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Neighbours star Anne Charleston appears at Dartford's Orchard Theatre

PUBLISHED: 11:11 20 May 2011

The cast of Five Blue Haired Ladies, including Anne Charleston, best known as Madge from Neighbours, and 60's film star Shirley Anne Field

The cast of Five Blue Haired Ladies, including Anne Charleston, best known as Madge from Neighbours, and 60's film star Shirley Anne Field

Archant

Known to millions as Madge Bishop of cult Ozzy soap Neighbours, actress Anne Charleston joins an ­­all-star cast in bittersweet comedy Five Blue Haired Ladies Sitting on a Green Park Bench, playing at the Orchard next week.

“It is a double-edged sword,” says Anne of her lasting fame from the role, “Thank you, Madge, for giving me the ­opportunity to get to work on projects I would not otherwise have, but it was ten years since I left the show. I have done a lot in those ten years you know.”

Indeed she has.

One of her first stage roles following her exit from Neighbours, in a death scene still ranked by fans of the show as one of the most iconic in its history, was to tour Five Blue Haired Ladies in 2001-2 alongside fellow cast member and 60s film icon Shirley Anne Field.

“It was enormous fun. The rest of the cast this time round are new so Shirley and I feel like the veterans. We have remained in touch but it is great to be back together and getting re-acquainted with the character.”

Anne and Shirley are also joined by Lorraine Chase (Stephanie Stokes in Emmerdale), and singer Anita ­Harris, as the show focuses on five ladies on the edge of retirement, looking back on their loves and lives.

The Australian, who now lies in Galway, Ireland, plays Rose, a closet lesbian struggling to deal with her sexuality and the impact it had on her life.

“There are a lot of laughs, but each character also deals with some pretty serious ­issues, and there are a lot of sad moments too. It is beautifully written,” she said.

The show runs from ­Monday to Saturday and ­includes eight shows.

n To book tickets call 01322 220000

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