Wendi Peters has Tea With Wilma
You are probably best known for playing Cilla Battersby-Brown in Coronation Street, which you did for four years. You have also been in some great theatrical production like Into The Woods, Noises Off and most recently The Mystery of Edwin Drood. What are some of the roles you have had over the years that you found most enjoyable?
I adore theatre … There is nothing like a live audience and over the years I have performed in many plays and musicals all over the country. Play wise, it would have to be a one woman play written by Cecilia Ahern called ‘Mrs Whippy’ that I toured Ireland with. It was such a great challenge, not just learning the 2 hour piece but concentrating for that long every night with no one else around for support. It also gave me the chance to play a wonderful array of emotions. Musical wise, you have already mentioned my favourite role to date … Although I’m loving playing Martha in White Christmas, it has to be Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods. She was a joy to play and I’m a bit of a Sondheim groupie!!! Other roles I have enjoyed include Mrs Metherall in The Game, Kate in Bedroom Farce, Miss Electra in Gypsy and Princess Puffer in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
You are now performing at the Dominion Theatre for a Christmas season of White Christmas. Can you tell me the story of the show and what attracted you to the role you are playing?
The plot of White Christmas is pretty much like the wonderful, classic film. Two ex-army captains turned Broadway/TV stars meet two singing sisters and end up going to an Inn in Vermont which is owned by their ex General. The Inn isn’t doing very well, so they put on a show in the barn and bring up all their ex army mates to surprise the General. In between all that, you have the boy meets girl, falls in love, falls out of love and get back together storyline.
My role, Martha Watson, is slightly different from the film as she is an ex Broadway performer and is desperate to be in the show. I saw the show a few years ago and fell in love with Martha and the numbers she gets to sing … and I always wanted to be Ethel Merman!!
Are there any other theatre roles that you would like to have a go at playing?
Now I’m getting to a certain age, there are a few musical roles that I would love to play. Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Miss Hannigan in Annie and Mamma Rose in Gypsy. All really strong women characters with great scores to sing.
Have you ever had any funny/disastrous on-stage experiences?
Over the years there have been a few. The usual – costume falling off on stage. My very 1st job was Cinderella at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. I was a dancer in the ensemble and we only got our costumes at the last minute. We had a finale tap routine with a white tutu outfit and as I was tapping down the stairs, my costume got lower and lower revealing rather too much up front!! I was very popular at the party afterwards with gents!!
If you could be the opposite sex for a day, what theatre role would you like the play?
I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’ve realised that I’m very happy being who I am!! There are no real musical theatre roles I would yearn to play.
What are your thoughts on theatre etiquette? What things annoy you when you are performing or when you are in the audience?
Oh the usual things … People talking, rattling sweet packets and the dreaded mobile phones nowadays. Just switch them off completely!!! Surely people can go 2 hours without them and eating. I once had a woman answer a call when I was doing a play and actually had a full blown conversation, telling the person on the line where she was and who she was watching – unbelievable!
Apart from acting, what is your biggest vice?
That would have to be baking… I’m obsessed. I watch every programme on TV and bake when I can. I even have a blog wendipeterspuddingqueen.blogspot.com . I host at the Cake and Bake Show at Earls Court and do the narration on ITV’s Britain’s Best Bakery. I love organising Cake Club when I’m doing a show and bake for everyone. I also loving eating everything I bake !!!!
Why do you think people should come and see White Christmas?
If you love the film and old fashioned musicals … this is the show for you. It has everything you need for a wonderful evening out … fun, glitz, great sets, a great score, amazing dance routines. You are bound to leave the theatre with a big smile on your face and, of course, singing the title song and looking forward to Christmas!
Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
White Christmas is playing at the Dominion Theatre until 3 January 2015.