Last Sunday saw the 37th Laurence Olivier Awards take place at the Royal Opera House, hosted by Sheridan Smith and Hugh Bonneville, alongside a free event at Covent Garden Piazza which showed the ceremony live on big screens to the crowds gathered there. With every awards ceremony, one or more shows emerge as the night’s big winners, taking home several awards in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the world of theatre that year. For 2013, it was Simon Stephens’ stage-adapted production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which was the undeniable success story of the night, leaving with seven Olivier Awards having only missed out in one of their nominated categories. On the musical theatre side of things though, the main accolades went to Sweeney Todd and Top Hat. Following an acclaimed UK tour, starring Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen, Top Hat made its West End transfer to the Aldwych Theatre, where it is currently running with Gavin Lee and Kristen Beth Williams now playing the leading roles of Jerry Travers and Dale Tremont, first made famous by Fred Astaire and Ginger Roberts in the original 1935 film. The cast of the ‘Best New Musical’ were also one of the live acts to appear on stage at the Olivier Awards and blew the audience away with their performance. No one person makes a show, and the success of Top Hat is undoubtedly a collaborative effort by the entire company, from the principal actors to the ensemble members. This is why the featured ensemble member for this week’s In Profile is Charlie Bull.
Charlie Bull is a graduate of the Arts Educational School, which has produced such notable talents as Julie Andrews, Bonnie Langford, Glenn Carter, Sally Ann Triplett and the Strallen sisters, including former Top Hat cast member Summer Strallen. She has made an impressive start to her stage career, having toured in numerous productions and appeared in a number of West End musicals, amongst other projects.
Bull was in the original London company of Jersey Boys, the ‘jukebox’ musical based on 1960’s rock ‘n roll band Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons which opened at the Prince Edward Theatre in 2008. She played the leading role of reporter Lorraine, girlfriend of Frankie Valli and cause of contention between him and band mate Tommy DeVito when DeVito makes a move on her. Another West End role saw her playing Martha, a Burelli Sister, in Rat Pack at the Adelphi Theatre, along with her turn in the ensemble of smash hit musical Mamma Mia, which recently celebrated its 14-year anniversary. She appeared in the ABBA musical at its former home of the Prince of Wales Theatre, where in addition to performing in the ensemble, she understudied and played the principal role of bride-to-be Sophie. Her West End credits also include the 2004 revival of Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre.
Her on-stage experiences are not limited to West End shows of course. Bull has travelled extensively in touring productions, perhaps most notably in the UK tour of Saturday Night Fever, which subsequently transferred to the Apollo Victoria for a West End run. She played the role of Connie as well as covering lead character Stephanie Mangano, playing the part onstage on a number of occasions. She was also part of the touring company of My Fair Lady, produced by the renowned Cameron Mackintosh.
Her name has appeared in the casting list of many theatrical productions outside of the West End and major touring shows. She was dance captain on two regional musicals, the first being the Chichester Festival Theatre production of the classic Cabaret, in which she played the role of Heidi, and the other Babes in Arms at the New Theatre in Cardiff, playing the role of Mitzi Lee. She has also played The Enchanted Fridge in Paradise Moscow for Opera North at Leeds Grand Theatre and also on tour.
Charlie Bull is currently appearing in Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre, playing the ensemble roles of Florist’s Assistant and Italian Maid. She is fortunate to be involved in this acclaimed production, which is now also a three-time Olivier Award winner, but the show is also fortunate to have such a highly-capable and impressively talented performer in its company.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Sunday 5th May 2013