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Susie Amy on Fatal Attraction: why audiences sympathise with the bunny-boiler now



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Talk about seeing both sides of the story - actor Susie Amy has played both the victim and the villain in this new production of Fatal Attraction.

The former Footballers’ Wives and Hollyoaks star is appearing alongside pop singer and Strictly winner Louise Redknapp in the show, which will be staged at Cambridge Arts Theatre later this month.

And she is taking on the role of spurned lover Alex Forrest which was made famous in the 1986 film by Glen Close after moving on from playing Beth, the wronged wife.

A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097169)
A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097169)

But she says audiences are not as black and white in their opinions about the women in the show as they once were.

“I’ve switched characters during this run, “ says Susie, “I’m now playing Alex, and what's been really nice is the difference between the two characters. With Alex, you really get to explore a real range of emotions because when you meet her she's independent, confident, sexy and dynamic. And due to things that happened within the play, she ends up in a really, really bad way. And you really see that range of anger and upset and trauma on top of what you initially see. So playing her has been a really exciting journey. She’s a character you literally can't get bored of.”

“I think what's so interesting about this play is that I feel that the audience like it so much, and it's so gripped by it, because everybody can relate to an element. Whether you can relate to somebody betraying you, or temptation at some point, or feeling scared that somebody's holding something over you or even just the fear of one of those states is really relatable.”

A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097171)
A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097171)

Fatal Attraction tells the story of happily married New York attorney Dan Gallagher who meets charming editor Alex Forrest on a night out in the city and they both commit to a night of passion they can’t take back. Dan returns home to his family and tries to forget the mistake he has made, but Alex has different ideas.

The original film Fatal Attraction is an American psychological thriller starring Michael Douglas, Glenn Close and Anne Archer. It was released in 1987 and directed by Adrian Lyne. The screenplay was written by James Dearden, which was based on the 1980 short film Diversion. Fatal Attraction became a Box Office success, despite controversy surrounding themes of the film, and was the highest-grossing film worldwide in 1987.

The character Alex Forrest, who is played by Susie, is the original source of the term “bunny-boiler” and has been used as a film illustration for the condition border personality disorder, displaying behaviours including impulsivity, anger and self-harming.

A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097177)
A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097177)

Susie says: “Obviously, I think everybody's sympathy should fall with the wife, Beth (played by Louise Reknapp), because she's a very caring mother and partner. And being a mother of two young children I know it isn't always easy to keep things in a relationship as amazing as they were when you first met and you don't have those sorts of responsibilities together. So I feel that it's always such an unfair comparison when somebody has a long term relationship with somebody and then they meet somebody attractive they connect with because the pressures that you're facing with that new person are not the same.

“It's a very common but unfortunate situation where somebody's tempted by that kind of fresh experience. Maybe they are not thinking through that if you're actually to strike up a relationship with that person and get into the same family patterns or responsibilities the same problems will probably still be there because it isn't easy.

“When you're super busy or you’ve got pressures of finances or bills or big decisions to make to get there and childcare is a lot of pressure, so it’s definitely relatable. And although I think what's really nice is this is the same story that we've been told in 1987. It has the original ending, not the one form the film which Hollywood kind of changed it to glamorize it up a bit. But I think these days audiences have looked a bit deeper at mental health struggles and how you treat people, because I think we're all a little bit more aware that things aren't always as straightforward as labeling somebody a bunny boiler, which is obviously a phrase that came from this film. All I will say is the original story is honoured. And it's funny because audiences laugh at the most uncomfortable moment and I think if it wasn't in there, people would probably be disappointed in a weird way. Obviously, there is no real rabbit involved.

A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097181)
A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097181)

“In rehearsals there was a lot of talk amongst the cast and crew about sympathies for Alex because of her mental health struggles. And I was quite quick to point out during that discussion, just from a different viewpoint, that it’s not okay to harass or stalk somebody. So there are lots of different ways to look at it. But I think uwe are hopefully getting to a point where we do have to take responsibility for how we treat people, and she isn't treated particularly well. ”

Susie is playing opposite Louise Redknapp (Beth Gallagher) who is a musician, TV presenter and actress. Rising to prominence as a member of girl band Eternal in the 1990s, Louise continued with a successful solo music career and became a contestant on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2016, where she was named runner-up. Her stage career includes roles in Cabaret and Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The Musical.

Susie explains she was keen not to influence Louise’s interpretation of the role of Beth, which she had previously played opposite Kym Marsh as Alex. She said: “The two women don't have many scenes together. But actually, by the time Louise and I were brought together, she was very much up to speed with her version of Beth, which is actually really important.

A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097183)
A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097183)

“When I took over the role of Alex from Kym Marsh she just offered to answer any questions, which were just about technical issues because performance wise, we're all different people and we all create our own performances. I was happy to make any suggestions to Louise but she's very chilled out. For some people coming into the show that might be quite a tricky situation. Because everybody knows each other. We are a particularly friendly group of people but Louise was very, very relaxed. And I think it's been a really nice experience for her because she's done a lot of musicals and she's a musician, but it's her first play.

