The mysteries of men, dating, finding Mr Right and motherhood are all explored in Sex In Suburbia, the hilarious new comedy starring Claire Sweeney being staged at Lynn Corn Exchange on Sunday, March 1.
It is packed with revealing and raunchy storylines set to a backdrop of sensational musical anthems including I’m Every Woman, I Want To Break Free and Somebody Else’s Guy.
Claire has established herself as one of the most popular and versatile talents in the UK with her West End and touring production credits that include Chicago, Guys and Dolls, Educating Rita and September In The Rain and television roles in Brookside, Clocking Off, Merseybeat and Candy Cabs.
Sex In Suburbia is co-written by Claire and Mandy Muden, directed by Ken Alexander (Hormonal Housewives) with set design by Mark Walters (Hot Flush).
Penny Crowe (Lindzi Germain) is the host of a late-night radio phone-in and as Britain’s leading Agony Aunt, she takes calls about every date from hell and the occasional one from heaven. She is more than happy to dish out relationship advice, but is she as happy to take it…?
Claire Sweeney joins Penny on her show as a ‘relationship expert’ while Carl Patrick revels in multiple roles which take in frigid footie fans, karate chopping kids and outrageous radio host, Rory Reynolds.
And as a way of keeping Sex in Suburbia ‘Real’ with a capital R, sassy and brave audience members will be invited to share their own personal dating stories live on stage and will be rewarded with an Ann Summers goodie bag!
Claire Sweeney talks to the Lynn News in this Question-and-Answer session:
Q: Where did the idea for Sex In Suburbia come from?
A: All the appallingly bad dates my friends and I have ever experienced. We’d tell each other what had happened and get over the horror of the experiences by laughing about them. Then, about two years ago, my close friend Mandy Muden and I started writing them all down in my front room with the notion of turning them into a comedy. At first we weren’t even sure if we were funny! But the play went down a storm with the audiences last year when it first opened in Liverpool.
Q: What happens in the show?
A: It’s all about the eternal subject of love and romance, and the quest to find Mr Right through a series of mainly unsatisfactory dating experiences. But we’ve tried to take the bad out of the date and make the audience laugh by helping them to see the funny side. In our comedy the host of a late-night radio show is Britain’s leading agony aunt and she takes calls from listeners about their dates from hell – and the occasional one from heaven – and dishes out her advice. In the original show I played a relationship expert, but this time around I play myself – a working mum with a baby. I decided to update it because my baby boy Jaxon, who was born in September, has changed my outlook on life around. As a result, I’ve injected my own personal experiences of motherhood into the show.
Q: Have you changed anything else?
A: Yes, I’ve de-Scoused it so that it will appeal more to a national audience. It was very localised before, about famous names and places in Liverpool, so I’ve taken out those references and made it more generic. However, all the dating stories remain the same – they can relate to everyone, wherever they’re from.
Q: Have you included your own experiences of dating?
A: Yes, all the material comes from me and my friends. I’m the woman who goes on all these dodgy dates looking for love and then reaches a stage in her life when she would like to settle down and become a Mum!
Q: What kind of baby-related stories are in the show?
A: Funny anecdotes about pregnancy and breastfeeding. I had the most gorgeous pregnancy and loved my growing bump and being able to eat what I wanted. A few weeks after I had Jaxon, people came up to congratulate me on being pregnant. I hadn’t lost baby weight and they thought I was still expecting! I was a bit embarrassed and replied indignantly, ‘Actually my baby’s six weeks old.’ You can’t ping back into shape immediately.
Q: Did you think twice about putting your own material in?
A: No, I found it liberating. I’ve changed the names and places but a few of the dates are based on my real dating experiences. I thought they were funny and I’m glad all the women who saw them in the show thought so too. You have to laugh in the face of adversity, don’t you? At first you go, ‘Woe is me!’ but then you turn it into a funny story and laugh.
Q: Do women in the audience volunteer their own stories?
A: Oh gosh yes! We have a slot in the show where they can share their dating nightmares. Instead of ‘Blind Date’ we call it ‘Bad Date.’
Q: Will the show appeal only to women?
A: At first we assumed it would be a comedy for women, but we’ve seen men coming, too. There are elements of the show that men can definitely relate to.
Q: Who would your ideal date be and where would you go?
A: My guilty pleasure is Ray Winstone. I’ve never met him but he seems to get more and more fabulous as he gets older.
Q: Will you be taking Jaxon on tour with you?
A: Yes, a close friend is coming with me who will look after him while I’m on stage but he’ll be with me the rest of the time. I love him so much that I don’t want to be away from him. How lucky am I!