With the West End transfer of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole in its first week of previews at Ambassadors Theatre, Sussex-based Charlie Stripp is one of four actors alternating the role of school bully Barry. Earlier this year, Charlie finished the run of his West End debut in Les Misérables as Gavroche and has previously been seen performing at The Hawth theatre in Crawley on numerous occasions. Speaking to Charlie, he tells us about his West End debut, performing at The Hawth theatre and his new role as Barry in Adrian Mole the Musical.
What are you looking forward to for playing Barry in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole the Musical?
I’m looking forward to playing Barry because I have never played a character like this before and is far removed from my own character.
When and how did you find out you’d booked the part?
The day after the audition, my mum got a call but at the time I was with a friend who had no idea that I had been to the audition so as desperate as I was to keep asking her if she had heard, I had to wait. Literally as the front door shut, I asked her straight away and I couldn’t believe it when she told me the news. I was so happy.
Are you familiar with the Sue Townsend books and how much did you research about the series before auditioning?
I started reading the book a week before the audition, I also looked up some of the old TV series on YouTube. I’m currently reading “Growing Pains” which is the next book, they are funny.
How did you find the rehearsals?
Rehearsals are so much fun and everybody can’t wait to get performing.
It can be hard work some days as there is so much to learn and take in and this is very different from anything I have done before.
With Barry being the school bully, how are you preparing for getting into character?
I think of something that makes me angry and then I channel that anger into my character.
Do you have a favourite song from the soundtrack?
Yes, at the moment I would say it’s Take a Stand because it gets you up on your feet and is sung by the whole cast and comes across so powerful. Although I love all the songs.
📷 : Pamela Raith
How do you think the role will differ to your previous work?
In the past, I’ve always played a likeable, cheeky character. So, this is definitely very different to any other role I’ve played.
What’s it like being part of the cast?
It’s so enjoyable working alongside the adults and the other children. Everyone is so nice and we’re all having so much fun.
How long have you been training for your acting career?
I was four when my parents took me to our local Pantomime and I just turned around and said, “that’s what I want to do”. I started off doing dancing and then joined a Drama group.
I was seven when I was in my first Pantomime.
How did you find your time as Gavroche in Les Misérables?
It was my best theatrical experience so far. I got to work alongside and learn from so many talented people. As I was there for eighteen months, they became my Theatre Family which I will never forget. I made some good friends whom I stay in touch with and we support each other in our new adventures.
You’ve performed at The Hawth in Crawley, can you say about the productions you’ve appeared in?
It was great fun and gave me my first taste of a large professional show. Every year, Ariel Drama Academy, where I do my training, put on their Showcase at The Hawth. In 2016 I played Tootles in Peter Pan alongside Emma Barton and Shaun Williamson.
Do you get chance to see many West End shows and if so, which have you seen recently?
Not as often as I’d like, but recently, I have seen Hamilton, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Matilda, all of them for the second time. Watching West End shows is something I will always enjoy.
I’m hoping to watch Les Misérables again soon and of course, can’t wait to see Adrian Mole The Musical.
Book to see ADRIAN MOLE THE MUSICAL at Ambassadors Theatre until 12th October 2019 www.adrianmolethemusical.com (child cast vary on performances)