“So I think she was very open to anyone giving her any tips but she'd really done such great work there was no need and kind of etiquette as well not to offer stuff. Obviously she's doing her own thing. And that's really important. Because the second you try and impersonate how somebody was doing something before it really probably wouldn't work wouldn't look right.

“I think Beth the strongest person of the three characters by a long long way. And even though she doesn't necessarily realize what's going on as quickly as some people would, it’s because she's got an amazing amount of self belief and that and doesn't suffer with insecurities about her relationships, she's a trustworthy person, and she trusts her husband, who, from what we can see in the story, has never really given her reason before not to trust him.

A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097179)
A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097179)

“I think there's something about his connection with Alex that really takes over his rational thought process. And I think it wasn't it wasn't just a thoughtless one nightstand that he has with Alex. I think this was a very unusual situation of being captivated by the strong, powerful woman in the bar. And betraying a really wonderful one.”

The husband in the love triangle, Dan Gallgher, is played by Oliver Farnworth who has appeared on Coronation Street and Mr. Selfridge. His theatre credits include The Girl on the Train and The Marilyn Conspiracy, in which he also starred with Susie Amy.

Susie said: “ I was absolutely delighted to be working with him again. We worked together in 2018 on The Marilyn Conspiracy, a play that I'm really passionate about. We did that in Edinburgh for a month. It's always nice when you've got on with somebody who then ended up being on another job with you. And he kind of really carries the show. He only leaves the stage for about 45 seconds three times. And it's quite an intense part.”

This is the first major role Susie has played since the beginning of the pandemic and partly that’s because during the lockdown in October 2020 she gave birth to her second daughter, Rosie, who is now gurgling down the phone.

A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097175)
A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097175)

Susie said: “I've got a three year old (eldest daughter, Noa) and so I was pregnant, funnily enough, last I was working with with Oliver for 2018 and then I had a baby during the pandemic so just from my own personal perspective, I did wonder if I would get to do a job like this again. Having my first baby at 37, I've always been pretty free and available in terms of work. And then various bits or work came in that I couldn’t meet for or talk about just as I had Rosie. And, and in my head I had wondered when an opportunity like this play would come up to me again because everything was shut.

“Everybody within the industry was left unemployed, including all the crew and the theatre staff, and obviously the directors and production staff as well. SoI felt really excited when this opportunity came up because it wasn't a terribly long run. I felt I could manage it around the children with support from my partner. And it just felt really good to be doing an exciting project again.”

However, she was glad to have already experienced childbirth and becoming a mum before Covid as she feels it could otherwise have been quite an isolating experience.

“With Rosie, it was good timing in a way because it was time that everybody was forced to be at home anyway. And I got to spend amazing time with Noa my oldest daughter while while being pregnant because we were all just at home or we took great walks and we spent time together as a family. It was a time that potentially I couldn't have been doing a massive amount workwise.

A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097179)
A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden @ Alexandra Theatre Birmingham. Directed by Loveday Ingram. (Opening 04-03-2022) ©Tristram Kenton 03-22 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com (56097179)

“You are definitely limited when you're pregnant and you're an actor. I really was a very lucky person. However the actual pregnancy, the first time round, Raf, my partner, could come to all the appointments and this time he couldn’t. He couldn't but that was okay. I felt more for people who were pregnant for the first time during a pandemic. And I think it was quite an isolatingtime for people and obviously, the facilities in terms of even giving birth in the October when we were locked down again. The situation I found a year and a half before was totally different. This time everything was more limited and pressured.

Fatal Attraction theatre production. .Maidwell Marketing. .Shot at FiveFour Studios, Manchester. ...License for promotional within UK territories during period of show.. (56098595)
Fatal Attraction theatre production. .Maidwell Marketing. .Shot at FiveFour Studios, Manchester. ...License for promotional within UK territories during period of show.. (56098595)

“There were potentially less staff at the hospital, that was just my experience. I think for people who maybe had their baby for the first time during lockdown, I'm not sure it was an ideal time. But I felt lucky because we were completing our family with Rosie. And I had gone through a really amazing experience the first time round. It did cross my mind about the partners missing out on the scans and appointments and everything just being so shielded and limited and immediately after giving birth your partner leaving straight afterwards. But I'm not complaining. I'm just saying it was different.”

After this play, Susie will be returning to Hollyoaks for a stint but she is sad her old colleague Gary Lucy has left.

She says: “ Obviously when I've been there before, Gary Lucy has been there because I was playing his wife. He was also my husband in Footballers’ Wives. Everyone's really friendly. But it's just interesting for me because I've never been there when he's not. And it is going to be funny with him not being there this time. But he's a friend of mine, so obviously I speak to him and I’m still in touch with him.”

After Hollyoaks, Susie is hoping for a short break and explains “actually if I don't work so much in the second half of the year, that's okay too because this has been particularly busy. And my partner has been taking most of the weight in terms of the children and household stuff and all of that so I don't mind having a bit of a balance the other way for a while… I wouldn't be I wouldn't be too upset to have a little bit of downtime at home with the kids for a little while. It's quite nice feeling like that.”

  • Fatal Attraction is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre Tuesday 26 – Saturday 30 April. Tickets from £20. Box Office: 01223 503333 / cambridgeartstheatre.com



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