Sioned Saunders plays Gina in Amélie The Musical as it transfers to the west End’s Criterion Theatre, following its run at the Watermill Theatre, a critically acclaimed sell-out tour in 2019, a highly successful Christmas season at The Other Palace in 2019, a Grammy nomination and 3 Olivier Award nominations.
The five – time Oscar®-nominated film is brought to life by a cast of actor-musicians and set to a critically acclaimed re-orchestrated score. With music by Hem’s Daniel Messé, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messé and book by Craig Lucas, this musical adaptation of the five-time Oscar®-nominated film written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, is directed by Michael Fentiman
You’ve just opened in the West End in the cast of Amelie, how would you describe this musical?
Amelie is a story of isolation and disconnection and trying to find a way out into a world that is connected. It’s a gorgeous tale of exploration, love and self discovery.
After the year we’ve had, why do you think this musical about little acts of kindness is the perfect one to be at the forefront of reopening the West End?
This past year has brought different challenges to everybody and finding our own way back into life is both daunting and overwhelming. Even the smallest act of kindness can feel like a vital helping hand in supporting each other to readjust to life both in work and play.
You were part of the original production at Watermill Theatre, how does it feel to be returning to the show at The Criterion Theatre?
Yes, it was over 2 years when we started this amazing journey at The Watermill while I was pregnant. Coming back into the show as a mum to my gorgeous little girl, and opening it at The Criterion feels like a dream. I loved the show from the outset and it will always have a special place in my heart as Rosie has been a part of it every step of the way.
Has it changed much since that original run?
Every show develops naturally as time goes on, but Amelie is essentially very true to what we developed back in 2019 and has really kept the heart and soul that we found back then. It was quite amazing to come back into the rehearsal room and it certainly didn’t take long to feel like I was part of the family again.
How have rehearsals been going?
Coming back to work after such a strange year for us all was so overwhelming in every way. To be back in a rehearsal room with like minded people who were all desperate to be creative and find our purpose once again has been so inspiring and refreshing. It is an exceptionally talented and supportive cast which makes the rehearsal room a very easy and comfortable place to be.
What’s your favourite thing about playing Gina in Amelie the Musical?
I love that I am still able to explore Gina as a character as she has so many layers to her that I am finding every day. She is a strong independent woman and although she has a very vulnerable side, she is still full of sass and bite which is always fun to play with.
Tell us what measures are in place to keep audiences, cast and crew safe?
The routines and safety measures which include testing, temperature checks and socially distanced audiences are slick and well organised and brilliantly implemented by the theatre and the producers, which makes the theatre a safe and happy place to be.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking tickets to see Amelie?
Come along! Amelie is a show full of heart and feels like our little gift of kindness to everyone as the world reopens.