If you’re a fan of Queen – and honestly, who isn’t? – then the first place you need to visit in the West End is the Dominion Theatre to see We Will Rock You. The musical features an original story, based around those wonderful songs that the band gave to the world. I went to see WWRY for the first time last year and, although I have to agree that the musical’s plot is a little thin, it doesn’t really matter when you hear top West End talent belting out such classic hits as ‘Somebody To Love’, ‘We Are The Champions’, ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ and, of course, its title number. Witnessing such unbridled joy as the entire audience, so caught up in the moment, that they were up on their feet at the end, singing along and waving their glow-sticks in the air was a unique experience and demonstrates exactly why WWRY, despite early slamming by the critics, is still such a popular and successful show today.
There will always be only one Freddie Mercury, but there are a plethora of West End performers who, in a different way, are just as outstanding up there on that stage. Queen songs are undoubtedly hard to sing, but not only do the company of WWRY deliver them in a whirlwind of power and precision, but they do it on a daily (and sometimes twice-daily) basis. The musical has recently had a few new additions to the cast, including Oliver Thompsett and Rachel Wooding in their respective lead roles of ‘Galileo’ and ‘Scaramouche’, and while they and the rest of the principal cast are doing a fantastic job of honouring Freddie Mercury and the music of Queen, the equally impressive efforts of the ensemble cannot go unmentioned: that is why ensemble member Miriam Elwell-Sutton is our featured performer in this week’s In Profile.
Elwell-Sutton spent three years at the Arts Educational School in London, graduating with a BA (Hons) in Dance and Theatre Performance in 2005. Originally hailing from Glasgow, she trained at the Dance School of Scotland for two years before making the move to London to pursue a career on the stage. She landed her first professional job straight out of ArtsEd, joining the much-lauded production of Hair at the Gate theatre as a member of the ‘Tribe’. From there on, the roles just kept on rolling in.
She followed up her time at the Gate Theatre by stepping into her first West End show, playing ‘Ali’ in the smash-hit musical Mamma Mia at the Prince of Wales Theatre. After a year there, she joined the company of Fiddler on the Roof (Savoy Theatre) as the alternate ‘Tzeital’ and understudy to the roles of ‘Hodel’ and ‘Chava’, before embarking on her first UK tour in West End long-runner Chicago. She played the role of ‘Hunyak’ in the touring production and also understudied Emma Barton as the musical’s main murderess ‘Roxie Hart’, playing the role on numerous occasions and to great acclaim, which lead to her later taking over the role.
In 2010, Elwell-Sutton appeared in the original musical Dolly, produced by the New Perspectives Theatre Company at Curve. She played central character ‘Bettina’ in what Whatsonstage.com described as a, “stunning yet subtle performance”. In another review, The Times quipped that her performance as the, “wholesome, smiling Scottish-lassie makes it hard to believe that she’s just been ‘Roxie’ in Chicago.” A variety of stage projects followed in the next year, such as playing ‘Colin’ in Mother Goose, (Nottingham Playhouse) performing with theatre company Action To The Word in An Evening of Shakespeare Monologues and playing the ‘Magical Mermaid’ in the pantomime production of Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates (SECC)opposite stage and screen star John Barrowman – in an interview with the Daily Record, she talked about having to kiss Barrowman on stage and joked that: “When I found out I had got the job, I was quite looking forward to it.”
At the start of 2012, she was appearing at the Camden People’s Theatre in the acclaimed production of Romeo and Juliet, and now, she is playing a ‘Teen Queen’ in the ensemble of We Will Rock You and covering the leading role of ‘Scaramouche’.
Miriam Elwell-Sutton has been doing pretty well for herself so far; a fact that is hardly surprising when her extraordinary talent and hard work is taken into account. She is an extremely well-rounded performer who deserves every bit of success she has earned so far and all that is yet to come, and whether she is following her passion for singing by performing on a West End stage or in a little jazz club somewhere, I am sure that she will excel herself in every venture.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Saturday 20th October 2012