In However the information that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella will shut early got here as a shock, not least to the forged and crew, who have been both informed at quick discover or discovered on-line. Amid the social media outrage was a practical tweet from Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, who, because the fiercely fierce Stepmother, earned the present’s solely Olivier Award nomination. Her messagewith a surfer emoji, stated she’d be prepared for different jobs the day after the curtain went down.
“Little did I do know that by the top of the 12 months I would be working with Rufus Norris on the Nationwide,” she says brightly. Her audition for fairytale Hex got here in her closing weeks: “I jumped at it!” She was one of many administrators of Cinderella, who originated the function and stayed on for an additional 12 months. Was he informed in individual about its sudden closure? “I wasn’t, no,” she says, the ache clear to listen to. “Many people discovered in an odd means. As a lot as I really feel sorry for myself, I can really feel sorry for different individuals who needed to make these selections as a result of it was like a stress cooker.” Cinderella was stopped at Christmas, at nice price, amid a surge in Covid circumstances. Leaving the present was unhappy, she says, “however a bit bit relieved.”
We meet on her lunch break after fittings for her Hex Queenie ogre outfit. “The costume is so heavy – there are many layers to the ogres! I acquired loads of bums—like 5 bows underneath that gown.” The story is an “extremely darkish and twisted” but humorous tackle Sleeping Magnificence. “He took Disney and trashed it and went again to the unique tales.”
When the musical was first introduced, there have been claims of nepotism as a result of Norris, the Nationwide boss and Hex’s lyricist and director, is married to its guide author, Tanya Ronder. (Music by Jim Fortune.) Hex then had a cursed run final Christmas as theaters battled Omicron. Sicknesses meant that just about each present within the first week had totally different combos of understudies and substitutes. The press evening was postponed twice, then canceled.
“They did not finish on Hex final time,” says Hamilton-Barritt, whose function was first performed by Tamsin Carroll. Norris and Ronder have been planning the present because the 90s, she says: “It have to be a extremely emotional factor for them.” What’s it like working with lead advertisements which can be married? “It saves loads of time as a result of they’re on the identical web page, they know one another so nicely,” she says. “My husband [Rory Svensson] write and we collaborate. I have a look at Tanya and Rufus and assume, God, perhaps in the future we’ll have our personal present.”
One among Queenie’s songs, the gorgeous duet Within the Center, was launched final 12 months. What occurs within the story at that time, I ask. Queenie gave delivery and went to the Fairy for a spell to cease her urges, Hamilton-Barritt explains. Prompts? “He needs to eat his half-human youngster.” Effectively… “Queenie’s not a foul individual,” she insists. “He is an ogre. It could be preventing nature if it did not eat the odd individual from time to time. What else ought to he eat – hen?” She giggles. Hexagon rehearsals have been clearly joyful: “I come to work day by day and I really feel revered, listened to and protected. You are not all the time gifted with that form of power.”
Her childhood Christmas theater journeys have been to the ballet, not the panto. “I used to be a dancer – that is the place it began.” Ballet college gave her “a course and a piece ethic,” however she all the time knew she wished to behave. Matthew Bourne, whose Sleeping Magnificence returns at Christmas, was an inspiration: “the whole lot he touches is golden”.
She starred in a string of musicals – Fame, Flashdance, Grease, A Refrain Line after which Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Within the Heights – till she was eight months pregnant “and began seeing stars on the stage”. Taking part in salon proprietor Daniela whereas visibly pregnant enriched the character – “extra is at stake for her” – however was exhausting. “I used to be doing an arabesque on the prime of the steps on a fireplace escape whereas they have been spinning it.” She cried blissful tears each evening. “Your mind can take a little bit of a beating on this trade – horrible issues have been stated about you, even on the stage door. The present was good for my soul.”
After an Olivier nomination for Homicide Ballad in 2017, got here workshops for Cinderella, the place the grim snort, withered smile and husky disdain of the Stepmother appeared. He cannot consider how a lot freedom he is been given. “Individuals will ask, ‘What was it like studying how to try this?’ I am like, ‘I made this up, you bastard!'”
She praises Lloyd Webber for giving her Cinderella Sundays off to spend along with her household. What does Hex’s Christmas schedule appear to be? “On the twenty third we’ve got a matinee. Very civilized. Then come again for a night present on the twenty sixth. New Yr’s Time off – which implies we are able to have a drink.” Her children will come over and he or she shoots movies exhibiting her transition into character so they will not be shocked. “I stated, ‘In fact your mum’s the freak of the present – I will go in and destroy it.’ However they’re used to me enjoying methods.”