STAYING OFF STAGE

The former H&E King sweet shop in Albert Road

The Kings Theatre looks to press forward with multi-million pound regeneration plans

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When The Naked Truth hits the Kings next week, it will see one of the theatre’s patrons return to the venue.

But this time Lisa Riley will be keeping off the stage, as she’s directing the comedy, based around a pole-dancing class in a village hall.

It also sees Lisa working with a role that was written for her 10 years ago.

WOW247 caught up with Lisa as they were finishing rehearsals for the tour in Tamworth.

‘I’ve done little bits of directing before, but this is like my baby. Dave Simpson, the writer, wrote the role of Bev for me years ago.’

She says she was asked to reprise the role for this run but says: ‘I pride myself on no Botox and I’ve still got my baby face, but I’m approaching 40. She’s meant to be 25.’

So she turned it down, and when they offered her the chance to ‘take the helm’ instead. ‘I jumped at the chance,’ she said.

Lisa was keen to make sure she put her own mark on the production, which stars Vicki Michelle and Faye Tozer with a full supporting cast including Louise Michelle, Amy Drake and Eve Burley.

‘I had a floorplan I printed off for every single page of the script – I had a vision of exactly where everyone should be, and comedy is my thing, so I had to have everyone in the certain places for the comedy lines to work.

‘And I didn’t want any of the movements from previous productions, I didn’t want any similarities, I’ve made it my own. Then it’s nurturing the girls and getting the characters right

‘The brilliance of this piece and why it’s been so popular is because out of those six girls, every woman in the audience – or man – can relate to one of them.

‘After two hours you leave going: “Oh my God, I’m so like Gabby”, or “I’m so like Tricia”.’

She’s looking forward to coming back to the Kings.

‘I love the Kings. It’s got a massive place in my heart. And I am so excited to bring it there because it’s my baby and for people who might have seen the play before, I advise them to see it again, because it’s so different.

‘I think it was five years ago we were at the Kings with it, but it’s so different now, it’s really like a new play.

These six actresses bring so much to it.

‘It would have been easy to do a carbon copy, but why would we do that?’

On the personal front, Lisa has also been having a good year.

She’s been off alcohol for nine months, and recently revealed she’s lost eight stone.

With a dirty cackle, she laughs: ‘I’m getting all sorts of filthy tweets I can tell you. I’ve never had tweets like this in my life. I feel like Kim Kardashian.’

And it doesn’t stop her hanging out after the shows.

‘Now I’ll go in the Phoenix and enjoy my fizzy water. It doesn’t bother me, It’s not like I need the drink, I’m full of beans every time of the day anyway and I’m not the sort of person who needs dutch courage.

It’s also given her career a boost: ‘I’ve got a fabulous drama with the BBC straight after panto. I have been offered a massive musical, but I don’t know if I want to do that. The offers are coming in thick and fast.

‘From a casting directors’ point of view, it was here comes the fat girl, but now I’m being offered roles I never thought I’d get, so they see the talent rather than the obvious, which is great.’

The evening will have a bucket collection, with all donations going to the Haven Breast Cancer Support Centre, in Titchfield.