Baby love inspires new role for Claire Sweeney

Claire Sweeney.
Claire Sweeney.

Claire Sweeney was about to go on tour with her new show when she discovered she was pregnant.

The Liverpool actress says having her baby son Jaxon is the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

And she’s been so inspired by motherhood, she’s even written her experiences into the show, which comes to the Lancaster Grand next Thursday (April 2).

‘Sex in Suburbia’ is all about dating disasters - the eternal subject of love and romance.

“The idea came from all the appallingly bad dates my friends and I have ever experienced,” said Claire, 43.

“We’d tell each other what had happened and get over the horror of the experiences by laughing about them.

“Then, about two years ago, my close friend Mandy Muden and I started writing them all down in my front room with the notion of turning them into a comedy. At first we weren’t even sure if we were funny! But the play went down a storm with the audiences last year when it first opened in Liverpool.”

Claire, famed for playing Lindsey Corkhill in the Channel 4 soap Brookside, plays herself - a working mum with a baby. “Jaxon, who was born in September, has changed my outlook on life around.

“As a result, I’ve injected my own personal experiences of motherhood into the show.”

Claire went back to work just seven weeks after Jaxon was born, starring in Aladdin in panto in Liverpool.

“It was hard at first and Jaxon probably wants to know why he’s no longer being breastfed by a genie,” she said.

“I was playing the genie in Aladdin, wearing fabulous sparkly purple costume, and used to feed Jaxon in the interval.

“He seemed to love the music, the magical surroundings and all my theatre friends who’d help me look after him.

“Some people said ‘You should take time out and stay at home with your baby’ but I’m a working mum who has bills to pay so going back to work so early wasn’t a case of getting my life back and getting back on stage - it’s what I do and I believe it’s possible to combine both successfully and so far so good.”

The new show includes big musical anthems such as I’m Every Woman, I Want To Break Free and, of course, I Will Survive. But Claire says it will also appeal to men.

“There are elements of the show that men can definitely relate to. One of them involves a bloke whose wife is pulling out all the stops – the lingerie and what have you - to seduce him when all he wants to do is watch the footie.

“Another bloke told us how he went on a date with this gorgeous girl, but when she took him around her house for a cup of tea he was horrified to realise that he’d taken her mother out the week before!”

As for Claire’s ideal date, she admits to having a guilty pleasure for tough guy actor Ray Winstone.

“I’ve never met him but he seems to get more and more fabulous as he gets older.

“He’s such a geezer, the type of bloke who’d look after you. A night out at the theatre followed by a slap-up meal would be perfect. Food and the theatre are my two favourite things.”

The show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £20, available by calling 01524 64695 or visit the Grand Theatre box office during opening hours.