Given the high profile of her possible death in the EastEnders spin off Redwater, you might think actress Kessie Wallace was looking for a break from grizzly subject matters.
But not a bit of it as she takes the female lead in the Ira Levin’s Tony award winning play Deathtrap coming to Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre later this month.
Sidney Bruhl was a once- successful writer of stage thrillers, is in the grip of chronic writer’s block.
Out of the blue, young playwright Clifford Anderson sends Bruhl one of the only two copies of his brilliant new whodunit, Deathtrap.
Desperate to set Broadway alight once more, Sidney spies his chance to invite Clifford to his remote country home. Oh, and to bring the only other copy of Deathtrap with him to become the toast of broadway.
Jessie said: “I wanted to do it because Ira Levin is a brilliant writer. He wrote Rosemary’s Baby, which is one of my favourite films.
“Every time I watch it – which is a lot – I find something new. I’m finding that with Deathtrap too. When I read the script, I thought it was funny but also very dark and shocking.
“I hope the audience wil be scared, to be completely engaged and to be shocked by the play.”.
And what of the character that she is playing, Sidney’s wife Myra,
Jessie said: “I’ve never played a character like her. She comes across as ditzy, but she’s not. She’s clever and quite calculating.
“She is besotted with Sidney. She’s stood by him for the 18 years in which he’s not written anything. But she’s nothing like me. There’s no way I would stand by someone who treats me like that. He bullies her and she’s intimidated by him. But that changes. And then it changes again.
“I love to play characters that are a million miles away from me. With Kat Slater [in EastEnders] I was a little bit in my comfort zone because I created her from scratch. When you play a character like that for so long you begin to blend into one person. I miss her, actually, but it’s great to do other things.”
They are still in rehearsals for the show with a cast which includes another former EastEnders actor Paul Bradley.
Jessie added: “The company is so tight. They’re all such fantastic actors. I’ve never worked with Paul [Bradley] before. He’s very funny and has great comic timing. He’s got a lot to do in this.
“And Beverley Klein is brilliant. She does something different in every performance, which sometimes makes me jump.
“But it’s good that she does that. It keeps it fresh. That’s the great thing about theatre; you can do something different every night. Not so much that it throws the other cast members, but just enough to keep you on your toes.”
Deathtrap is staged from Tuesday September 19 to Saturday September 23. Tickets for the show can be booked by calling the box office on 0844 871 7607 or by visiting www.atgtickets.co.uk/aylesbury.