Amy chats with Joanna Van Kampen, who is currently starring in Alan Ayckbourn’s classic comedy How The Other Half Loves which is on now at Salisbury Playhouse.

Hi Joanna, how are rehearsals going? 

Well, I’m hesitant to say this but we are laughing ALOT. The writing is incredibly funny, and I just hope we’re not enjoying ourselves too much…I hope the audiences enjoy it as much as we are!

What attracted you to the production, How The Other Half Loves?

I’ve never done an Alan Aykbourn play before. The prospect of tackling a technical, prop heavy, rhythm and language-precise-play; with a core of emotional depth; which should then also be funny….was a pretty satisfying challenge to take on!

You play Teresa, can you tell us about the role?

She’s honest. I think she’s one of the most straight-up characters in the play. She’s damaged, overwhelmed by her current circumstances as a new-ish mother and wife, and lost as to what her purpose in life is. She’s also good fun, and wants to connect and love, although she doesn’t really know how.

For anyone that doesn’t know the story can you give us a brief synopsis?

There are two couples: Frank and Fiona, and Bob and Teresa. Fiona and Bob have both been out late the night before, and Frank and Teresa are trying to find out where they were. Bob and Fiona both use an alibi involving another couple: William and Mary. They get dragged into it, and chaos ensues…

You’ve starred in some incredible shows during your career, do you have any highlights?

Working with Timberlake Wertenbaker at the Salisbury Playhouse was certainly one of them. Such a wonderful playwright, and to have her in the rehearsal room was a real honour. Also, working with Mike Alfreds (the director) at the RSC. He’s one of those people who change your whole perspective on acting.

Do you have any advice for budding actors?

There’s so much I could say, but one important thing is to try to work on becoming really self-aware. To work on yourself as a person. So many of the things that will hold you back in your career are subconscious blocks- so try to bring them into your consciousness. And because it really is about you, and whether people want to be around you for the length of a job, it matters that you have that self-awareness.

And finally, why should people book a ticket to How the Other Half Loves?

Because it is SO funny! The lines are golden and hopefully the performances will be too. It’s a genius farce, which, when it works, is like watching a dance. 


How The Other Half Loves is on at Salisbury Playhouse from the 9th February to the 4th March 2023.


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