Victoria Hamilton-Barritt aka the gloriously vicious Stepmother from Cinderella took the time to tell us all about featuring on a GRAMMY nominated album and receiving an Olivier nomination for the show, as well as dream roles, proudest moments and more. Let’s take a look at what the scene-stealing Stepmother had to say!
Hi Victoria, it’s so great to speak with you! Firstly, congratulations on the Olivier nomination for your role as The Stepmother in Cinderella. What does it mean to you to be nominated?
It means an awful lot. It’s been a busy few years building this role of the Stepmother and to see that my efforts have received a nod from the guild is completely overwhelming!
Speaking of awards, how does it feel to feature on a GRAMMY nominated album (also for Cinderella)? How was the process of recording the album?
That was actually a massive surprise, as I never imagined anything like this happening. I’m still trying to understand how it all works but I’m ecstatic of course. The process of recording the album was a lot of fun but very unusual. Because of the pandemic, we had to record in a socially distanced set up, which strangely added to the excitement of it all.
Did you always want to be a performer? If not, what did you want to be when you were younger?
I actually worked at London Zoo for 4 years! I started out with 30 other kids and we were all volunteers. I was the only one who stuck it through as it’s massive hard work and you stink at the end of every day, but I loved it. The staff were very surprised and always checked in on me as I was the only one left. They told me they were looking forward to training me up as a zookeeper, and planned a future for me. I was so happy there, and they recognised how much I loved animals and the culture at the zoo (as it’s not for everyone). You’d be shovelling donkey poo in the snow and your feet would be blocks of ice – I’ve never felt pain like it, but I was so focused and just had to be there. In the end, this performer side of me needed more dedicated hours and that’s when I had to choose between the two.
Let’s talk more about your role in Cinderella. How would you describe The Stepmother in 3 words?
What’s your favourite one-liner from The Stepmother in the show?
“Well I can’t take all the credit for that, you’re a natural”, which The Stepmother says to Cinderella when she tells her that the only thing she ever learned from her was how to be a b****!
If you could play another character in the show, who would it be and why?
Most probably Prince Charming. I love silly and Prince Charming as a character is very silly!
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened, either on stage or behind the scenes of Cinderella? Have you ever had to try not to laugh while in character?
Something funny happens pretty much every day. I love watching how myself and the cast deal with the unexpected when something that shouldn’t happen happens. Like certain props aren’t brought on stage, things are forgotten like lines or when things just don’t work out like they should. I love watching how the company reacts in those moments, as that’s when real reactions and excitement stirs.
What would be your dream role in the West End (or beyond)?
I’ve always wanted to play Sally Bowles in Cabaret but also Dina in The Band’s Visit. I’m still surprised that the show will be coming to The Donmar later in the year. It’s a good one!
Besides Cinderella, what’s your favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and why?
It has to be Starlight Express. As a child, I would pay £5 to stand at the back when it was at The Victoria Apollo all those years ago. I’ve seen it far too many times… more than one should!
Lastly, what’s been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I was invited to Buckingham Palace to celebrate young talent in the industry. It was me alongside people like Helen Mirren, Michael McIntyre and the like. I was invited but without a plus one, and I’ve never been so nervous and confused as to how I had been invited. We ate, drank and watched a show where a tour theatre had prepared some Shakespeare and some other pieces. It was incredible, except I lacked personality that day as I was a fish out of water – especially when I shook hands with the Queen, Prince Phillip and Andrew.
Another proud moment was walking into the Waldorf Hotel to see a massive 15 foot ice sculpture of me standing in the center of the ballroom from when I was playing Alex from Flashdance. But life has an extraordinary way of keeping you humble, as 9 months later I was back there serving canapés in the same spot to celebrities.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us Victoria, and we’re keeping everything crossed for you at both the upcoming Olivier and Grammy awards.
To see the Stepmother in action, make sure to get your tickets for Cinderella below: