Love, Cats and... Bill Murray?

"Love, Cats and Bill Murray. I can't imagine this combination has been covered theatrically before and yet..."

Love, Cats and Bill Murray. I can't imagine this combination has been covered theatrically before and yet, these three topics are in the very fibres of our two solo shows, Lanky Olive and Broken Flowers. Combining moments of real drama and emotion with bizarre comedy, the two shows come from award-winning playwright and all-round wonderful human being, Kattreya Scheurer-Smith, as well as myself, a Soho Theatre Young Company alumni, Matthew Squance. 

As actors and writers that have been working closely together in one-act, two-actor shows, the time had come for us to look at exploring doing shows on our own, branching out and experimenting with our relationship on the stage. And yet, when we had both written our individual shows, there were themes that tied them both together and the prospect of performing them alongside each other in a single evening seemed like a no-brainer.

Both characters are driven by love, and yet in very different ways. Olive is the title character in Lanky Olive, a young woman whose bright optimism to find love with the man of her dreams (literally) lands her on a path of self-discovery in more ways than she could anticipate. Her unbridled positivity lands her in everywhere from a gym right up to a care home and in spite of her questionable choice to find him, there is a real sincerity to watching her find her own way. You don't have to stop doing something you've set out to do just because you're young, or naive, or because you haven't experienced something yet. And while she doesn't like the thought of dying alone without finding him, with a hundred cats surrounding her instead, there is an empowering statement made watching a young woman face the world and everyone telling her 'no, you're crazy', and allowing Olive the chance to navigate her own path and control her own destiny.

Roy on the other hand has a far less breezy outlook on the world. In Broken Flowers, he is a florist who feels the weight of his problems, made all the worse when after having a bad day at work, dealing with an aggressive neighbour and breaking up with his girlfriend, he is being forced to relive the same day over and over again. Taking a hint of inspiration from Groundhog Day (you see where that Bill Murray inspiration starts to claw it's way in!), Roy has to overcome some of his deepest fears, and learn how to be honest with himself and those around him in order to move on. Roy isn't particularly a likeable character at the start, which means it's a huge amount of fun to write and play on stage! I love playing with audience expectations, and the journey this character goes on is surprising and at times very personal. I wanted to craft something in the vein of Ricky Gervais - following in the footsteps of his brilliant Netflix show After Life - incredibly moving at times but not afraid to let the humour get dark in places, whilst putting my own twist on it. It's been one of the most challenging roles I've played and it's been great exploring the dynamics of a man going through the ultimate case of deja vu.

Bringing the vision together and tying the themes is Director Stephen Scheurer-Smith, who previously led Big Squirrel shows Uke Belong To Me and Flat 2b to award-winning success. It's been a great deal of work pulling off two solo shows, which take just as much time directing and rehearsing as one, but it has been huge amounts of fun, getting to enjoy each other's work and seeing the parallels in the characters and shows echo throughout.

Performed over five nights from Tuesday 28 May to Saturday 1 June at 7pm at the Corpus Playroom, Love, Cats and Bill Murray is a show of two halves, two worlds and two epic stories that cover everything from love, to cats and....well, even Bill Murray!

Book your tickets here!