“We’re going to need a bigger boat.” It’s a phrase that applies equally well whether you’re hunting an angry shark or stuck on a tiny floating vessel with one other person and a host of awkward questions for company. The latter is the situation of the character played by Louisa Lytton in the European premiere of acclaimed drama The Gulf.
Lytton, a former star of EastEnders, The Bill and Strictly Come Dancing, is used to audiences of millions. In Audrey Cefaly’s two-person drama, she performs on a much more intimate stage at London’s Tristan Bates Theatre.
The story is one of lovers taking a fishing trip. With nothing to do but wait for a bite, they’re forced to confront the reality of their relationship. Louisa Lytton tells us more:
How would you describe The Gulf?
The Gulf is set in the Alabama Delta present day. It explores the daily struggles of a relationship that is clearly eroding.
How would you describe your character?
A woman of few words. A loner. Dark, brutish and volatile.
What made you want to do this show?
I have recently toured with Grease The Musical, so it’s nice to go back to a piece as real as this. My first love is theatre and this character is quite dark.
Why is it an important story to tell?
It’s a story most audience members will relate to. We are never taught how to deal with any relationship with another human in our life.
Has anything surprised you so far during rehearsals?
Every rehearsal experience is different. There are only two characters in this production, so we are managing to get a lot from our time and we are working quite intensely, which is fab.
How are you feeling about performing at the Tristan Bates Theatre?
Really excited as it’s the first time I’m performing there. Also performing in the round is always a great experience.
What was your first experience of theatre?
Performing was when I was 12 years old. I performed at the King’s Head Theatre playing young Joan Of Arc. My first experience would have been as a child seeing A Christmas Carol.
Why is watching a live performance so special?
There’s no better way to switch off and immerse yourself in something else.
What one piece of advice would you give aspiring performers?
Don’t do it! I’m joking. But always make sure you have another interest, or study as much as you can outside of the industry. Jobs are few and far between.
Apart from Tristan Bates Theatre, which is your favourite London theatre?
The Royal Court. I have never seen a show there which isn’t spellbinding. I’m hoping to perform there soon.
Which one other London show are you excited about at the moment?
Hamilton! It’s one of the greatest musicals I have seen. It’s a new, fresh way of portraying a huge historical story, and I am a huge fan.
Where is your favourite place to visit in London?
What’s your top tip for a trip to the theatre?
Go to as many [shows] as you can – dinners and other evening experiences can wait. You can never see too much theatre.