Oh baby, what a laugh

Helen Rutter with son lenny
Helen Rutter with son lenny

PREGNANT mum and professional actress Helen Rutter is putting on a daytime comedy show to bring a little light relief into the lives of mothers with young babies.

Gas and Hot Air, to be performed at The Greystones pub once a week throughout June and September, will attempt to draw out the funny side of pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood.

“Babies under one are welcome with open arms as long as they can’t move much and don’t mind a bit of fruity language,” says Helen, who lives at Hathersage.

It is based on her experience of childbirth first time round – “written over breastfeeding, sleepless nights and copious amounts of weight watchers cake.”

She explains: “My son Lenny is three now but I remember when he was really little I found myself in all these classes. Things like a singing group aimed at babies and most of them were five weeks old and far too young. I realised there was so little for mothers at a time when they are desperate for something that feels normal and adult.”

It also provided a shared experience of a time “when your emotions are all over the place and you can feel extremely vulnerable” but at the same time there’s a lot that’s funny.

“I was living in London and it started as a double act with a girl over the road who was also an actress but when I moved up here a year ago there was no one to do it with so I had to adapt it to a one-woman show,” continues Helen, 31.

“It’s taken a year for me to get it together but I decided with another one due in November I have got to do it now.

“It’s slightly different from the first show. It’s me talking for 45 minutes and there are characters in it but it’s a bit more like a stand-up show though I am an actress, not a stand-up.”

If she needed comic inspiration she didn’t have far to go, however, since Lenny’s dad is comedian Rob Rouse from The Friday Night Project and 8 Out of 10 Cats.

Helen grew up in Sheffield and went to King Edward VII School before studying drama and moving to London for an acting career. Screen credits include Amanda, Wire in the Blood. Hannah, Holby City and on stage she was in Playing with Fire at The National Theatre and A Taste of Honey at York Theatre Royal.

Last year she and Rob decided to move back up north and settled in Hathersage.

Gas and Hot Air will take place at The Greystones, Greystones Road, every Tuesday in June and September at 1.30pm.