Actress Rosalie Craig is the star of the forthcoming West End production of George Furth and Stephen Sondheim’s musical comedy, Company. An accomplished actress, Rosalie shares her earliest memories of London, where she goes in the city to relax and her favourite Theatreland hangouts.
How did you get your first big acting break?
I’d always wanted to work at the National Theatre, and so when I was cast in Rufus Norris’s production of London Road I was simply overjoyed. The show was something of a hit, and it led to a few more doors opening for me—both at the NT and beyond. The National is the heartbeat of theatre in the UK, and I’m proud to have worked there a good few times.
Can you recall your first impressions of London?
I vividly remember walking along the Strand and then across Waterloo Bridge with my parents when I was about thirteen. It was all rather intoxicating for a teenager, and I started to dream about living and working here as an actress.
Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming play, Company?
Company is a classic of the musical theatre cannon. A beautiful score and rich story, as you might imagine from its composer, the genius that is Stephen Sondheim. Excitingly, our production is the first that he has allowed to be altered in terms of the gender of its casting. My part, Bobbie, was written for a man, but our wonderful director Marianne Elliott has reimagined the piece for a contemporary audience. It’s so exciting to approach the show as an entirely new concept.
Talk us through a typical day in working in a West End production?
It’s all changed for me since I had my daughter, Elvie, almost two years ago. A lot of my day is spent with her (which is joyous!), and then preparing her for the evening when I’m out working. Like all working mothers, it means I have to plan and compartmentalise. Gone are the days when I could waft to a yoga class with plenty of time and then meet a friend for coffee before the show. I might dash to a class here and there to keep in shape, but it’s certainly less stress-free than it once was. In fact, most parents in the West End joke that coming to work is a break! By the time you’ve got to the theatre you’ve done an entire day’s work already.
Where’s your favourite place to have a cocktail post-performance?
There are few places better than the South Bank, especially in the summer. There are so many nooks and crannies, balconies and tucked-away bars where you can enjoy something cold and refreshing. If I’m in the West End, I might end up at Cafe Koha behind Wyndham’s Theatre. That’s a real actor’s favourite.
Where’s the best place to eat in London’s Theatreland?
J Sheekey is great for fish and famous face-spotting. If Gaby’s Deli on Charing Cross Road ever closed I’d be heartbroken. I’ve got a mind to head back to Spuntino on Rupert Street too—you can’t book but it’s so worth the wait.
Describe your perfect day in London?
Breakfast at home with my family (start time dependant upon what time Elvie wakes up!). A walk in Crystal Palace Park near where we live, followed by lunch up on Crystal Palace Triangle. I love spending time in the vintage furniture and antique shops around Crystal Palace, so an afternoon perusing those would be perfect. Maybe a yoga class and then a film. Crystal Palace has an Everyman Cinema coming in November. I couldn’t be more excited.
When you’re in need of rest and relaxation, where in London do you go?
Aside from a yoga class, I confess I just love spending time with my family. There are a couple of spots we might head to on an afternoon. Alexandra Nurseries in SE20 is a haven for people like me. Set in an old Victorian Groundskeeper’s cottage, it’s full of beautiful plants and homeware. You can sit amongst them all in their higgledy-piggledy glory and enjoy a glass of something in the summer, and in the winter clutch a mug of tea to your chest while you pick up your Christmas Tree. The same family own a furniture reclamation store right across the road called Debris—that’s also one of my happy places.
What upcoming shows are you looking forward to seeing yourself?
Fun Home at the Young Vic, and my friend Polly Findlay’s production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at the Donmar Warehouse.
Are there any secret Soho or West End spots that you think visitors should explore?
Chinatown is always worth poking your nose around in—I can never quite get enough of the sights and smells. I’m always staggered by the sheer volume of art that’s free for us all to visit in the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. And Gordon’s Wine Bar on Villiers Street has to be visited at least once in your West End existence, though you may not remember the end of the night…
When you’re away from London, what do you miss the most?
I’m a city girl at heart, so I miss the hustle and bustle. As nice as it is to get away, I never tire of London and the infinite possibilities on its streets and in its veins. It’s a wonderful city.