With The Grinning Man previews imminent and tech rehearsals in full force, our walls have been vibrating non-stop with the dulcet tones of the company in practice. Here we caught up with rising star Gloria Obianyo to hear all about her experiences so far.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I just finished my drama school training this summer at Rose Bruford and was able finish early to go into my first professional job which was Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre so I’m happily learning as I’m working. I grew up in London, still live there now, and I’m an avid watcher of all things cultural. Fun fact; I don’t like chocolate!
You’re playing Lady Trelaw. Without giving too much away, how would you say you fit into the world of The Grinning Man?
I look at Lady Trelaw as being Grinpayne’s moral anchor. There’s a moment in Act 2 where he’s about to make a choice you can’t come back from and it’s his mother who forces him to reconsider his choices.
In your acting career, you’ve become quite a feature of established musical theatre. What’s it been like tackling a role in a new musical production?
It’s been challenging. I’ve never really done a new piece before and so I’ve had to keep up with the new scripts and scores that come in and try to forget about the old ones because nobody wants to have multiple versions in their head. Talk about multiple universes. It’s also been amazing to see how much a story can develop over time and how we the cast have had just as much input in those changes.
What’s it like working with Tim and Marc and what’s the atmosphere been like in the rehearsal room?
They’re both very open to rearranging the music to match where someone’s voice sits best and I adore that because sometimes you’ll be singing in a part of your voice that isn’t the richest part and when Mark, Tim or Tom (Deering, our Musical Director) ask where you’re most comfortable you feel like it really is a collaboration. You’re working together to get the best out of the music.
Do you have a favourite song within the show?
I absolutely adore the song ‘Labyrinth’. The orchestration is fantastic and it really moves you when you listen to it. It also doesn’t hurt that Louis is such an accomplished singer and brings so much emotion to it when he sings. It’s brilliant.