Deacon Blue star Lorraine McIntosh reveals her surprise at acting career as she prepares for new theatre role
Daily Record 24th May 2013

McINTOSH is set to star in the National Theatre of Scotland production of Scandic vamp drama Let The Right One In - 15 years after a big screen debut in My Name Is Joe.
Lorraine is appearing in the NTS production of "Let the right one in"

IN a cafe at the centre of old Govan Town Hall, Lorraine McIntosh is looking at a poster on the wall with a vague sense of disbelief. It bears the image of actor Peter Mullan, the names of director Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty. Upon closer inspection, the billing in smaller print is clear. It reads Peter Mullan, Louise Goodall, David McKay – and Lorraine McIntosh.

The award-winning 1998 film My Name Is Joe marked the then ex-Deacon Blue singer’s surprise debut as an actress, and the start of a chapter that some observers thought signalled the end of her career as a singer just four years after her multi-million selling band split up.

Fast forward 15 years and Lorraine, 49, is contemplating appearing for the first time on the main stage at T In The Park, with upcoming slots on the V Festivals line-up and a run out at Chris Evans’s Car Fest. All before the biggest UK tour her band will have done in almost 20 years, culminating in December with a Christmas gig at the Glasgow Hydro.

Yet next month Lorraine will embark on another journey in what has become the most unlikely of twin career paths – taking a key role in Glasgow’s superstar director John Tiffany’s last outing for the National Theatre of Scotland in their production of Scandic vamp drama Let The Right One In.

That’s two successful showbiz careers – not bad for someone who freely admits she didn’t have a strategy for even one.

“I never really had a plan, even to get into music,” said Lorraine, picking over a salad in Film City as the old Town Hall is now known. “I’ve been lucky. Really lucky. Looking at that poster, it’s the first thing I did. Acting has been a nice parallel running through my life since then. “I’ve not gone off and done mega things but what I have done has been really important and enjoyable to me. A real bonus in my life.”

The play sees her take the role of the mother of the central character Oscar, largely anonymous in the film adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel. It reunites her with Titanic actor Ewan Stewart, her co-star in NTS’s boxing play Beautiful Burnout, in which she also played a mother to a troubled young man. In Let The Right One In, she’s an alcoholic, again like her character Alice Henderson from her four-year stint in River City. If this is typecasting, she’s more than happy with the work.

“My character’s son is very alienated,” Lorraine said. “He’s getting bullied and she doesn’t really notice what’s going on in his life because she’s too wrapped up in her own. He falls in love with a vampire and she doesn’t notice.”

A mother to two teenage daughters and a 12-year-old boy with her husband and fellow band member Ricky Ross, Lorraine is in no doubt of the play’s teen-appeal.

“It has a cult following among young people. They’ll love it,” she said. “It’s a touching and poignant story about two young people who are alone but are drawn together with life-changing consequences. “It’s dark and violent. Quite shocking in places, with an undercurrent of menace.”

Lorraine has no formal acting training, other than occasionally birling around all floaty dresses and big boots for various Deacon Blue videos. In 1991, she also played herself in a TV adaptation of William McIlvanney’s short story Dreaming, in which a pre-Trainspotting Ewan Bremner dreamed about becoming a member of Deacon Blue.

But with three strong roles in National Theatre of Scotland plays, as well as a BBC soap, several shorts and indie flicks on her acting CV, she’s confident that she’s earned her stripes, despite the lack of a mention of Rada, RSAMD or otherwise.

She said: “I think you’d get found out pretty quick. In theatre circles, I’m sure some folk think, ‘What’s she doing there?’ “That doesn’t matter. But I can understand it. People train and worked for years, and I get why some might think that.”

Lorraine doubts whether her dual profile helps sell theatre tickets. “I don’t meet many people coming to see me in plays because they like the band,” she said. “A small number perhaps. But if they want to see the band, then they’ll generally wait until there’s a gig.”

On his recent solo album tour, husband Ricky jokingly referred to 2013 as Deacon Blue’s year of live music. Comeback album The Hipsters landed them a No1 on the indie chart and a Top 20 spot in the UK album chart – their first since 1994 – spawning four singles, each A-listed by Radio 2. Now there’s a rumour of a full European tour.

“It has been more successful than we expected in a lot of ways,” said Lorraine. “It does feel like we’re getting a second bite of the cherry. But when you spend a few years without it, you start to appreciate milestones a bit more. We are excited about playing T – honoured to be asked.”

A brief stint as the lone vocalist in Portishead-esque outfit Cub failed to fully form and she recorded a low-key country album with Ricky as McIntoshRoss in 2009.

This month, she appeared on stage in Stirling on her husband’s solo tour for a couple of songs.

“It was terrifying,” she said. “I sat down and a wee woman said to me, ‘You’re his wife, aren’t you?’ “I was sitting there thinking how much I hate being in the audience at his gigs in case people don’t like certain things. He doesn’t care. I don’t know how he does it when it’s that bare, just him and a piano. It’s so exposed.”

No doubt the feeling will be mutual when the family take their seats at the Dundee Rep but the McRoss clan should be in no doubt. Mum’s enjoying every minute.

“Both things really excite me,” said the singer who acts, the actress who sings. “What’s not to love? I go out with my band, my husband, my very good friends, performing a great new album I’ve made with them. “Acting is just something else I have to pinch myself over. I’m sitting here with these people thinking, ‘How the hell did I end up here?’” Paul English