Thursday, 28 August 2014

INTERVIEW: David Bedella & Sarah Ingram, soon to be starring in Sweeney Todd at the Twickenham Theatre

David Bedella is a triple award winner, named Best Actor in a Musical at the 2004 Olivier Awards, the Evening Standard Awards, and The Critics Circle Awards, for creating the role of the warm-up man Jonathan Weiruss/Satan in Jerry Springer The Opera. On television David most notably played Dr Carlos Fashola in Holby City. His other West End starring roles include Frank n Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, Billy Flynn in Chicago, and Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. In the past year he played Man 1 in the acclaimed production of Sondheim’s Putting It Together at St.James Theatre and Kevin in Into The Heights at Southwark Playhouse.

Sarah Ingram's extensive credits include Josie in TABOO (Brixton Club House), Miss Hannigan in Annie (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Roadshow (Menier Chocolate Factory), Hannah Owens in Flashdance (Shaftesbury Theatre), Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls (Kilworth Theatre, Leicester), Mrs Blair in Inherit the Wind (Old Vic), Ursula & u/s Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (Open Air Theatre), Sarah/Naomi in Imgine This (New London Theatre & Theatre Royal, Plymouth), Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain (Courtyard Theatre), Mrs O’Brien in Showboat  (Royal Albert Hall), Ado Annie in Oklahoma (Royal National Theatre & Lyceum Theatre) & Laurey in Oklahoma (UK Tour).

They will be playing Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd when it starts performances at the Twickenham Theatre

Are you excited to be taking on the roles of Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett? 

DB: I’ve always had a voice that sat in the basement, so Sweeney has been suggested to me since I was 14 years old. So, yes I’m very excited to be, at long last, playing the role. 

SI: Absolutely. It’s an absolute dream of a role that’s always been on my bucket list. I can’t wait.

What do you think is your biggest challenge going into these roles?

DB: The singing without a doubt. There is a lot of emotion in there. 

SI: Learning the bloody words!

Have you had any prior exposure to the piece?

DB: When I was seventeen I saw the US tour with George Hearn and Angela Landsbury at The Arie Crown Theatre in Chicago. I was so excited to see the show on stage that I practically exploded!

SI: I was very lucky to perform an extract from the show with Bryn Terfel at Sondheim’s 80th Birthday Prom. That man is like a wind machine. Incredible! 

Sarah: How is your Mrs. Lovett going to differ from the other portrayals of the role? 

SI: The bottom line is that I don’t really think about the role like that. It’s between me and Mrs. Lovett not me and Patti LuPone. The character will evolve due to the surroundings, the director’s vision, and everybody else’s portrayals. The joy of something that is so well written is that each time it is performed, it comes from a unique angle.

David, you’re no stranger to the role of Frank ’N’ Furter in Rocky Horror. What was it about that show/role that had you returning for more?

DB: It’s a bit like being a rock star. The doors fly open, you’re revealed to the audience and they go mad. That can be like a drug. You want to go back for it night after night after night.

Sweeney Todd, like Rocky Horror, has stood the test of time. What do you think makes them still relevant to audiences today?

DB: In both pieces the stories are so good. That’s a funny comparison to make considering they are polar opposites in style and genre, but I think it’s true.

Sarah, Recently you played Miss Hannigan in Annie, another very iconic role. Both considered villains! Do you prefer playing the meaner characters?

SI: Every actress does! Bearing in mind I was a character actress at the age of twelve, ingénue was never on my radar!

Your list of credits are huge! Are there any particular jobs that you have any special memories from?

SI: Definitely Miss Hannigan. Inherit the Wind at the Old Vic with Kevin Spacey was very special. My first Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing. The opening night of 42nd Street (when I was mere slip of a thing) was incredible. Nothing will ever beat the curtain going up that night. 

Are you taking any inspiration from anywhere to prepare for this role?

DB: Yes. I think it would be foolish not to glean the lessons learnt by my predecessors. Every person who’s played this role has contributed something amazing and I hope to use all of it in my interpretation!

SI: The piece is my inspiration!

Why should people come and see Sweeney Todd at the Twickenham Theatre?

DB: I think it will be more frightening in this setting than in most others. The show when done on a large-scale can be quite distant. In this production we will be in the laps of the audience and there will be no hiding! *Evil laugh*

SI: Because actually it’s being produced as a chamber piece which is how  it was written in the first place, and there’s something very beautiful about well homed claustrophobia! 

Have you got anything planned for after Sweeney Todd?

DB: Yes I will be playing my first Captain Hook. It’s a role I’ve wanted to do my whole life. He’s charming and funny and a great challenge. 

SI: Performance wise, typical actors answer. Waiting to hear, don’t want to jinx it!  Have three more productions I’m directing which continues to keep me away from a beach.

Sweeney Todd begins previews at Twickenham Theatre on 10th September and runs until 4 October.

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