Jemima Rooper has Tea With Wilma talking about HAND TO GOD

In the second of a series of special Tea With Wilma interviews, I speak to the cast of the Broadway transfer of HAND TO GOD which opens at the Vaudeville Theatre on 5 February 2016. This week I speak to Jemima Rooper…


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?
On tv I think The Famous Five (where it all began), As If (where I grew up), Lost In Austen (just a dream part and job).
On stage Her naked Skin at the National Theatre (where I showed I could be a lesbian on stage as well as on screen), One Man Two Guvnors (where I proved I could make a convincing bloke), All My Sons (where I wasn’t obvious casting but was lucky to be in it with the most gorgeous director, production and cast) and Breeders at the St James written by my partner where we discovered we had actually, er, bred.
I would like to add the film What If as well as Daniel Radcliffe had to do the Heimlich manoeuvre on me and that was strangely surreal.

You are about to star in Hand To God at the Vaudeville Theatre. For anyone not familiar with the story, what is the show about and what can people expect if they come to see it?
At it’s epicentre the show is about a grieving mother and son and how they are not dealing with that grief. But it’s also about human beings, right and wrong, the duality of mankind, communication, a lonely man, an angry boy, a girl, love, sex…and a sock puppet.

Hand To God has been described as ‘dirtier than the Book of Mormon’ and ‘Sesame Street meets The Exorcist’. If you had to sum it up in a sentence, what would you say?
Utterly vital viewing for all human beings who are brave (and old) enough.

Do you have any dream stage roles that you would like to have a go at playing?
Elder Price or Elder Cunningham in The Book of Mormon. Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Basically I need to learn to sing better and have a sex change.

If you could be the opposite sex for the day, which male theatre role would you like to play?
See above.

Have you ever had any funny/disastrous on-stage experiences?
Many. Ohhhhhhh so many. Mostly because once I laugh (or corpse as the expression goes) I can’t stop. Whilst doing Breeders I had to dress as a snowman and there were two options of snowman nose. The normal one was a little cute red nose but there was also a carrot nose that looked like a very pointy slightly droopy male appendage. If this wasn’t funny enough the elastic broke at the last minute so I had to hold it on with one hand and basically none of us could keep it together at all.

We are living in a time where films are often being turned into stage plays and musicals. If you had to choose one, what film would you like to see adapted to the stage?
This is an excellent question though I feel if I knew the answer I’d be very rich…
The Never Ending Story?
Not a film but Breaking Bad The Musical?

Why do you think people should come and see Hand To God?
For the nudity…
Sorry, there’s no nudity.
Basically because I think it will be a completely unique theatrical experience. A breath of fresh air in the West End. It’ll provoke thoughts and feelings you never knew you had and hopefully make you howl with laughter but also be moved to tears. A thrilling roller coaster of a piece.

Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
Thanks for having me to tea!

Click here to read my other interview with West End stars 

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