, “We have three motorbikes, which are featured heavily throughout the show and a lot of stage magic.”

With a cast filled with young talent, Andrew also tells me there is an important message behind it.

“This is really a show about reaching out to people who feel like they might be oppressed in society or oppressed in the everyday life that they lead. It’s about realising that if we connect more with love and if we connect more with the rock n roll mentality of rebellion, love will set you free.”

I ask Christina why she thinks people should come and see Bat Out Of Hell The Musical and she tells me: “You won’t have seen anything like it before in musical theatre. The set, the music and cast are incredible and it’s an incredible night out.”

Andrew adds, “It’s the future of musical theatre!”

Bat Out of Hell The Musical is at the London Coliseum until 5 August 

Photos by Specular

We talk to Ben Lloyd-Hughes about Kiss Me at Trafalgar Studios

Following a critically acclaimed run at Hampstead Theatre, Richard Bean’s two-hander Kiss Me has transferred to Trafalgar Studios and with the pairing of Claire Lams and Ben Lloyd-Hughes reprising their roles, the thought provoking 1920’s drama promises to be another hit, writes Nicky Sweetland.

Set post World War I, when Britain is reeling from the loss of so many men, the story follows Stephanie, a 32-year-old widow, desperate for a child. Her plight is recognised by Dennis, who has taken it upon himself to impregnate husbandless women.

Ben Lloyd-Hughes told us, “This play asks the questions about what this scenario would be like and what happens if they also have a connection.”

But, Ben’s character isn’t just an opportunistic Lothario and Ben explains, “You’ll really find out what’s going on inside his head and his justification for doing it. There’s a lot more hidden there and there’s a lot more to do with the war and his own guilt”

Film fans know Ben Lloyd-Hughes for his role in the dystopian action thriller Divergent, but the actor is perhaps most recognised for his portrayal of Josh Stock in the television series Skins. Ben previously appeared in the West End transfer of the Royal Court’s production of Jumpy.

I ask Ben what it’s like to be returning to the role he left behind last year. “It’s been a joy to reconnect not only with Claire [Lams] and our director, Anna [Ledwich] but also just with the text itself and to re-find it, recreate but also find new things about it. Anna has encouraged us to treat this as something new while also honouring how successful and great it was last time.”

Writer, Richard Bean is best known for his seminal work, One Man, Two Guvnors, a play, which is defined as a bawdy crowd pleaser. Kiss Me is a much more potent project and tackles some modern issues under the guise of a historical drama.

“The play talks a lot about feminism and female empowerment because this was a time when there was still a lot of sexism.” Ben explains, “Everything was still behind closed doors, but at the same time – because of the war – a lot of the women were having to do the men’s jobs and so it actually led to a lot of female empowerment.”

Kiss Me is at Trafalgar Studios until 8 Jul