The actress chatted to us about starring in the UK Concert premiere of Doctor Zhivago at Cadogan Hall this weekend…
Hi Emma, thanks for talking to me. How are you feeling about being involved with Doctor Zhivago? Hi, it’s great to have the chance to speak with you about this fantastic piece. So, how am I feeling about being involved in Doctor Zhivago? Well, after a 10-year break from theatre, raising my three children and teaching Performing Arts in Brighton, this is beyond what I had imagined my first step back on stage would be. I feel extremely grateful and privileged to be involved with such an incredibly talented cast and cannot wait to get started.
It’s not a score that is really known over here – what can we expect from it? The score is brilliant and blew me away the first time I heard it. There is such drama in every song, with thrilling, moving melodies. To hear the piece through my headphones was wonderful, so I can only imagine how it will be to experience this performed live at Cadogan Hall.
Have you a favourite song from the score that you have fallen in love with? Just one song?! That’s a difficult one…. I think ‘In This House’ holds a special place for me, as a parent. The song shares the trauma of having no choice but to leave your home, everything you have known, loved and cherished, in order for you and your family to survive. I cannot imagine having to face that decision. It’s reflective of things that have happened in the past, that are currently happening in the world and sadly, I’m sure will continue for many years to come, and so for me, it’s message makes this song stand out.
Could you tell me a bit more about your character Anna? Anna is the matriarch of the family, she comes from a very privileged background, one of the few percent of the population at the time that would have owned land and buildings. In the script she talks of owning rivers and forests! She is respected and loved by her family and workers and she is a very proud lady. We see a period of time elapse throughout the show, Anna grows frail, I think the changes of the war contribute to her ill health.
What was it initially that made you want to be involved with this concert production? I had come across the score a few years ago and new how exciting it was. Also, being the UK Premiere makes it very special.
How familiar with the story of Doctor Zhivago before you became involved? Not at all really, I have a vague memory of seeing the film as a child, mainly because my Mum loved Omar Shariff! However, I have immersed myself in the story and research of life at that time to try and better understand the piece and my character’s map of the world.
How would you describe the show? Ultimately, it’s a love story. Of course, this is a concert version, so it will have a slightly different feel to a staged production, but this leaves more focus for the stunning score, the sound and the truly incredible cast, of which I am honoured to stand alongside, and will no doubt leave the audience, moved, enlightened and wanting more!
If people are thinking about coming along why should they? If you’re someone looking for your next big musical theatre crush, then this is the show for you! If you love grand emotive pieces such as Les Miserables or Miss Saigon, this is the show for you! If you want to be at the latest musical UK Cast Premiere, this is the show for you!
By Emma Clarendon
Doctor Zhivago takes place at Cadogan Hall on the 1st September.