Q&A: Nick Barber and Elsie Bennett (LUV, Park Theatre)


Murray Schisgal’s 1964 play LUV, is to be revived by the Buckland Theatre Company at the Park Theatre next month.

The original New York cast was comprised of Alan Arkin, Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson and the play won three Tony Awards whilst being nominated for Best Play and Best Author of a Play. It centres around two school pals, Harry and Milt who reunite and discover each other are living unhappy lives. They hatch a plan to find their happily-ever-afters, going to extreme lengths to find love.

Nick Barber and Elsie Bennett play the two leads, Milt and Ellen, and we caught up with them to find out a little more about this light-hearted, riotous play.

  1. Describe LUV in three words.

Elsie Bennett: Hilarious, Smart, engaging.

Nick Barber: Crazy, sexy, funny.

  1. Tell me about the characters you play?

EB: Ellen – she is a woman who struggling to find balance in her life. Well educated and sharp as a razor!

NB: Milt Manville is a driven, positive guy and a very good salesman. He could actually sell ice to an Eskimo.

  1. How familiar were you with the show?

EB: I hadn’t heard of the play before Gary sent it to me. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I read it in one sitting and adored it!

NB: Not familiar at all. Like a lot of people, I’d never heard of it.

  1. Last production you saw at the theatre?

EB: One Night in Miami at the Donmar Warehouse

NB: Lawrence After Arabia at Hampstead Theatre.

  1. What has been your career highlight so far?

EB: Working with Joanna Lumley. She is wonderful!

NB: Singling out one highlight is too hard. Thinking about this question has helped me to realise I’ve had a pretty varied career, and that’s great – it’s all I could ask for.

  1. What are your 3 dressing room must haves?

EB: Herbal tea, music and a good atmosphere!

NB: Honey & Lemon Linctus, water and a fresh towel

  1. What do you normally do on your day off?

EB: I usually go to the Southbank food market then walk across into Soho. The day must be filled with plenty of coffee and a film or show.

NB:  Spend time with my family.

  1. Who’s your hero?

EB: I don’t have one particular hero but I have several people who give me inspiration. Cate Blanchett, Joanna Lumley, Judi Dench, Tom Hanks… the list goes on…

NB: Sad to say, I don’t have one. Generally speaking I admire anyone who is true to themselves.

  1. Who would you most like to work with?

EB: Baz Lurhman. And Ken Loach. And Tom Hanks. And Judi Dench… the list goes on…

NB:  Werner Herzog. But I’d probably go mad.

  1. Best place for a post-show night cap?

EB: Experimental Cocktail Club or The Blind Pig.

NB: The sofa in my living room.

  1. Theatre you’d most like to be locked in overnight?

EB: I think I’d be too scared to stay in any! Ha – wimp!

NB: Theatre Royal Drury Lane

  1. What’s next for you?

EB: Who knows! I’ve had a busy and varied year with regards to work… theatre, voice over, even motion capture – so I’m open to whatever experience comes next!

NB: Directing ‘The Muse’ for Palimpsest Theatre Company at Leighton House in March 2017

LUV runs 8th December until 7th January at the Park Theatre


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