Q&A with Charlie Russell from Groan Ups at The Vaudeville
| By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels
(Updated on Oct 18, 2019)
Mischief Theatre actress Charlie Russell (Katie) takes time out of busy performance schedule to share all the details about herself and her latest show Groan Ups. Having premiered on 20 September at the Vaudeville Theatre in London, Groan Ups is finally gaining momentum amongst London theatregoers, thanks in part to the recent release of some gorgeous production shots. This hilarious comedy is bursting with excitement and rapid-fire humour. Read what Charlie Russell had to say in our special Q&A below and be sure not to miss this triumphant new play before it closes on 1 December 2019.
Exclusive interview with Groan Ups actress Charlie Russell
Mischief Theatre fans had been looking forward to Groan Ups for a while, but for people who are new to the company, what can they expect from this brand-new production?
We follow a group of friends from the age of 6, seeing them again as teenagers, and finally as adults at a school reunion. It’s a comedy driven by character, looking at how we grow up - or, indeed, don’t. Funny and moving at the same time!
Groan Ups is about the effect school had on you; do you have a particular experience from school that helped shape you?
I had a really great time at school. I went to many actually and at each one there were always those special teachers that took a bit of extra time to nurture you and help you improve at the things you love. If it hadn’t been for my drama teachers encouraging me to take risks and grab opportunities, there’s no way I’d be where I am now.
Apart from Groan Ups, what has been your favourite Mischief Theatre production to work on and why?
I really loved working on The Comedy About A Bank Robbery. It was the first time we’d moved away from Goes Wrong in our scripted work; we played with new styles, music and created brilliant characters. Caprice was so fun to play too - strong, clever, crafty but with a big heart.
I guess to be a part of Mischief Theatre, you have to enjoy making people laugh. What is it about making people laugh that you enjoy so much?
There’s nothing quite like the sound of people laughing to fill you with joy. I’m sure there’s a chemical thing that explains it! When people laugh it means they are in the moment, present with you and the joke you made. Even if it’s just for a moment, you take them away from the worry, stress or difficulty of everyday life, and you know that they’re engaged with the show.
Being a part of Mischief Theatre for 10 years, it’s safe to say you’ve had a fair share of comedies, but is there another genre you’d love to delve into?
I really love crime mysteries and cop dramas, as well as political thrillers. Thankfully, there’s usually always one on the TV. In theatre and on TV, James Graham combines political with comedy brilliantly, so I love watching his stuff.
Do you have a dream role within an existing comedy play outside of Mischief Theatre?
Well, I don’t know if it’s technically a comedy play, but Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams would be the dream. She’s hysterically funny, powerful, but burning on the inside with passion and desperation. I’d love to have a go at that.
I’m really inspired by actors such as Olivia Colman who bring funny to the serious, and heartbreaking to the funny. They add such depth to the work they’re in, so anything with that challenge would be welcome.
We hear Mischief Theatre is getting their own six-part TV series... What can you tell us about that?
Haha! I’m not sure what I can say! We’ve been working with the BBC and Big Talk on a new sitcom and it has been one of the best jobs of my life. I can’t wait to see what audiences make of it!
In Groan Ups, we are taken from the classroom to adulthood and back. Why do you think it will be enjoyable for all ages?
It’s great for anyone around our age, loads of 90s and noughties references and nostalgia, but we’ve also tried to capture the elements of growing up that never change despite different time periods. I think people of any age can relate to the pressures of growing up and how sometimes, even when you’re an adult, you still feel like a kid.
It’s also just really silly and fun with brilliant characters.
You’ve been in many different ‘Goes Wrong’ style plays and will also be in Magic Goes Wrong, but what is your favourite stunt/scene you’ve pulled off?
I actually won’t be in Magic Goes Wrong, but I’ve seen it and it is spectacular! Loads of outrageous stunts and set pieces, and hilarious characters.
Personally, I think the Royal Variety Performance of The Play That Goes Wrong, where I was hauled out of the window and flashed my massive flowery knickers to Prince Harry, has to be a highlight.
In three words why are you excited for Groan Ups?
New, heartfelt and funny.
Groan Ups tickets for the Vaudeville Theatre run available from £24!
Mischief Theatre has raised the bar again with their newest comedy, Groan Ups, now showing at London's Vaudeville Theatre. Prepare to burst out laughing in the auditorium as Mischief Theatre Company's talented actors put on a spectacular show! Complete with perfect comedic timing and stunning optical illusions, Groan Ups is just the ticket for a fun night out in London. Book your tickets today before this fabulous show leaves this December!