Laura Hill has no intention of resting in peace. Her shortland street character Nurse Toni Warner may have breathed her last, but the actress is raring to go -to Palmerston North for starters, where she is rehearsing for the play [i]The Gods of Warm Beer[/i]
Leaving the soap after seven years was definitely sad, says Laura, who have given health concerns as on of her reason for quitting.
“Shortland Street’s been a big part of my professional life and a time of enormous change and growth for me – she says. “that has been great and, although I was ready to leave, it still was a passing of an era.”
Toni was Shortland Street’s party girl – until she fell pregnant with son Harry to the clinic’s Dr Love, Chris Warner (Michael Galvin) The solo mum went on to have a short-lived marriage to fellow nurse Matt McAllister before eventually weeding the philandering Dr Warner. It was the reappearance of Chris’ fun loving drug addict brother Guy (Craig Warner) which led her to fall from grace ad eventful death from Kidney failure. Laura admits some of the recent storylines meant Toni lost popularity with Viewers – but she has no regrets. “Doing bad stuff and being flawed, that really fun to do because playing someone who’s good all the time is kind of one note and boring.” she says. “certainly when Guy Warner came back on the scene and she started partying and doing drugs and stuff like that – that was the Toni that people saw when she first arrive on the show, that was her.
“it wasn’t out of her character her her but people can be very censorious about, “oh she’s a mother, she should be staying home at night”.
“I was like,’For God’s sake, friends of mine who have kids make sure the kids are safe with babysitter and then they go out and have a good time’ and I have no problem with that,” she adds. “But theres still this weird conservative thing that mum should stay home with the babies all the time but its alright for daddy Warner to go out and sleep with other people and get drunk.
However, she hopes fans with remember Toni fondly – and if past experience anything to go by, remember her they will.
“people can never really leave Shortland Street behind,” Laura says “Even some of the actor who’ve gone onto to work in Hollywood are still always referred to as former Shortland Streeters.
“I imagine I’ll be carrying that with me for quite a while and if people want to carry Toni in their hearts that would be nice.”
Meanwhile, she hasn’t given much thought to her future from the Palmerston North production and another stage job in Dunedin later in the year. Nor does she know what the writers have in store for Chris and Harry.
“It would be nice to think there would be floods of tears for months on end but that’s not going to happen, is it?’ Laura laughs.
“I imagine Chris Warner will fin someone to fill the empty bed pretty dam quick going on from past form. I think harry will be sadder for longer. I hope so.
“I don’t know what the writers have in store for them, I am not in the loop any more. I’ll just have to wait and see like everyone else.”