No stranger to the West End, Tania Mathurin is currently right at home in the heart of Piccadilly as Ruth Monaghan in The Comedy About A Bank Robbery. She trained at Arts Ed and has enjoyed roles such as Mrs Brown in The Book of Mormon, Understudy Madame Morrible in Wicked, Mahalia in Cool Hand Luke, Lorraine and understudy Motor Mouth in Hairspray – she even won a 2004 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress along with the Ensemble of Jerry Springer the Opera.
She gave a fabulous performance as Ruth Monaghan and we were lucky enough to catch up with her the next day:
I was in the auditorium last night it was so much fun, you were fantastic and the show was amazing.
How are you enjoying the production?
Thank you! I’m really enjoying it, it’s great fun – [the cast] did a web chat yesterday talking as a group and we were saying since a lot of it is timed, especially in act when we’re all on stage – you cant really switch off! You can’t lose concentration. You do find you’re pretty much on the front foot for that 35 minutes really. But it’s so much fun!
I wondered, was the comedy a distraction during rehearsals as it’s so funny?
I’m sure there was moments! Especially when the apartment scene where there is half the cast on stage so we can watch. It’s harder when we’re all on stage together and all the crazy things are happening – as a group it’s hard for us to not laugh!
What attracted you to the show in the beginning?
I’ve done quite a lot of musical theatre and a lot of comedy. I did stepping out – a play which was my first smaller cast/ensemble comedy. I don’t think I’ve ever done a farce before. When I was growing up I was in a theatre group and the older members of the group used to perform many farces and I really enjoyed those.
I’d never seen the show, so when I first got the audition they recommended that i saw the show – which I did. I think it’s so specific that if you hadn’t seen the show you wouldn’t get that feel for it and how fast it is. It’s very heightened and not naturalistic at all. There are some nice moments with the love triangle but it’s the heightened characters and energy which you have to “get” without being crazy.
For me I watched it and it was quite embarrassing because I went on my own and I was laughing at everything. Even the parts where nobody else was! It was so exciting to think I could be a part of it, and in such a great role as well.
Do you think that in the future you might continue in the comedy niche or will you return to musical theatre?
Yes definitely – I really enjoy comedy and it’s a genre that I just love watching anyway. It’s hard – because part of me likes doing different stuff and musical theatre will always be a big part of what I do. I love musicals but I’d also like to do another play, perhaps something a little heavier.
The thing about comedy is it’s the audience that makes the show change. [On our web chat] someone asked “does the show change?”. There’s quite a lot you go through – you try not to push and sometimes you get a laugh where you have never got a laugh before. It’s a great learning experience that I’d like to do more of.
Is there a dream role that you haven’t yet played?
That’s a really hard question! At the moment – there’s always been shows that I’d love to be in, in any capacity. I watch many things and think that. Maybe it hasn’t been written yet!
What is your favourite show?
Musical theatre wise I would say I actually think Jesus Christ Superstar because I’ve just recently seen it again at Regents Park and they’ve done a great version of it. I love that show and in fact that’s one that I have always wanted to be involved in.
Away from the stage – what do you like to do?
We do have free time in the day I suppose! Most of the time it’s trying to catch up with friends, really. Usually on my day off I try to rest – at the moment we have a double show weekend – 2 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday so you tend to be quite tied on a Monday! It’s hard to have a hobby – I suppose at one time this was my hobby!
What advice would you have for anyone that wanted to follow in your footsteps?
Now, I think there’s so many different Saturday schools and performing schools. I started with a dance school where I grew up and was very serious when I was younger. I feel like some people start a bit later especially with drama. I think there’s some great local drama schools and improvisation classes. For me I did speech and drama in my LAMDA exams and I always really enjoyed that and drama classes, plus a lot of improvisation. Especially with the company I’m in now it helps you across the board and can also be really good fun!
So I’d recommend finding a local drama school and often that can lead to being part of productions too.
Find out more and keep up to date here: The Comedy About A Bank Robbery Official