Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Q&A: Caroline Curran

The actress from east Belfast (29) is currently treading the boards in a unique adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale A Christmas Carol, at Newtownabbey's Theatre at the Mill

Caroline Curran
Caroline Curran

So, tell us what your new play, Eternally Scrooged, is about!

It's a modern take on the well-known Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, but with an Eighties flair. Nuala McKeever (right) plays Evangeline Scrooge, a romance writer, and I'm Bobbi Cratchit, her secretary, who is also an aspiring writer. There's also Tiny Tim, a bike courier who I have a bit of a romantic thing for, and Barbara Marley, who comes back from the dead to say there will be three ghosts visiting to make Evangeline change her ways.

There's a lot of comedy in it and it's a real ensemble piece - everybody brings a different type of comedy to it, so it's great fun.

How faithful is it to Dickens' original tale?

It's very close to Dickens but with our own twist. The Ghost of Christmas past is a Cary Grant-style character who takes her through her childhood, while the Ghost of Christmas Present is a bawdy Scottish lass. Christmas Future is done with the use of scaffolding, but we don't want to give too much away.

We also have a bit where we go to the Continental Market, so it's relevant to Belfast.

We're seeing a lot more adult-orientated Christmas shows now. Are they in danger of superseding the traditional panto?

No, pantos are fantastic, but they cater to parents with kids, whereas ours is an adult show for 12 years and over. We're just giving people an alternative night out.

You're well-known already for the lead role in the hit stage version of spoof novel 50 Shades of Red, White and Blue. How did you land that part?

I got a phone call from Martin Lynch's production company to read the script, but I didn't know much about it. So they gave me the story to read, I took it home and thought it was hilarious. They asked me if I had a problem with the language and I said 'No', and they offered me the part. Since it opened last year it has just skyrocketed!

Do you worry about being typecast by the role?

Not at all. The way we are with the economy now I'm so lucky to be employed and I'm happy with the kind of roles I'm getting. I am an actor and will do whatever role I can get and I'll put 100% into it, whether it's a bawdy part or a serious dramatic role.

What would be your dream role to perform on stage?

I would love to play Richard III -- in a female production obviously! I've done Shakespearean roles before, though -- Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew.

What led you into becoming an actress?

I originally worked as a stage manager when I left university, but over the past four years I gave it up because I was going to acting auditions and was being asked to stage manage the show instead.

So I had to give that up for people to see me as a serious actress. I was lucky enough to be spotted by (theatre director) Patricia Downey while doing open auditions at the Lyric Theatre and she has helped me get into lots of shows, so it's all gone from there.

Now I have two sell-out one-woman shows under my belt and hopefully there will be more to come!

Eternally Scrooged is at the Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey, until January 5. For details, visit www.theatreatthemill.com

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