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Muddy chats to Samantha Womack

From the Queen Vic to the Queen of Narnia, Samantha Womack is playing The White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe this month at Curve. We caught up with her during rehearsals to chat lockdown, Christmas and who she would turn to stone IRL!

Pic Credit: Hitz Rao 

What appealed to you about playing The White Witch?

Coming out of lockdown, we have all felt quite damaged by everything that has happened. In the more simplistic way, we have been damaged because we have missed going to the theatre and hearing music and art. When I’m stressed out or I don’t understand what I’m dealing with, art is a way of connecting with other people, so I thought that this story and subject matter and coming out of lockdown – especially with Michael directing it – was going to be a beautiful piece. We’ve all cried in various different parts of the rehearsal period. We have actor musicians playing live cello and live violin and we’ve had just moments where it’s all been quite overwhelming. These are the stories of our childhood when we believed that the world was a good place and everything was simple and then the darkness seeps in. When you watch it you’ll feel quite emotional.

How did you kids react when you told them you got the part?

My son’s reaction, was well, “Yeah of course, because she’s terrifying.” My daughter was really excited. She’s done a lot of touring with me over the years and she loves anything that’s heightened and magical.

You’re used to playing strong, sassy women. Have you drawn on any previous characters for this role?

Well interesting somebody asked me, “Is there a connection to Roni Mitchell?” and I haven’t thought about it. But, she did operate from a place of fear, she was damaged she had a need to survive and often the biggest tyrants in the world, historically tend to be people with complicated childhoods and have the need to control. So yes, maybe there is a similarity.

Were you gutted in that famous scene with Peggy when she threw you out of the pub but didn’t use the line, “Get out of my pub!”

I am. I miss Barbara terribly. I’ve got so many memories of her through that period but yeah those words are famous now.

In a game of Twister between you and Aslan, who do you think would win?

I think neither would win but they’d have moments where one was better than the other. I feel like they both have the same strength and power to win the game

The White Witch hates Christmas. Do you?

No I like Christmas! I’ve only got Christmas Day off [with this production]. I actually really like working throughout Christmas as it feels really celebratory. My daughter, who is 16 is normally with me in the dressing room and decorates the dressing room when I’ve worked during Christmas.

In real life, who would you turn to stone?

Quite a few people actually! It would probably be unprofessional to name names. I think anyone that’s mean to anyone else. I would temporarily turn them to stone while they thought about how their actions were affecting other people.

See Samantha in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Curve 9-13 Nov.

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