Charlotte Page plays the smiling, rhyming, yellow-admiring Alice Beineke, the marvellous motherly foil in the vein of an over-anxious Avon lady to the vampy Addams matriarch Morticia in The Addams Family UK Tour. Here she is talking family, performance, and favourite moments before opening night at the Bristol Hippodrome.
U: When you're touring and away from your own home and family, what's it like being part of such a family-oriented show?
CP: Well, I’ve only got a husband and the cat and some hedgehogs at home, so for me it’s always a joy to be faced with hundreds of happy families out in the audience. I find it quite difficult missing my solitary husband and he finds it difficult missing me, but I do get to see him almost every weekend and sometimes he comes out to visit me as well, so that’s lovely.
U: And how are you finding the tour so far?
CP: It’s really so lovely because it’s so well received everywhere. I’ve never been in such a consistently well-received show where audiences are, more often than not, [giving] standing ovations and lots of laughter and it’s a real feel-good show. You catch it on stage – it’s infectious! It’s a really happy company. Touring in general is quite difficult usually but when you’re with such a lovely show, you gain its energy, so it sort of carries you through, like a hovercraft!
U: We’re excited to be picked up by it too! What's your favourite moment in the show?
CP: I think it’s when Gomez sings ‘Happy Sad’. It’s a really beautiful moment and it’s really touching. I’m a sucker for the touching moments! It’s just a moment [where] he can see he’s losing his daughter to adulthood, and it makes him happy that she’s a beautiful young woman, and it makes him sad that, as a father, his job is almost over. [Cameron Blakely] sings it so beautifully and it’s a really lovely, lovely moment. It’s magical. I think that’s my main favourite moment [but] there’s so many! Carrie singing ‘Pulled’ is like being next to somebody world-class singing the song they’re meant to sing. She’s astonishing. She is a real phenomenon, absolute phenomenon. It really is a privilege to share the stage with her because she’s so good!
U: From the other characters you’ve played in your career, who do you think Alice is the most like?
CP: Oh gosh, that’s quite difficult! I suppose, weirdly – and this is very, very weird – because I have a sort-of mad scene in this, Lucia di Lammermoor [from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti], although I don’t go around murdering people! Or, I suppose, even Sally in Follies. She’s got that mid-life crisis, neurotic thing going as well. A little less extreme [than Lucia]!
U: Do you channel any characters in your portrayal? What inspires you onstage?
CP: There are little moments, every so often – but I don’t think anybody would notice them – of a lady called Joyce Grenfell. She was a wonderful actress and comedienne in the forties and fifties and sixties, and she played characters [like] Lumpy Latimer and Miss Gossage [from the 1950 film The Happiest Days of Your Life] and [Sergeant Ruby Gates] in St Trinians, the old black and white movies, and there are moments in the gawky and ungainly aspects [of Alice] where I channel Joyce Grenfell. But I tend to channel Joyce Grenfell in everything! There’s always a moment of gawkiness even when I play something romantic. She’s my main girl. Otherwise, I just channel the nether-regions of Charlotte Page!
U: Moving on from Alice, if you could be any member of the Addams Family, who would it be and why?
CP: Oh, Morticia! Absolutely Morticia! She’s sexy, she’s cool, she’s seemingly in control. Love is her life, her passion – I mean, who wouldn’t want to be Morticia and tango three times a week? Heaven!
U: Absolutely! From onstage to offstage, who's the 'kookiest' member of the cast?
CP: Ooh! Well, probably Cameron Blakely who plays Gomez. He has got the energy of a hundred men and the sense of humour of all the comedians in the world. He is an energy force, he is absolutely crazy, he does something different every single night and we’re all biting our cheeks trying not to laugh because he’s an absolute comic genius onstage and off. He’s so dry offstage you think, ‘is he joking?’, and then he’ll do a little twinkle and you realise he is. He’s just a genius comedian, on and off.
U: Finally, I’d love to know if you’ve ever felt like an Underdog in your career, and what advice would you give to other underdogs?
CP: I was definitely a comedian at music college, The Royal Academy of Music. I had no self-esteem whatsoever, didn’t believe I had any chance because everybody else arrived seemingly so confident. But gradually, as time went by, I found there were things that I could do that other people couldn’t, and, bit-by-bit, I grew from being an underdog. But I pretty much was an underdog throughout most of my college time. And I always feel like an underdog at every audition I do. You never expect anything. You arrive and you just try your hardest because otherwise you’re never going to get past the first hurdle. Whereas, in actual fact, by just getting an audition you’re past the first hurdle, so you’re not really an underdog! But it’s a state of mind. I try to quash the underdog feeling these days, I’m older and wiser and realise that nobody’s really an underdog once they’ve found their true way; what’s the one thing that you can do better than everybody else, and [once] you find out what it is, you just know that as long as you’re doing your best, it’s the best!
Thank you to Charlotte for taking the time to talk to us! You can see her in the show on the UK Tour at the Bristol Hippodrome until the 23rd September, and then at:
New Victoria Theatre, Woking – 26th-30th September
Grand Opera House, Belfast – 3rd-7th October
Glasgow King’s Theatre – 10th-14th October
Wolverhampton Grand – 17th-21st October
Milton Keynes Theatre – 24th-28th October
Orchard Theatre, Dartford – 31st October-4th November
Interviewed and transcribed by Leah Tozer.