Carly Bawden has Tea With Wilma, talking about starring in McQueen
For those who may not be familiar with your work, can you give me a little run down of some of your career highlights so far?
I recently played Squeaky Fromme in Jamie Lloyd’s Assassins at the Menier Chocolate factory. My other highlights include playing Eliza in Daniel Evans’s My Fair Lady at the Sheffield Crucible, working with Kneehigh Theatre Company in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Gielgud Theatre), Tristan and Yseult and Dead Dog In A Suitcase, and I’ve just finished working on a new Stephen Poliakoff drama for BBC 2.
You are about to play Dahlia in the West End transfer of McQueen. For anyone not familiar with the story, what is the show about and how does your character fit in?
It’s a celebration of the incredible mind of Alexander McQueen; Its brilliance and darkness. My character meets him after breaking in to his home to steal a dress. They end up going on a whirlwind journey together through London over the course of one night. The play takes you into the dreamscape world of his mind, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. What ensues on this journey is for the audience to find out!
Have any changes been made from the original production at St James Theatre or is it exactly as it was?
Although it was a quick rehearsal process the creative team and cast were very supportive of me having the freedom to find the role for myself, so hopefully I’ve brought something new to the table. There have been a few tweaks to the script here and there and of course with new company members comes a new dynamic to play with, but apart from that the play is still in its original glory.
Do you have any dream stage roles that you would like to have a go at playing?
Playing Eliza Doolittle was an incredible experience. There are some wonderful female roles out there, but I’m particularly excited by the thought of characters that haven’t yet been created.
If you could be the opposite sex for the day, which male theatre role would you like to play?
Sweeney Todd, Albert in War Horse, Moritz in Spring Awakening or Hedwig (Quite a few apparently!)
Have you ever had any funny/disastrous on-stage experiences?
So far I haven’t had any horrific disasters (I will now I’ve said that) but you can usually count on me for a bit of clumsiness. For Assassins we had these thick mud-filled puddles dotted around the stage. I was really giving it my all one night and dramatically walked to the side of the stage and squelched right in to one, wearing sandals. It went everywhere and I was slipping and sliding around trying to subtly get it off myself in a really quiet moment. Most of the cast saw me do it and I was pretty embarrassed. We also never left the stage during the show, so I did the whole performance with a clay foot. We wondered who was going to christen the puddles. Yep, it was me. My sandal also broke during a show and I had to discreetly limp off to get it taped to my foot quickly. Oh, and I fell off the rocking horse one night. Not ideal when you’re trying to be a bad ass Charles Manson cult member. The band were wetting themselves. The company were so fun and due to us being onstage all the time we always had front row seats for each other’s mishaps.
Why do you think people should come and see ‘McQueen’?
I don’t think the man himself ever liked it to be said, but it’s true; he was a genius. He had a mind and talent like no other. This play celebrates who he was, as Alexander the designer and as Lee the human being, and takes you on an adventure inspired by his work and talent. It is a chance to dive in to the world of McQueen and get lost in it for the evening and I’m so excited to be a part of it.
Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
McQueen is playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 7 November 2015. Click here for tickets