INTERVIEW: Frances Ruffelle has Tea With Wilma

Frances Ruffelle TWWFor 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 feel uncomfortable showing off my career highlights, but my website does all the showing off so.… Ha… here it is

Your new album ‘I Say Yeh-Yeh’ is being released on 9 October and I’m delighted to have been listening to it non stop for the last few days. What is the concept for the album and how did you choose the songs?
Ah that s so great that you keep listening to it.
People often think that I am French.
I have played many French roles too (one many of you know) and also another connection I have with France is a  song I wrote was a hit in France when Etienne Daho sang it with his own French lyrics.
I love to listen to French music, Listening to Juliette Greco and Francoise Hardy inspired me to record the album.
My album takes the listeners through heartbreak to empowerment imagined through many Summers in Paris.
An English woman’s life in Paris.
I chose the songs I knew I wanted to sing which had Parisian themes and words that meant a lot to me.
I wrote some English lyrics to A Quoi Ca Sert ( Take your Mercedes Benz) and wrote the tune to Le Brasier.
I sing the album half in French and half in English.

The first track on the album was written for the character of Eponine in Les Miserables but was cut from the show before it made it to the London stage. As it is in French, can you explain the story of the song as my attempt at translating would probably not be much help to anyone!
It’s beautiful but it did n’t make the show we all know now. The song that got away.
It’s about Marius and Cossette finding each other and Eponine trying come to terms with the fact that she will never be part of his story.

It is coming up to the thirtieth anniversary of Les Miserables opening in London (for which you originated the role of Eponine). After all these years what made you decide to to re-record ‘On My Own’ for this album?
Gwyneth my producer persuaded me! well, 30 years is a long time ago, I wasn’t sure about it.
But I am glad I did.
She arranged it in a completely different way.
and I sing it as a woman now, not the girl I was.

If you could be the opposite sex for the day, which male theatre role would you like to play?
Maybe Sweeny Todd would be fun

Have you ever had any funny/disastrous on-stage experiences?
I was stabbed on stage, by accident by an over excited actor, ( but a great mate) on the Rue de Pumet in Les Mis, I had to be rushed to hospital before the end of act one.

How would you sum up your new album and why should people buy it?
Well, it’s beautifully arranged by Gwyneth Herbert. what can I say… it a great album! of course I’m gonna like it, I wouldn’t put it out if I wasn’t proud of it. Phew!

Thanks for having Tea With Wilma


Frances Ruffelle’s album I Say Yeh-Yeh is available now 

See Frances Ruffelle live at the Crazy Coqs from tomorrow until Saturday day 13-17 October. Click here for tickets