Best known for her iconic turn as Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s uptight sister Claire in ‘Fleabag’, Sian Clifford follows up her smash 2020 telly hit, ‘Quiz’, with ‘Good Grief’, a TV-theatre hybrid co-starring Nikesh Patel that’s launching this February, with tickets available to book via Time Out right now.
People know you for ‘Fleabag’ but you really served your time in the London theatre trenches, didn’t you?
‘Yeah, yeah: I’ve been a professional actor for 14 years, I would say I spent 12 of them in theatre. It’s really nice to be celebrated for “Fleabag” and to be a part of that world, but theatre is where it all began for me.’
What exactly is ‘Good Grief’? Is it a digital play, basically?
‘It’s neither film nor theatre; it’s a hybrid, that’s why it’s so thrilling to be part of it, something that’s so innovative and has been born entirely of this chaos.’
And regardless of genre, what’s it about?
‘It’s a two-hander by Lorien Haynes, an American writer, [performed by me and] the excellent and formidable Nikesh Patel. It’s sort of hard to articulate, but it’s really thrilling, a bit of a brain maze, structured around the stages of grief.’
As you say, you’ve famously been quite busy with other things recently – so why do a play? Or sort-of play?
‘I always said it would take a lot to get me back on stage, but Platform Presents [producers of “Good Grief”] had been doing amazing work over the past few years, [director] Natalie Abrahami’s attachment was really appealing, and the play blew me away, I absolutely tore through it, it made me weep. And I loved the idea of doing something radical and helping save our industry and to keep people engaged with the arts.
What’s the thing you’re looking forward to doing the most in London when this is all over?
‘Going to the cinema and going to the theatre: those are my happy places. The image I have saved on my phone is the outside of Picturehouse Central: it’s an aspiration to what we can return to, because normally I virtually live in that building. Getting back there – that’s my goal.’
‘Good Grief’ is online from Feb 15 2021. Tickets from £29 at www.timeout.com/goodgrief