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Ellen and Rigby launches Liverpool Royal Court season of shows

Lindzi Germain and her Royal Court Liverpool co-star Drew Schofield are about to celebrate their 13th anniversary as a couple – on stage that is.

And while a ‘baker’s dozen’ may be unlucky for some, they’re hoping Ellen & Rigby – the first show in front of an audience at the Roe Street theatre since Christmas – will be a happy return to live performance.

“The first show we did together was Lost Soul 13 years ago, when we played married couple Donna and Smigger,” Germain recalls. “We were in the green room the other day laughing about it. I said: ‘I’ve ironed more of your shirts on stage than I have of my husband’s and I’ve been with him 20-odd years’.”

So they might do quite well on Mr & Mrs then?

“I think we would!” she laughs. “We know each other inside out and back to front. Or we’d wing in it anyway.”

In Ellen & Rigby, the latest Royal Court show from Gerry Linford (Yellow Breck Road, The Menlove Avenue Murder Mystery), the pair play a couple who get to know each other after being thrown together during the middle of the Coronavirus crisis.

Germain is Ellen, who works in a Covid vaccination centre, while Schofield is reclusive old rockstar Joe Rigby who turns up, nervously, for his first jab.

“She knows him because he lives across the road, and she says ‘it’s all right, if anything goes wrong, I’ll take you home’,” Germain explains.

Above: Lindzi Germain and Drew Schofield in rehearsals with director Stephen Fletcher. Top: Lindzi Germain. Credit: Liverpool's Royal Court

“She convinces him that she should stay until his next jab. It’s a lovely story about them learning about themselves as well as learning about each other. And it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still find a soul mate.

“It’s funny, but there’s also the lovely emotional rollercoaster going through it. And we do talk about Covid, and lockdown, and losing people, because you can’t get away from that because a lot of people have lived that.”

Rolling Covid restrictions mean the Royal Court has had to postpone and re-schedule its planned programme more than once in the last 16 months.

Ellen & Rigby is the first production to come to the stage since December when, to minimise upheaval caused by Covid, the theatre split actors into two teams to perform its Christmas Selection Box.

But even then, it wasn’t able to complete its run after the country was plunged into another full lockdown.

“Our team did a week and a half at Christmas and then we got shut down,” says Germain. “The other team did five shows. But some people in other places didn’t even get to tech – crazy times.”

Now she’s back on stage performing to a live Royal Court audience – albeit one at only 50% capacity.

“It feels a bit…oh, this is what we used to do! It feels a bit surreal,” she admits.

Both actors take daily Covid tests. But the idea of forming a household ‘bubble’ with her co-star – as Ellen and Rigby do in Linford’s play – is a definite non-starter.

Germain laughs: “Oh God no, we’d kill each other!”

Ellen & Rigby is at Royal Court Liverpool from July 2-31. Tickets from the website HERE


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