The IT Crowd actor on losing things, the lure of Shakespeare, and starring in a stage version of 70s sitcom The Good Life
London-born Katherine Parkinson, 41, studied classics at Oxford University and acting at Lamda in London. She played Jen in the sitcom The IT Crowd, for which role she won a Bafta. Other TV credits include Doc Martin, The Honourable Woman, Humans and Defending the Guilty. She now stars in EV Crowe’s new play Shoe Lady at the Royal Court in London and will soon appear as Barbara Good in the stage revival of sitcom The Good Life in Bristol.
What’s Shoe Lady, about?
It’s a brilliant piece of writing by Emma Crowe that’s impressionistic and poetic – which probably makes it sound incredibly worthy but it’s really funny. Essentially, it’s about an estate agent who loses her shoe on the way to work and everything escalates from there because she can’t seem to fit into the world any more. It’s about how close we all are to the edge and the surprising fragility of things the middle classes take for granted.
Are you close to the edge yourself?
Oh my God, I’m over the edge. No, it did resonate. I’ve done lots of theatre lately and wasn’t especially looking to do more but I couldn’t resist this because it was so unique. Sometimes theatre can be poverty porn – plays about the working class being watched by the middle class, which feels uncomfortable and touristy – whereas this feels like a truthful piece of writing about somebody’s particular circumstances [ . . . ]