Theatre Interview: Lindzi Germain, The Wizard Of Oz, Epstein Theatre

Yesterday, ahead of The Wizard Of Oz coming to the Epstein Theatre, we brought you an exclusive interview with Sean Smith, who plays The Tin Man. Today, we shine the spotlight on Lindzi Germain, a highly-experienced performer with a range of talents. She’ll be playing the role of The Lion, and as she explains, both the part and the show as a whole are perfect for her. Lindzi also discusses her career, her current work with teaching Drama to the stars of tomorrow, and amusing occasions when the cast divert a little from the script …

First of all, tell us about your character in The Wizard Of Oz.

I play The Lion, or The Lioness, this year. I’m really excited and really looking forward to it.

Are you a big fan of the movie?

Oh, I love it! Love it! I’ve loved it since I was a kid. I’ve grown up having watched it since I was a little girl with my dad. It’s my dad’s favourite film. He won’t go to see Wicked because Dorothy doesn’t get a good rapport in that film! I went to see it and I said to my dad “Don’t go to see Wicked, you’ll hate it!” But this is his favourite film. I was asked about doing The Wizard Of Oz, and I said “okay, I could be the Wicked Witch!” Then they asked if I could play The Lion, and I was like “Great, it’s my dad’s favourite character.” So, this one is for my dad!

You’ve been a part of many great theatre productions down the years. What would you consider to be your highlights on the stage?

I would have to say The Royal at Royal Court as I wrote that show with Angela Sims. That was our first show; we’ve got another one that we’ve just finished writing. I’m writing all the time, but The Royal was the first project that I wrote, and it was a great success; it’s coming back next year. So, that and You’ll Never Walk Alone, because (in that show) I get to do highs and lows, and to show off my skills as an actor, from emotional scenes to funny scenes; I get to sing and dance as well. So, that is a good one as well. There was also Reds & Blues: The Musical, which kinda got my name on the map. Everywhere I go, I’m asked “are you Gladys from Reds & Blues?” Especially kids in the schools; I teach a lot, so when I go in to teach them GCSE Drama, they’ll ask “You were in that film, weren’t you?” Seeing an actor coming in is better than a teacher, and we have a laugh; I make them bring me sweets as well (Laughs). We have a great rapport! If you work hard, I’ll bring sweets! (Laughs)

I understand there is a big project in the pipeline for you?

Yeah, I’m filming for a drama for Channel 5 which is coming out in the spring, so pretty soon. I can’t say too much about it, but I’ve loved every minute of it, and hopefully it’s gonna be a long-running drama series.

You mentioned that you regularly teach Drama in schools; how rewarding is this for you?

I love it. I have my own dance school up in Netherley, and I also teach special needs adults on a Thursday. That is one of the most fulfilling jobs that I have. I’ve got many strings to my bow, which you have to as an actor because the acting isn’t always there. You’ve got to graft and keep things going. Teaching them is most rewarding; we do two shows a year, and this year we’ll be doing Oliver. Seeing them on stage is like putting my babies on stage; I’d sooner say “I’ll do it, it’ll be fine”, but putting them on stage is the most nerve-wracking thing. You’ll find me at the back of the auditorium walking up and down panicking, thinking “Please, let them be alright!” And they love it, so I don’t know why I worry!

Some of the best moments in the theatre are when the cast go a bit off-script and begin ad-libbing. Are there any particularly funny instances that you have found yourself in where the cast have changed course, so to speak?

There are so many. Working with the likes of Andrew Schofield, Mickey Starke and Keddy Sutton, you’ve had it because they’re so funny. You tend to bed the shows in, and once they’re bedded in, usually around two weeks after press night, that’s when we get complacent, which is where the trouble starts. At that point, I can’t make eye contact with Drew, because once you do, that’s it; he’s got you completely, almost like a spell! Keddy does funny little faces; she can be a clown, and I absolutely adore the woman. But she makes me laugh so much if I watch her. It tends to be the moments where they’ve caught you off-guard, and once I’ve gone, I can’t get back from corpsing! It’s great fun.

Finally, why should the Liverpool audience come to see The Wizard Of Oz?

Because it’s a family show and it’s full of fun. There’s lots of friends and family there, and that’s the atmosphere at the Epstein Theatre, as well as the atmosphere on the stage. We’re all friends and we’re so close, and we want to take you on your journey. It’s the most wonderful story ever to be told in my opinion. In my household, the best story is of Dorothy and The Wizard Of Oz. You need to bring the kids; they don’t play with toys now because they’d sooner watch things on YouTube which is ridiculous. So you need to bring the kids to see a proper show and get them to watch The Wizard Of Oz. Come and see us, and don’t forget that The Lion is the best! (Laughs)

The Wizard Of Oz runs at the Epstein Theatre from Thursday April 11 to Monday April 22. To book your tickets, click here.