Lyn Paul is currently reprising the role of Willy Russell's much put upon mam, Mrs Johnstone in the hit touring production of Blood Brothers. Lyn has played the role many times in the West End and on tour, as well as taking on roles in musicals such as Footloose. All this is a far cry from her time with pop group The New Seekers. Rebecca Cohen caught up with Lyn Paul prior to the musical arriving in Manchester and Liverpool.
What do you like about playing Mrs Johnstone?
I just really enjoy playing the role. It’s so well written and I feel I can relate to the whole aspect of Mrs J.
Having played the part intermittently for such a long time, the character must have become a huge part of your life.
It has been an evolvement. The more you play the character, the more you find.
Each character in Blood Brothers has to go through so many contrasting emotions during the course of the two acts. Do you find you all feel emotionally drained as soon as the curtain closes?
Oh gosh, yes! Absolutely! It is such an emotional rollercoaster. I cried yesterday because the phone rang at 9.30, after I had a day of 2 shows and early interviews. It takes it out of you entirely and your face suffers- all the cast go around with a 'Blood Brothers face!'
Musical theatre is entirely different to any work you ever did individually or with the New Seekers. What factors do you prefer about musical theatre?
It’s so completely different. In a nutshell, it is purely the acting you can do in musical theatre that I prefer.
Being born in Manchester, it must be lovely for you to return to your home town.
Yes it is. I have an aunt, a cousin Brenda and a cousin Ray in Manchester so I’ll be seeing them.
Along the way, you must have worked with many Mickeys, Edwards and Narrators, who have helped the musical gain strong critical acclaim, such as Best Musical in 1983. Are all actors trained in the same way?
No no, it is all different training. Each person brings different aspects to each character. Everybody is a joy to work with and often they are able to bring out the mothering instinct in me. You cannot copy- you must do what you feel is right for the part.
Whether newcomers or avid fans, why should people come and watch this latest tour of Blood Brothers?
I think because it is such wonderful entertainment! There are so many highs and lows. One minute you can be crying with laughter, and the next you can be crying with tears. In my eyes, Willy Russell can do no wrong. It is just so beautifully directed and produced.
Lyn Paul was speaking to Rebecca Cohen.
Blood Brothers returns to Manchester at the Opera House from 12 - 24 October. The show also visits Liverpool at the Empire from 12 - 24 April.
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