ROMANTIC comedy 1950s style hits the main house stage of Salisbury Playhouse next week with a revival of George Axelrod’s play, The Seven Year Itch.

The play was immortalised in the Hollywood film starring Marilyn Monroe as The Girl. Playing The Girl in the Playhouse production is Verity Rushworth who started her acting career at the age of 12 as Donna Windsor in the television soap, Emmerdale, a role she kept for nearly 11 years, before moving into musical theatre where her roles have included a nine-month tour as Maria in The Sound of Music opposite Jason Donovan and most recently starring in Annie at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

I caught up with Rushworth during a break in rehearsals at the Playhouse and asked if audiences would see any similarities with the film: “The play is quite different to the film because when the film was released, it was rare to see adultery in a comedy and the play is a bit juicier and a bit naughtier than the film, ” she said.

Set in a New York summer in 1952, an unexpected encounter with the young woman staying on the floor above sets publishing executive Richard (played by Gyuri Sarossy) on a re-evaluation of married life.

Rushworth, from Yorkshire, has no plans to try to emulate Monroe in one of her best known roles.

“I am making the part my own but there will be a nod to Marilyn, who played a ditsy blonde. I shall not be going to have statement blonde hair for a start.”

In The Seven Year Itch she has to play not one girl but several: “I have lots of quick costume and accent changes. I have to be a French girl then back to an American accent, but practice makes perfect and we have a brilliant dialect coach.”

The young actress trained in musical theatre and dance and also sings, but she was keen to do a stage acting role: “I am still learning my craft and this was the perfect opportunity of doing a straight play. I have an absolute passion for comedy and this part was perfect timing for me. It is a play for everyone of all ages to enjoy.”

Directing The Seven Year Itch is Blanche McIntyre, making her Playhouse debut. McIntyre recently won the Critics’ Circle 2012 Award for most promising newcomer for her productions of Accolade and Foxfinder at the Finborough Theatre.

The production also sees a return to Salisbury for Hattie Ladbury who plays Richard’s wife. Hattie began her acting career with Stage ’65 youth theatre company while she was a pupil at South Wilts School and has appeared in several Playhouse productions including The Winslow Boy and The Game of Love and Chance.

* Tickets for The Seven Year Itch are available from the box office on 01722 320333.