Elaine likes to be by the Seaside

THERE are actors who will think Elaine C Smith has finally lost the plot when they hear of her ­latest venture.

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Elaine is touring coastal venues
Elaine is touring coastal venues

Rather than, as billed, reprise her role as Susan Boyle in the hit theatre show that packed out the King's Theatre earlier this year, Elaine is taking off on a tour of seaside resorts.

Rather than stand on stage in front of 2000 people each night, and take the standing ovations she (rightly) took for her perfomance as Subo, Elaine will be performing for a few hundred fans at the likes of the Beacon Theatre in Greenock.

"It may seem an odd choice," says Elaine, offering a wry smile, "but I've really had enough of the Susan Boyle show.

"It was such hard work and when the Australian tour was cancelled at the beginning of this year I felt more relief than anything else. Not going to Australia was a blessing in disguise."

The Subo show had proved to

be exhausting. But then she had

to decide what to do next.

The actress, who has been attending a read-through of the news Rab C Nesbitt special this week, decided she wanted to get back on stage.

And she had always harboured the dream of touring Scotland's little theatres on the coast.

"People have been saying to me

I should go up for Live At The Apollo but I really don't want to compete in that world," she said.

"I really want to work in the halls I can enjoy, and meet people in the process."

The seagulls and sand tour will be filmed for an STV series, to be transmitted next year.

"The idea is that each episode will look at a different town, and each will begin in the local hairdressers, because hairdressers know all the local gossip," she adds, grinning.

Elaine's Connolly-esque tour looks to be a ratings winner.

"It will be fun, I do know that," she says.

"And you know me, I love talking to people. I've never found that ­difficult."

Elaine is never short of material to talk about on stage. And she's a natural comedian.

"Yes, but it's taken me a while to become natural," she says, laughing.

"When I look back at some of my earlier videos, I can't believe what I was doing. I find myself shouting at the telly.

"But in the passing years I've learned it's so much about timing. And having the confidence not to shout out each story.

"I haven't done stand-up for 10 years, so I reckoned it was time," she says, grinning.

"And of course, it's easier to get up on stage and be someone else - being yourself and entertaining people is the most difficult.

"And you feel really vulnerable. But then, audiences, especially women, respond to this. You've got to get your ego out of the way and go up and do it."

She, acknowledges her audience is mostly made up of females.

"I get taxi drivers telling me this all the time. But there's an answer to this; it's women who go to theatre in general," she said.

"The men are dragged along. And so when people say I attract an audience of women I take it as a compliment.

"And I like to think I talk about subjects women can identify with."

"Things such as weight, looks, issues I've observed and absorbed. And how, for example, women can be incredibly critical of other women."

Elaine breaks into a laugh.

"My mother, for example, used to sit and watch Lorraine Kelly and say to the telly; 'Lorraine, hen, whit are you wearing this morning.'

And this was coming from Miss World sitting on the couch with only the bottom set of her teeth in.

"So I go into this routine about why women do this to each other, about the competition we have with each other," she said.

Elaine admits the applause is so much sweeter when it comes from a solo performance rather than being part of a large theatre show.

"Of course, it's easier to get up on stage and be someone else - being yourself is the most difficult," she said.

"And when you're on your own you feel really vulnerable."

Yet, Elaine believes it's not a bad thing to reveal that vulnerability.

"It's not, because audiences, especially women, respond to this. They want to believe you're as human as they are. So you've got to get your ego out of the way."

n Elaine C Smith, Fringe By The Sea; The Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock, August 22, the Corran Halls, Oban, August 29, The Pavilion, Rothesay, September 5, the Queens Hall, Dunoon, September 7 and the Victoria Halls. Helensburgh, September 12.

n Elaine as Susan Boyle

I haven't done

stand-up for 10 years, so I reckoned

it was time

Arts and Entertainment

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