Phyllis Logan On Her Return To The Stage After Downton Abbey

Popular local actress can be seen at Richmond Theatre in a Noel Coward comedy

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Phyllis Logan


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As housekeeper Mrs. Hughes in Downton Abbey, Phyllis Logan played a pivotal character as head of the 'downstairs’ staff in the hugely successful ITV series.

Long before Downton Abbey came along Phyllis was a very well established actor, with roles ranging from Lady Jane in Lovejoy, to a role in Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies. In 1983 she won two BAFTA awards for her role as Janie in Another Time, Another Place.

As well as her her prolific television and film work, Phyllis is no stranger to the stage. She has played Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare’s Richard III at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, and performed many times at the Hampstead Theatre.

And now she is treading the boards again in a revival of Present Laughter which plays at the Richmond Theatre from August 1st - August 6th. Noël Coward’s semi-autobiographical comedy, set in the glamorous world of theatre, is widely considered to be one of his best-loved works.

Phyllis as Mrs. Hughes

Phyllis plays the role of Monica Reed, long suffering secretary to self-obsessed actor Garry Essendine (Sam West). Directed by Stephen Unwin, the play is produced by Theatre Royal Bath Productions Ltd and has already played for over two weeks in the spa town.

It's a big change from the wigs and corsets of her Dowton screen character and Phyllis is enjoying her new role, although it means she has little time to relax at home in Chiswick with her family.

Being on tour with a production means constant travel, and she describes it as "being like a nomad, and only having one day at home to do the washing etc before being back on the road again." This compares to the short commute she had while on the set of the costume drama where most of the ‘downstairs’ scenes were shot in a specially-constructed Edwardian set at Ealing Studios.

The cast of Present Laughter

Phyllis described the run in Bath as "delightful" as she hadn't known the area well. The cast even had a 'works outing' on a river cruise.

Asked how the role of Monica Reed differed from that of Mrs. Hughes she says;"Well their life experiences are quite different. Monica has probably seen things that would make Mrs Hughes eyes water -or maybe not-she was quite liberal for her time!"

Present Laughter opens at Richmond Theatre on Monday 1 August until Saturday 6 August. Tickets are available from the box office on 0844 871 7651 .

July 23, 2016

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