Interview with ‘The Windmill Girls’ – Part one

Lizzy Connolly

To celebrate the recent opening of Mrs Henderson Presents at the Noel Coward Theatre in London, I spoke to three of ‘The Windmill Girls’; Lizzy Connolly, Lauren Hood and Katie Bernstein to find out how they’ve found baring all for this Great British show, kicking off with the lovely Lizzy who plays Doris

MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS. Katie Bernstein 'Peggy', Lauren Hood 'Vera', Emma Williams 'Maureen' and Lizzy Connolly 'Doris'. Photo by Paul ColtasHow have you found the show so far?

It’s been an absolute experience. I don’t think any of us girls in a million years thought we’d be taking off our clothes on stage for anything. I thought I’d probably say no, but it was just so relevant and the piece was so special and so British and historic, that it’s probably one of the only things I’d ever take my clothes off for!

How was it when you were approached to do the nudity? It must have been quite a big decision to make.

Yes it was. I think we were all in a bit of shock about it, but it was really a no-brainer. It seems so silly, as I never thought I’d say yes so quickly! But because we’d seen pictures of what the lighting was like and we’d seen the film and it’s so classy I just thought I can’t not be part of this new British show.

Have you always wanted to be in musical theatre?

I’ve always wanted to do acting and wanted to do musical theatre and plays. I want to make characters and obviously my character is in a different accent in the show, so I like to do accents and voices. The dream is to do original shows and original material because then you get to kind of create it yourself, which is an unbelievable opportunity. We’re so lucky. MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS. Katrina Kleve 'Suzanne' and company. Photo by Paul Coltas

Is the nudity element as nerve-wracking as I imagine?

I think everyone is so incredibly respectful about it, from the crew to all the dressers, and it’s such a kind team that you worry less about it. The girls (Lauren and Katie) are two of my best friends now. We share a dressing room and we could not laugh more, honestly we are wetting ourselves every day! We’re friends and I think that’s what helps us feel really natural on stage together, because it really is genuine.

Did you know each other before the show?

What’s mad is that I hadn’t met Lauren but I’d seen her on stage before I’d even gone to drama school, playing Carrie in Carousel at the Savoy, and I’d seen Katie in Urinetown and found out I’d actually met Katie at an audition. We’d had to do some partner work together, and I was the boy because I’m tall and I had to lift her up in this mental audition for some kind of panto. We all get on like a house on fire, I couldn’t have picked better friends.

Do you get as much support from the fans as you do from the cast and crew?

Yes, I think because we are such normal women, we’re proper girls. We’re not ‘Hollywood-ised’ if you know what I mean, we’re just normal. So I think that’s got a respect in itself, just being a normal person taking your clothes off. There’s an honesty in it because I think there’s something that would feel sexy about being in lingerie, but there’s something very unsexy about being nude. It’s just honest and vulnerable.

Click here to buy tickets to Mrs Henderson Presents.

Images: Paul Coltas

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