Polly Peachum (Lisa O’Reynolds-Reilly) wants to escape her gritty seaside hometown. Caught up like a fish in a net, her prominent family has kept her entangled in a life that she’s ready to leave behind. She believes that her recent marriage to Macheath (Liz Wilkinson) will finally set her free, but destiny has other plans for Polly.

The Electric Sunshine Project’s latest production follows Polly’s predicament using dark comedy and high energy musical numbers. Tackling sociopolitical themes that resonate now more than ever, Dead Dog in a Suitcase is on this week and is a show not to be missed.

Blackpool Social Club chatted to Reynolds-O’Reilly to hear more about her upcoming performances.

Dead Dog in a Suitcase. What’s that all about?
Well , believe it or not, without ruining anything, part of it is actually about a dead dog in a suitcase. The title is based on an old Urban Legend. Let’s just say we have a lot of fun with suitcase hijinks. On a deeper level, the play is about greed, corruption, and betrayal. We all are massive fans of dogs.

Tell us a bit about your character, what makes them tick?
I play Polly Peachum and she is very much driven by love, beauty and hope. An eternal optimist, she always tries to see the good in people and hates vulgarity or injustice. She’s very much at odds with the world around her.

You’ve been working on this production since the beginning of the year, how have you developed your character throughout rehearsals?
We had a lovely conversation with Carl Grose who wrote DDIAS which was based on The Beggar’s Opera, and he really helped us understand the characters and key moments throughout the play. Once we got into the rehearsal room, we played with various ways of embodying our characters. I wanted to track Polly’s journey from the beginning of the play to the end, playing with movement and different character dynamics in the play to really ‘find Polly’. The costumes and props are a big part of this too and Janine Walker has gone out of her way to design and make them for us and help bring this to life.

Inspired by a play from 1728 and rewritten for 2014 how will Dead Dog resonate with audiences in 2023?
I think it resonates so much in every year because it’s about very human emotions – love, desperation and greed. It seems very significant in 2023 as characters are struggling in a broken, unfair world and there is such a sense of desperation and annoyance at the injustice that will strike a chord with anyone today.

Why is it important to bring theatre like this to Blackpool?
It gets people talking and it’s really important the people of Blackpool have access to community theatre. It brings people together, provides a safe space to feel these emotions and raises some really interesting topics of discussion.

Does The Electric Sunshine project’s community production of Dead Dog provide anything new to the narrative?
Without spoiling anything, we’ve had a lot of fun staying true to the script but putting our own creative choices in.

Finally, why should people come to see DDIAS?
It’s hilarious, dark, creative, thought-provoking and just a barrel of fun. From musical numbers, great quotes and just the right hint of debauchery, you don’t want to miss out.

Read our preview of Dead Dog in a Suitcase here, and Q&As with other cast members here.

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