Jeremy Irons sponsors play at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Bodies Star Neve Plays for Time.. ; Actress is Excited to Return to the Stage As She Admits Attitudestowards Age and the Recession Hit Profession

August 04, 2009

By Samantha Booth

SCOTS actress Neve McIntosh is only 37 but already she is all too aware of the difficulties of being an actress approaching 40.

The Bodies star is about to appear in Sylvia Plath play Three Women at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival, but she says she knows that attitudes towards age can make life incredibly difficult for actresses of her years.

That combined with the impact of the recession on the number of plays, TV shows and films being made means it has been a pretty quiet year for the Paisley-born lass.

But according to Neve, out-ofwork actors, actresses, producers and directors are once more beginning to get more creative out of necessity.

She said: “There is no doubt it has been a bit of a lean year.

“In fact, it has been quite hellish to be honest but thankfully theatre seems to be one area where people are still doing things.

“The one good thing about the recession is there are a lot of stories and ideas coming out of the woodwork and I am starting to talk to people about other projects, maybe even directing.

“I just think I have a camera and I’m quite bossy, so why not give it a shot?

“Besides, there’s no escaping from the fact that I am getting to that age where women don’t get cast as much.

“Even though there is quite a lot happening to try to change it, the fact is that once you are the wrong side of 40 you tend to drop off the face of the earth.”

Neve has appeared in a wide range of parts in film and television over the past 12 years including Plunkett & Macleane alongside Robert Carlyle and Johnny Lee Miller, TV mini-series Gormenghast and Sunday night favourite Doc Martin.

Just last year, she also starred in heartbreaking war film Spring 41 in which she was cast as the wife of a Polish doctor, played by Joseph Fiennes, forced to hide from the Nazis.

She is no stranger to theatre either, having appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Great Expectations at Stratford, and Portia in The Merchant of Venice.

So it is no wonder that the actress is excited about treading the boards once more, especially as she will be doing so in the city where she grew up.

Neve, who now lives in London, said: “Being back on stage is both scary and thrilling.

“One minute you think it is going to be great, then the next you think it is going to be terrible, but that’s all part of the excitement.

“My first night jitters are so bad I can’t even hold a tea cup but once I am over that I get really into it.

“What’s going to be nice for me too is being back home in Edinburgh, which is where I grew up, and also being back in the Fringe again.

“I haven’t done any Fringe shows since I was about 17. Then I performed with my youth theatre in a show where we all had this old- fashioned make-up on and giggled through our lines. I have been up to see shows but this is the first time I will be therefor the entire Fringe for years, which is great.”

Of course, Neve is also simply looking forward to performing in Sylvia Plath’s only play.

The production is sponsored by Dame Judi Dench, Jeremy Irons and Julie Walters.

It is the story of three diverse women exploring the complex joys and agonies of childbirth.

Neve’s character has tried to carry a baby to full term many times but has never managed to succeed.

The actress said: “I suppose I am the unhappy one in the play but there is far more to my character. That’s the beauty of Plath’s writing. She expresses all the anger and guilt my character feels so clearly it makes it easy to relate to her.

“Thankfully, I have never experienced a miscarriage but I have friends and family who have and I’ve talked to them about their feelings. But Plath’s work is just so astonishing it really does speak for itself.

“For me, too, it was quite a logical step on from Bodies because it has to do with the whole life cycle and everything a woman stands for.”

The play, which is directed by Robert Shaw, has had rave reviews elsewhere in the country, which adds to Neve’s nerves.

She said: “The play is beautiful and will make you laugh and cry, but it is pretty daunting to do something which has gone down so well before.

“All you can do is put that all out of your mind and concentrate on doing as good a job as you can.

“I tend to do yoga before I go on stage so that keeps me nice and calm.”

Neve is in Sylvia Plath’s Three Women at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh from August 6 – 31.

(c) 2009 Daily Record; Glasgow (UK). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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Jeremy Irons and the Academy of Achievement: International Summit 2009

Click here for the complete newsletter for the Academy of Achievement: International Summit 2009 in South Africa

Jeremy Irons helps feed toddlers on the visit to Baphumelele Children's Home.

Jeremy Irons helps feed toddlers on the visit to Baphumelele Children's Home.