The bitter-sweet sound of Birdsong
Theatre Royal Plymouth from Monday to Saturday. Hall For Cornwall, Truro, May 7-11
It's hard to imagine a greater contrast between the frantic brashness of youth soap Hollyoaks and the intimacy and private emotions of Birdsong.
The screaming and door-slamming of the Channel 4 series and the unvoiced, aching loss felt in Sebastian Faulk's World War One story are linked by Sarah Jayne Dunn.
She spent 11 years on screen as would-be northern supermodel, Mandy.
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Now the soap histrionics are on hold as she plays Isabelle, a reserved Frenchwoman who seeks liberation from an abusive marriage, in the stage adaptation of the acclaimed novel. The steps between the two in Sarah's career have been taken via a series of theatre comedies.
"It's the most serious stage play I have done and a big challenge," says Sarah, who has tours of Boeing, Boeing and When Harry Met Sally on her theatre CV.
"The subject in Birdsong is very delicate."
The challenge could be said to work both ways. Audiences are presented with another soap star, Charlie G Hawkins (Darren Miller in EastEnders), who is making his stage debut, and Arthur Bostrom, a man previously best known for his ludicrous French accent in 'Allo 'Allo!, who plays Isabelle's husband.
The lead role of Stephen, the young Englishman with whom Isabelle has an affair, is played by newcomer Jonathan Smith.
That could be seen as clever casting: with more mature audiences familiar with the book and the BBC adaptation last year, something bold was needed to add fresh, young appeal.
Sarah has noticed a youthful influx at many venues on the tour, which calls at the Theatre Royal Plymouth next week and visits Truro in May.
"It is exciting for them to see Charlie on stage," says Sarah, 31.
"The reaction we are getting from audiences has been excellent. We've had some great reviews.