So the Spice Girls musical Viva Forever! has begun its preview period at the Piccadilly Theatre, ahead of its official opening on 11th December. It’s hard to say at this early stage as to whether or not the musical will be the success many expect it to be, but with a pretty wonderful cast and a creative team that includes Jennifer Saunders’ hilarious writing and the directing skills of Paul Garrington, it stands a good chance, I’d say. Another asset for the show is producer Judy Craymer, who made a name for herself with the original jukebox musical: MAMMA MIA!. Featuring the music of ABBA, the West End stage show is now in its 13th year and has spawned numerous international productions and even a big –screen film adaption, starring such Hollywood A-listers as Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried and Pierce Brosnan. Audiences are still flocking regularly to see this entertaining show, which is now playing at the Novello Theatre after moving from the Prince of Wales Theatre to make way for the transfer of Broadway’s smash-hit The Book of Mormon, which arrives here in early 2013. MAMMA MIA! boasts a terrific cast right now, including the likes of Charlotte Wakefield, Helen Hobson and Gary Milner, along with the show’s ensemble cast. Rebecca Bainbridge is one of these talented ensemble members, which is why she is this week’s In Profile featured performer.
Rebecca Bainbridge is a proud North London girl, born and bred in Camden. She studied drama, singing and the violin at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before continuing her training at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts where she graduated with a BA Hons in Performance in 2002. Since entering the world of the professional stage career, she has accrued an impressive list of theatre credits and continues to climb the ranks.
Her first job out of school was the role of ‘Chastity’ in a production of Anything Goes at the Landor Theatre. She followed that up with ‘Woman 1’ in You Might As Well Live (Jerwood Space) before embarking on her first UK tour production, performing as ‘Shirley’ and covering the roles of ‘Vi/Maria Elena’ in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. She spent 2004 travelling around in further touring shows, playing ‘Ms Lynch’ in Grease (Larnaca, Cyprus) and ‘Magenta/The Usherette’ in The Rocky Horror Show (European Tour/Teatro Ciak, Milan). The next year she made her West End debut at the Piccadilly Theatre as a swing in Jailhouse Rock, where she also understudied the role of ‘Peggy van Aulden’. She followed that show with involvements in various projects, including blues soloist/street chorus in Leonard Bernstein’s Mass (Barbican Hall), comedy performer in Newsrevue (Canal Cafe) and a soundtrack singer on The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy film.
Bainbridge reprised her role as ‘Magenta/The Usherette’ in the 2005 touring production of The Rocky Horror Show (Teatro Nazionale, Milan), spending the following year travelling the UK with the company of Tonight’s The Night where she performed as ‘Des’ree’ and was 1st U/S to he roles of ‘Satan/Baby Jane’. She then made her return to the West End as 1st U/S to the leading role of ‘Sally Bowles’ in the Bill Kenwright production of Cabaret at the Lyric Theatre. After two years with the show she took on roles in a number of theatre projects, such as ‘Queen Narcissa’ in Mother Goose (Liverpool Everyman Theatre), ‘Lauren’ in Murder Mystery Musical (George Square Theatre, Edinburgh Festival) and ‘Paula/Marilyn Monroe’ in Great Pretenders (Upstairs at the Gatehouse). She went back on tour as ‘Gladys Pugh’ in Hi-de-Hi! In 2010, ending the year with a role as Narrator/Violin in the UK premiere of new show Striking 12, directed by Simon Greiff at the Waterloo East Theatre. She then appeared as ‘Pam, The Knife Thrower’s Assistant’ in The Vaudevillains with Les Enfants Terribles (Lowry Theatre/Charing Cross Theatre), before taking on the roles of Nurse Flinn/Sandra in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest at the Leicester Curve. The next project was the part of ‘Maud Macbeth’ in Cinderella at the Playhouse Theatre in Liverpool, and then she moved on to her current home with the company of MAMMA MIA!. Bainbridge is an ensemble member in the show where she also acts as 2nd U/S ‘Donna’ and 1st U/S ‘Tanya’, recently playing the latter role on stage at the Novello Theatre.
In the ten years she’s been performing, Rebecca Bainbridge has earned a wide array of theatre credits to her name and her growing experiences as an understudy bring her ever closer to a leading West End role, something both she and theatre audiences deserve to see happen.
You can follow Rebecca on twitter: @BeckyBainbridge
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Saturday 1st December 2012