TWO days before Louise McCarthy was due to give birth, the actor filmed scenes for an upcoming episode of BBC comedy Scot Squad.

And four days after her son Danny was born she was back filming. A few weeks later the Maryhill-born actor was at it again.

Why? A desperate need to perform?

Louise, who is also one half of cult comedy duo The Dolls with Gayle Telfer-Stevens, offers a wry grin; “No, it’s more about not wanting directors to forget about you. You don’t want to be seen as someone who has gone away to have babies.

“As a woman, there is always a danger people will assume that.”

Louise adds; “And I just like working. I love to work with a range of good people and I’ve always wanted to be a jobbing actor.”

The Maryhill-born actor took dancing lessons as a child and joined a local drama club as a teenager.

Now Louise is back on stage for the first time since her son was born five months ago. She’s appearing at the Tron in The Alchemist, Gary McNair’s adaptation of Ben Jonson’s Jacobean farce.

The story sees a couple of confidence tricksters fleece gullible victims of their cash, charming the rich and foolish with fantastical tales of fairy queens and their ability to turn base metal into gold.

But as the pots of cash start rolling in, it all begins to go very horribly wrong.

“It’s set in rhyming couplets and Gary has done a great job with it,” she says.

“My character, the working class Jeanie meets a guy round the back of Café India and he says he’s an alchemist.

“He duped her husband – who is now in jail – and she recruits the alchemist to get the husband out of jail.

“But we get caught up in a mad world of conning people.”

Is there a moral to the story? “I’m not sure,” she says, grinning. “It could be that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

“But what we do know is that it doesn’t matter. It’s a farce-for-farce sake. It’s a funny story and the idea of it is to give an audience a good night. And aren’t people craving this at the moment.”

Louise was delighted to be asked to appear in the production by director Andy Arnold.

She smiles; “I said ‘My only condition in coming back to work is so long as I can get away on time on Tuesdays and Thursdays to pick up Danny from nursery.

“Andy, said, ‘Yes, of course’.”

Louise admits it’s great to have the profile that Scot Squad offers. But it’s also important to work in a range of the theatre. “The Dolls is a bit risqué”, she says, smiling.

“As an actor I want to explore what it’s like to be different people. And everybody is typecast to a certain extent.

“If all I did was to play a Doll, then that’s what I’d be seen as and I think it’s important I’m not.

“I want to have longevity in the business. That’s what it’s all about.”

She has appeared in a Shakespeare play, a Bard In The Botanics production.

“Usually I’m playing a servant. But at some point I would like to get into a posh frock.”

The role in the Alchemist is of a working class woman. But it allows for Louise to reveal her comedy bent.

“That’s true. But it’s way different, for example, from the character I played in my first serious dramatic role, Men Should Weep.

“And I love the mix acting can offer. I had a great time in the likes of the revival of John Byrne’s Cuttin’ A Rug.”

At Christmas, the actor is set to play Magrit in The Steamie, running at the SEC Hydro, a role once occupied by her stage idol, Dorothy Paul.

The Steamie has played a pivotal role in Maryhill-born Louise’s life.

“I learned a piece from the Steamie, Isn’t It Wonderful, to get into my local drama club,” she says.

“And I I have auditioned for the Steamie twice in the past and never got in.

“In fact, this was the show that made me want to become an actor. Dorothy Paul was amazing. And she came across as being like so many people I’d met in my life.”

She adds, in delighted voice; “I’d gone up for the role of Doreen before. And now I’m a Magrit, which I think is me.”

Louise is appearing alongside her Dolls partner Gayle Telfer-Stevens. “It’s great because we’ve got a real shorthand between us.

“But what’s really fantastic is we’ve only got five shows over the Christmas period, rather than the 64 you do with a panto.

“It’s a bit more manageable when you have a wee boy.”

The Alchemist, also stars Jo Freer, Stephen Clyde, Robbie Jack and Neshla Caplan. The Tron Theatre,