Coronation Street star Brooke Vincent makes stage debut at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds.
- Credit: Archant
Corrie star Brooke Vincent swaps the cobbles of Weatherfield for life as a single mum-to-be in the 1960s. She spoke to entertainment writer Wayne Savage.
Vincent doesn’t hesitate to answer questions first when I call. She’s just finished the matinee performance, with the evening show not far off. “I’m trying to get in a sleep somewhere, so if I go first then I know Ruth (Madoc, her co-star) can talk and I can get going,” she laughs.
Known to millions as Coronation Street’s Sophie Webster, she’s making her debut stage role in Amanda Whittington’s poignant comedy about the human need for friendship and the naivety of the 1960s.
“I’m telling myself it’s a little adventure and I take it all as it comes really. I’ve learned a lot while I’ve been here, it’s very different to doing TV: but I’m really enjoying it and really glad I did it. It’s made coming out of Corrie not as scary.
“They’ve let me have some time off, which is good. I’ve not got the scariness of not having work when I finish this, I’m going straight back into Corrie which is good.”
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It’s 1964 and 19-year old Mary Adams is sent to a mother and baby convent to give birth to her illegitimate child shame free, with only a record player for company.
Set against the backdrop of iconic girl groups and vocalists like The Ronettes, The Shangri-Las and Dusty Springfield, Mary – with fellow residents Queenie (Vincent), Dolores and Norma – must come to terms with their pregnancies, their lives and the fact they may never see their children again.
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Vincent says the role is very her.
“We were in Manchester last week and a lot of my friends and family came. Everybody said ‘you couldn’t have played anybody else, that role is so very you’. She’s very sarcastic, very moody,” she laughs. “I like her.”
“She’s very straight to the point, very streetwise. She’s not made the boss of the girls, she just takes it upon herself which is really good because I enjoy being bossy. My character on Corrie’s quite nice, doesn’t say certain things whereas Queenie is abrupt.”
Whittington’s script is very similar to a TV script, easy to jump into and still get what’s going one, lots of one-liners. Humour’s important says Vincent.
“There’s a lot of depth to what these girls are doing and it’s a heartbreaking subject... It’s not heartbreaking the whole way through. You find humour in it, it’s a bit like ‘I know this year’s rubbish girls but come on we’ll keep going and we’ll have a laugh through it’. (Sometimes) if you don’t laugh you’re going to cry...
“We’ve got four girls who are completely different characters, which I think makes it more colourful for the people who are watching it because you immediately get their personalities, their backgrounds and that’s really good. I’ve had the time to develop my character, more so than I would while I’m on Corrie... You can put little innuendos in there, different movements.”
Vincent says the play has been an eye-opener. While they’re there to entertain, this is people’s lives they’re putting on stage.
“It’s history, (maybe) something not everybody knew about - I certainly didn’t until doing it. We’re just really privileged to tell this story. We hope you have fun watching it as much as we do performing it.”
She’s been bitten by the stage bug. While Corrie is very much home, her co-stars family; she’s keen for her next “little adventure”.
“I’ve made a lot of friends I’ll keep in touch with and it’s been a real rollercoaster... When my Corrie family watched it was like ‘this is what I’ve been doing’ and I was so proud...”
Be My Baby runs at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, October 17-22. Read my chat with her co-star Ruth Madoc in tomorrow’s East Anglian Daily Times.