Actress Janet Maher prepares to join husband Steve Royle on stage for Dan Leno show at Lytham Hall
Janet Maher can draw on a rich seam of theatrical and personal experience when she joins the cast of ‘Naturally Insane, the life of Dan Leno’ at Lytham Hall this Friday.
Singer, dancer, Emmerdale and Cold Feet actor, Granada Studios Tour entertainer, Snow White and Aladdin in pantomimes at Preston’s Charter Theatre, qualified LAMDA Drama and
Singing teacher, Janet is also the wife of Lancashire comedian Steve Royle and mum to Daisy, Rosie, and Lucy.
Janet and the girls appeared with Steve as he gained national plaudits for his high-energy performance in the final of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ last autumn.
Now she is taking up the part of Nurse Kelly in the play about Victorian Musical Hall superstar Dan Leno which has husband Steve in the title role.
Blackpool writer David Slattery -Christy has been widely praised for his drama, set in Camberwell asylum, which recounts the tragic life and career of the troubled Dan Leno. The
production premiered as part of the Lytham Festival in 2018.
Janet, a Mancunian, is happy to face up to her demanding new role.
“It is going to be a challenge for me, especially as we are doing two performances on the same day at Lytham Hall
“I was at the show there in August 2019 and I saw then how much the four supporting actors have to be a foil to Steve’s high-energy performance as Dan Leno.”
There’s poignancy amidst the mayhem in a production in which Steve Royle produces every type of vocal and physical comedy, skills honed over almost two decades playing the lead
comic role, such as Buttons in Cinderella, at the annual pantomime at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.
“Mental health is a current and widespread issue throughout the world as the result of the pandemic,” said Janet, “and it is the mental health of Dan Leno which is at the centre of the play .
“The audience is asked to try to work out the reason for the mood swings shown by Dan Leno who cannot distinguish between his stage character and his real self.
“It’s a funny play but quite uncomfortable at times.”
Later in the year Janet and the cast are looking forward to a show case performance in London’s West End at the Criterion Theatre.
Before then Janet will await the verdict on her performance at Lytham Hall from critics Daisy, Rosie and Lucy.
This will be a special experience even for one of Lancashire’s most versatile entertainers.
Details of the performances at 2pm and 7.30pm on Friday and online bookings on the Lytham Hall website at ww.lythamhall.org.uk