The ‘Walford witch’ has finally left the East End, and now you’ll be seeing Charlie Brooks in a wholly different incarnation.
The actress has appeared in episodes of The Bill, Jonathan Creek and, of course, EastEnders, but she’s appearing in Beautiful Thing this spring, including a spell at Nottingham Playhouse from April 20 to May 9.
The play follows two young men, Jaimie and Ste, and their blossoming romance in an inner city housing estate. Together, the two boys find comedy, warmth and the music of Mama Cass through their loud-mouthed next door neighbor Leah. Brooks plays Sandra, Jamie’s mum and the local barmaid.
“What doesn’t attract me to the play?” Brooks grins. “I was obsessed with the film when I was a kid, I watched it like 100 times, I was one of the cult followers really. I remember seeing Suranne (Jones) in the play last year and going ‘ooh, I want to do that, put me in it! Lo and behold, a year or two later here I am, so it’s like a dream come true.”
It’s hard for bubbly Brooks to pinpoint exactly why the iconic play resonates with her - “Just the content of the story,” she starts. “I went to theatre school where I had lots of gay friends - I had a boyfriend that was gay!” she laughs. “So it’s always been important, the performances in the film were just amazing and it’s a great character for me, so it’s a really big draw all round really.”
Could the role of strong young mum Sandra be a happy fit for Brooks? “Are you saying I’m a feisty single mum?!” the actress laughs. “What I’m hoping to do is to bring a great deal of warmth to it, know what I mean? She’s feisty, she’s loud, she’s not afraid to speak her mind, she’s had a hard life and fought to be where she is, fought to bring up that little boy, so the relationship that they have is one that’s very special in the end.”
Calling this, “completely different” from the television work for which she is best known, however, Brooks is feeling the nerves. “With learning lines in Eastenders, they go in very quickly, it’s in and out because it’s so quick and so fast paced. I haven’t done a great deal of theatre so this is all quite new, but it’s so exciting.”
Ticket details for Beautiful Thing during its stay at Nottingham Playhouse are available on 0115 9419419.
n Charlie Brooks will star as Sandra in Beautiful Thing, touring the UK from March 23. www.beautthing.com