Think of a famous West End musical… Gina Beck has probably appeared in it. She’s played Christine in The Phantom Of The Opera and Cosette in Les Misérables. She was also perky and popular as Glinda in Wicked.
Now she’s starring in another of London’s major musical hits, the record-breaking Matilda The Musical.
Beck plays Miss Honey in the award-winning stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story. It follows a young girl, unloved by her parents and bullied by her headmistress, who finds solace in books and discovers she has unusual powers.
Gina Beck tells us more:
What is Matilda The Musical about?
Matilda The Musical is about an exceptional little girl, who has many talents. The greatest of these is standing up for others against what is wrong and unjust.
You play Miss Honey, what can you tell us about her?
Miss Honey is Matilda’s teacher. She’s a very good and kind teacher who needs Matilda’s help to stand up to the mean and cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull.
What first caught your imagination about this show?
I think this musical is a work of genius. Not one second of it hasn’t been carefully and exquisitely realised, from Tim Minchin’s amazing score and Dennis Kelly’s book, to Peter Darling’s mind-blowing choreography. Having worked with the creatives, I can see just how much thought went into creating it.
There’s a famous saying about never working with children or animals. How have you found working with Matilda The Musical’s talented child cast?
I love working with the children. What surprises me most is just how authentic their acting is. Perhaps we are all born with the ability to be convincing actors, but our adult brains get in the way. I love the fact that the children make every show a different experience.
What’s it like to perform at the Cambridge Theatre?
I think of all the places I’ve worked, this is the one where I know the most people. As Miss Honey exits the stage through the auditorium a couple of times, I’ve got to know the lovely front of house staff too.
What was your first experience of theatre?
It was probably seeing an amateur dramatics production in my village hall. I must have been very little as I remember the experience being quite scary. I saw one of the actors backstage still in makeup and the image has stayed with me!
Why is watching a live performance so special?
Live performances are so special because there is something magical about being inside the world of a story and watching real people experience it in front of you.
What one piece of advice would you give aspiring performers?
Apart from the Cambridge Theatre, which is your favourite London theatre?
My favourite London theatre is the London Coliseum. I used to work in the front of house team there, and the building is just magnificent.
Why do you think London is such a great place to experience theatre?
London has such a varied and ever-changing programme of options under the umbrella of theatre. There is so much going on for all different budgets. Plus the old theatres are gorgeous!
Which one other London show are you excited about at the moment?
Sadly, having a baby at home, I don’t have any time to go to the theatre these days outside of work. If I could, I would love to see Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.
Where is your favourite place to visit in London?
My favourite place to visit in London is Kew Gardens. I recently bought an annual pass so my family and I can go there all the time. It’s so beautiful. I’m also in the love with the Tower of London and all the history that goes with it.
What’s your top tip for a trip to the theatre?
Don’t bring sweet packets that rustle! 😉