Carrie Hope Fletcher is one of the West End's major talents. Her portrayal as Eponine in Les Mis is breathtaking, and also heartbreaking, thanks to a voice that can melt you as easily as it can knock your block off - and that's some talent! Headliner goes backstage at the Queen's Theatre to find out more about the girl behind the character...
You’re living a bit of a fairytale here, aren’t you?
[laughs] I really am! When I was seven, my mum won tickets in a competition, and my dad is not the biggest fan of Les Mis, so she took me, and I fell in love with it then; it was the first musical I ever saw. The first job I ever had was in a Honey Nut Cheerios commercial as Little Red Riding Hood, so I had done auditions, and then Les Mis came up. I can still remember standing on stage at The Palace; they lined us all up and said, ‘Eponine, Corsette’ over and over; I then remember running out and telling my mum that I’d been picked, and she didn’t believe that I had got the part, so she called up my agent and had her confirm it!
And you were only seven! Was theatre always your natural path?
Well, I always wanted it since I was a kid, yeah – not because I had pushy parents in the slightest; in fact, I was the pushy child, from when I was three! That was the unspoken deal in the family. And that’s the thing I have a passion and a natural flair for... I’m pretty crap at everything else!
Your singing voice is quite beautiful, and for me, it sounds
like it would sit equally well on a record than on the stage...
Thank you! Well, it’s funny you should say that, as we had a big rehearsal with Claude-Michel Schönberg, who is the guy that wrote Eponine’s song, and he said it was originally a pop song that he wrote, so going for a poppy sounding voice was maybe a good thing. I never had training, either; mine is very much an untrained voice. My only real training was singing along to CDs, or in the shower!
You recently won ‘Best Takeover in a Role’ at the WhatsOnStage
Awards, and you beat off some pretty fierce opposition...
God, I felt such an idiot... I was the only one without a prepared speech! I mean, being up against the likes of Willemijn Verkaik... Well, I was like, ‘It’s nice to be here’[smiles]. It was bizarre... She is with the same agent as me, and we had performed together at St James’s Theatre a few months before, but then to win, I was like, ‘Whoaaa, man!’ [laughs] I could feel myself getting emotional, as everyone else had these great speeches, and then there’s me! I was telling myself off in the back of my head: ‘Don’t do this now – cry later! Don’t do this on stage!'
You’re a bit of a blogger too, aren’t you, with an unbelievable
following on Twitter (350k), Facebook (70k), and YouTube
(500k)... How on earth do you find the time?!
It’s a little bit mad, yes... At stage door, it’s pretty crazy, too. When I announced I was going to be in Les Mis on YouTube, lots of people who’d watched me on there for a year and a half bought tickets to come and see me in the show, and they all come to stage door. There might be 50 or so out there at one time! On YouTube, the demographic is 13-16, so suddenly when the holidays hit, they’re all here at once! Finding the time to do the YouTube stuff is trickier, as I’m filming, editing, and uploading video, but of course I can tweet from my phone. I never want it to feel like a chore; it’s a hobby, and that’s what it’s always been, the social media side of things. It was always, ‘Let’s see what happens if I put a video up online’, and then it went crazy, basically! There is a whole YouTube community of bloggers, musicians, and people who do special effects, stunt videos, and it’s overwhelmingly brilliant.
So you’re Eponine until June next year... What happens then?
Well... I am the biggest Disney fan ever, so I have my eye on Frozen on Broadway at the moment. I know that their workshopping that, and I would reaaaaaalllllly love to be a Disney princess at some point in my life! My agent is already on it, so we’ll have to wait and see! If I could be a part of Frozen on Broadway, that would be another dream come true.