Luck let gentleman Ben see how nice a dame Rosie could be

Poor old HotBox dancer Adelaide has been engaged to hardened hustler Nathan Detroit for 14 years.

Unlike her character, actress Rosie Jenkins didn’t get the chance to develop a cold while waiting around for that plain little band of gold.

Partner Ben, who plays Nathan in the current run of Guys and Dolls at the New Wolsey, proposed a relatively quick four years after the met and they married last August.

“It’s pretty good going in terms of Adelaide and Nathan,” Rosie laughs. “I’d love to say it was on stage and very theatrical but it wasn’t, it was the perfect proposal in our front room; I’m sitting on the sofa and he got down on one knee out of the blue.”

Rosie admits to have given up on the idea after her hints appeared to fall on deaf ears.


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“Ben apparently had the ring burning a hole in his pocket for about three or four weeks before proposing, he was just trying to find the right time. I think some friend of his said there’s never a right time just do it so that’s exactly what he did.”

They met at the theatre just over five years ago while in Sugar, the musical version of Some Like It Hot.

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“She was playing Marilyn Monroe’s part and I was playing the Jack Lemmon part, so Rosie fell for me when I was completely dressed as a woman; make of that what you will,” laughs Ben.

“We did a lot of little comedy routines on stage together and sang. My character fancied her’s, Sugar Cane, and I guess it sort of spilled into my actual life. No acting required.”

The first time they met, remembers Rosie, was when she auditioned for the role.

“Ben was on the panel and says, now, he thought I was the one for the job. That was sort of the first time we clapped eyes on each other. The next time was the pre-first day of rehearsals drink.”

The courting and flirting began when the show hit the Theatre Clwyd.

“We did the whole of Ipswich just being really quite good mates and then it blossomed from there. Once we got to Wales we got seduced by the valleys,” she laughs.

Ben remembers keeping the growing attraction from the rest of the cast, secretly holding hands under tables at the pub after shows and long walks.

I have to ask Rosie about the fact he spent quite a bit of Sugar in a dress.

“There’s a worry isn’t it,” she laughs again. “I found him extremely funny on stage, which was one of the major attractions. Every night people would be sitting in their dressing rooms but I’d be standing in the wings watching, laughing and enjoying.”

When Rosie moved on to another role, the two London-based actors continued to see more of each other off stage and love blossomed.

This production of Guys and Dolls is the first time they’ve worked together since Sugar.

Their romance in this show is far from plain sailing; with Nathan reluctant to make an honest woman of Adelaide who’s accused of henpecking him. It’s here where life and art go their separate ways.

“She doesn’t really give him that much grief on stage, Ben probably gets more off stage,” Rosie laughs.

“We love working together. You’d think spending 24/7 together you’d give your right arm to spend a bit of time on your own, but we’ve spent a couple of times apart and I’ve really missed him.

“I think we’ve grown so close because we’re not only working together, we’re working together as boyfriend and girlfriend in the play. It grounds you more, I think, and gives you more love.”

Both have been looking forward to returning to the New Wolsey.

“It’s been lovely. It’s such a fantastically run theatre. There’s always a great buzz around Peter’s actor musician shows and Ben and I will of course stand in the wings and remember back five plus years ago when we first stood there and gazed at each other.”

n Guys and Dolls runs at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, to April 16.

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