Interview with Ria Jones star of Sunset Boulevard on at the Bristol Hippodrome until 13th JanuaryPosted on: 10 Jan 2018
Sunset Boulevard is currently on at the Bristol Hippodrome until the 13th January. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award-winning masterpiece stars Ria Jones, who received standing ovations every night when performing at the London Coliseum, as Norma Desmond and Strictly Come Dancing’s Danny Mac as Joe Gillis.
In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded silent-screen goddess Norma Desmond lives in a fantasy world. Impoverished screenwriter Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive world and is seduced by her and her luxurious lifestyle. Joe becomes trapped in a claustrophobic world until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free, with dramatic consequences.
With its much-loved score (including Sunset Boulevard, With One Look, As If We Never Said Goodbye, The Greatest Star Of All and The Perfect Year) this years production is utterly spectacular.
We caught up with Ria Jones to discuss everything from her first ever theatre role, to her favourite aspect of Norma Desmond’s character. She also shares some expert advice for young performers and tells about her best-loved places in Bristol.
What was your first professional theatre job?
I was aged 9 playing one of the babes in Cinderella at Swansea Grand Theatre with Clive Dunn.
Did you always want to perform on stage?
No! I wanted to be a Welsh teacher, but I did love performing from the age of three.
Who has been your biggest inspiration/idol?
What is your favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber production of all time?
Sunset Boulevard, it has to be.
You were first introduced to Norma Desmond in 1991 at an Andrew Lloyd Webber workshop, how have you developed the role now/does it feel different to play her so many years later?
It was the workshop in 1991, so it’s very different to playing her now in this full production. Also, with 26 more years of life experience I feel I’m so much more connected to Norma now.
What is the most challenging aspect of Norma’s character to play?
The role is an emotional rollercoaster and the final scenes are very traumatic and heartbreaking.
What is your favourite aspect about Norma’s character?
I love how dramatic and intense she can be!
Have you ever played a role which was difficult at all?
One role that was a challenge, was Victor Victoria, playing a woman, playing a man playing a woman!
What has been your best role to ever perform?
Norma Desmond without a doubt. Closely followed by Eva Peron in Evita.
Describe your voice in 3 words.
Powerful, emotive, and Welsh!
What advice would you give to young people wanting a professional career in theatre?
Always know your castability, know which roles you are right for and then you won’t spend your career constantly being disappointed.
If you could tell your younger self one thing what would it be?
To go to New York in my 20s and try and get my Green Card then.
Do you go out and about in Bristol much? If so, do you have a favourite spot?
Yes, I love Clifton and I’m staying with friends in Cleeve and love that area too.
Sunset Boulevard will be at The Bristol Hippodrome from 9-13 January 2018 with performances each evening at 7.30pm and additional matinee shows at 2.30pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons. Tickets available here.
Hannah recently graduated with a degree in English with Writing. She is an avid writer, freelancer and creative. She is currently writing her first full-length novel and a collection of poetry. Always out and about in Bristol's music scene, she attends music events on a weekly basis.