“Helen Mirren has got style, she’s got a good attitude, intelligence, a sense of humour. She’s growing older and having fun.”

So says Josie Melia, the writer of What Would Helen Mirren Do?, a one-woman play starring Anita Parry as a supermarket cashier who takes the star of Prime Suspect and The Queen as her role model.

“I wanted to write something about an older woman,” says Josie. “Somebody who was 45-plus.

“Anita and I were just talking together and this idea came up about this character. We felt it certainly had something.”

The play revolves around cashier Susan, who is forced to choose a role model by an over-enthusiastic motivational trainer during a work seminar at the Academy Of Retail Learning in Wigan.

“Susan is not the sort of person who has a role model,” says Josie. “She’s never been self-reflective. But when she is pushed she comes up with Helen Mirren, and then she really begins to think about it. Thinking, ‘Would people treat Helen Mirren like this?’.”

The idea of a woman having a role model is not that uncommon, as Josie found out when she was leafleting the play during last weekend’s Fringe City.

“A lot of women volunteered their own role models to me,” she says. “Their role models were people like Isadora Duncan, Joanna Lumley and Meryl Streep, and Helen did get mentioned too.”

The play reunites Josie with Devon-based Anita, having first met on the 2000 Brighton Festival production Six Inches Of Travel, which Anita directed as part of the now defunct company Theatre And Beyond.

They last worked together as writer and director on a Digital Shorts Award- winning film Feis, which investigated the Irish heritage they both share. “What Would Helen Mirren Do? is about our shared northern background,” says Josie, who comes from Oldham.

“It is the first time I have worked with Anita as an actor, and it will be the first time the director Peter Ellis has directed his wife.”

This may not be the end of the story either.

“We had to cut out so much,” says Josie.

“I think the character could go from strength to strength.”

  • Starts 6pm, tickets £7.50/£6. Call 01273 709709.