Everyone creates their own rules for living. But what happens when an extended family gathers for a traditional Christmas dinner, and each of them rigidly follows those rules? Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living brings a bit of Christmas spirit this November to the Rose Theatre Kingston (fuelled by some other kinds of spirits!) As the drinks flow and the obligatory games intensify, family resentments rise and relationships are pulled apart with a bang. One thing’s for sure: Christmas day will never be the same again.
Directed by Simon Godwin, Rules for Living is a co-production by English Touring Theatre, Rose Theatre Kingston and Royal & Derngate Northampton. As the tour reaches its final stop, we caught up with Carlyss Peer who spoke to us about her character Carrie, working on Groundhog Day at the Old Vic, and her rules for living on tour.
How did you get into acting?
My mum sent me to Saturday theatre classes when I was about 8, because I was very shy and I loved it. It was how I spent my spare time from then on and I spent more and more time doing it before then deciding to audition for drama schools and try pursuing it professionally.
Do you prefer performing in musicals or plays?
I think it depends more on the individual project. I’ve done more plays than musicals, so it would look like plays win out but I loved Groundhog Day and would love to do another musical.
You originated the role of Rita in Groundhog Day at the Old Vic. How was that experience?
Amazing! It was my first professional musical and my first time at the Old Vic. I was surrounded by extraordinarily talented people and I was really excited to be involved. Slightly terrified too, but it was a good challenge to myself and I will never forget it.
Tell us a bit about Rules for Living, and your character Carrie.
Rules for Living is different to any other play I’ve ever done before. Fast. Funny. Chaotic. Carrie’s a young woman who’s desperate to impress her boyfriend’s family and tries hard to fit in, but not always successfully!
The Rose Theatre is the last stop on this tour. How do you find touring a production, and what challenges does this bring?
I really enjoy playing in different theatres and seeing different parts of the country too. When you’ve got a great cast and crew, like ours, it’s a pleasure, because whatever challenges arise, you’ve got good company to get you through!
And what can people expect from Rules for Living?
Laughter and the smell of a Christmas dinner! A good night out at the theatre! I think most people will recognise family members or friends in the characters that they see or maybe even themselves but that brings a lot of fun.
The characters have rules that they are living by that the audience can see.
Finally, what does a ‘traditional Christmas’ look like to you?
Family. Food. Family. Food and then some more food. We do often play a family game too, but not quite like the one in the play, thankfully!