Catherine Rice & Stephen Fletcher: Virtual Insanity
Actress and social club diva, Bev, is locked in quarantine in a little fishing village: Anfield, Liverpool 4.
On her tenth zoom meeting of the day, her fifth bottle of Prosecco, and tired of touching up her roots with her daughter’s sunflower yellow magic marker, Bev shares some exciting news with her quiz and TikTok obsessed Mum.
But as life in lockdown starts to hurt, almost as much as the elastic waistband on her sloggy knickers, Bev’s London agent, pays her an unwelcome and unexpected phone call from his luxury hideaway resort on the Isle of Mustique.
Will Bev still get her big break or, like social-distancing, is the elusive road to stardom too far out of reach?
Written by Catherine Rice and Stephen Fletcher, Virtual Insanity is a homemade, mini-short film, and off-shoot of their larger project called Making It; a Theatre and TV comedy drama about one working-class woman’s search for success.
At a time of soulless, fame-hungry reality TV, the character of Bev is a celebration of the true artists in this industry – the stayers, the fighters, the survivors.
About Catherine & Stephen
Catherine Rice, known as Cath, is a Liverpool-based actress, comedian and writer. She has performed in many theatre tours up and down the country, most recently starring in comedy Lost Soul at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre.
Cath has appeared in various television roles over the years, from Waterfront Beat for the BBC, Paramount Comedy’s Takeover TV, as well as Crimewatch, where she was eventually caught and served nine years. Cath has also shot numerous short films, as well as appearing in the feature, The Be all & End All, for Whatever Films.
Cath’s loves are performing comedy, watching comedy and writing comedy. It gives her an outlet to express what she sees around her, and a chance to use her talent in a variety of ways. She is at her best when creating roles from scratch.
Stephen Fletcher is an actor, writer, producer and director. Following graduation from The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and based in Liverpool, Stephen took part in many TV and theatre projects, including roles in productions in all of Liverpool Theatres, as well as work at The Donmar Warehouse, West End, The Old Vic, as part of their New Voices Company, UK Tours and at The National Theatre.
Stephen was heavily involved with Liverpool’s programme of events for the European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008, as well as becoming a cultural ambassador for the city. He has appeared on TV in a variety of roles, in Peter Kosminsky’s Britz and The Liverpool Nativity, as well as recurring roles in Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, Coronation Street and more.
He is also Producer of his own Theatre Production Company, Life In Theatre Productions. His aim was to produce good quality shows at affordable prices, giving work to local actors and practitioners. All his productions have been staged without funding, performed across five different theatres and site-specific venues throughout the city. To date, Life in Theatre shows have reached a combined audience of almost 50,000 people, largely due to his disco spoof musical, Mam! I’m ‘ere.
How they met
Back in 2012, Catherine was Executive Director of the Liverpool Actors Studio Theatre in the arts quarter of Liverpool. It was here that she first met Stephen.
Stephen was producing and directing a Broadway musical, The Last 5 Years. There was an immediate meeting of minds and they both knew that they should work on something together in the future. It took a few years until their paths crossed again when Stephen was working on a project which he knew Catherine would be suitable for. After one meeting, a character started to emerge and Our Bev was born. To make sure their instincts were right, they decided to post a short video across Facebook and Twitter, and in a space of three days it reached a peak of more than 10,000 views.
Since then, their show has been developed into a sell-out Christmas show, winning a Liverpool Echo Theatre Award for 2018, and has been turned into a two-hander play, to be staged at The Royal Court at some point in 2020.
Both Cath and Stephen believe that the time is right for a Liverpool sit-com, to give a voice to the funny characters we know and love, jobs to the talented people in the city, and to tell a story in a unique and authentically ‘Liverpool’ way.
Facebook: @LifeInTheatre / #ThisIsOurBev
RISE Together on BBC Radio Merseyside
Want to find out more about the RISE Together programme? Culture Liverpool’s Head of Arts & Participation and RISE curator, Alicia Smith, took part in the below BBC Radio Merseyside interview with Jermaine Foster. Just press play and skip to 51.50 to catch up now.