The Fame Reporter interviewed established Australian performer, Lucy Maunder starring as Mrs. Bucket in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Musical. Playing in Brisbane from 2 – 26 September at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre.
Lucy has cemented her reputation as one of Australia’s musical theatre leading ladies. When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, she was about to preview at Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre QPAC in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (GFO) as Charlie’s mum Mrs Bucket, which had just finished two very successful seasons in Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Theatre and Sydney’s iconic Capitol Theatre. She was nominated for a 2019 Helpmann Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the show.
We talked to Lucy about what enticed her to want to join Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, grateful for her third show since the shutdown, roles that have impacted her and more.
Welcome to The Fame Reporter Lucy, what drew you to be involved in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical?
I have always been a huge fan of Roald Dahl growing up, I loved the books and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the Gene Wilder version. It was always one of my favourite movies during my childhood as well. I had just finished a tour of Matilda the Musical and saw the auditions for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I went in for the audition in 2018. Then I got the part and we started rehearsals in late 2018.
We did the show for about 19 or 20 months and we were all set and ready to open the show in Brisbane then COVID sent us home. That was nearly 18 months ago so it is fantastic to be back up here and hopefully all going well we will open in September.
We have been up here for rehearsals the past couple of days so it is really great to be back in the room.
What do you love about your character Mrs. Bucket and what have you learnt from her thus far?
Mrs. Bucket is a very warm, very compassionate character, I feel like she is sort of the anchor to Charlie and his dreams and aspirations. She is a realist but she is very loving and a kind maternal role.
I have a couple of beautiful songs to sing and it is really great to work with all of the boys that play Charlie.
All the Brisbane boys are fantastic and I am so happy for them that they get to finally do the show because none of them got to perform it last year.
It is all of the same boys that we were going to have. They are all really different but very talented. One of them was one of our boys in Melbourne and he has come up to Brisbane so he has already performed the show for about 6 or 7 months.
If you were an inventor at a factory, what do you think you would create?
I would probably invent a bowl of pasta that never ends but also never appears on your hips. Calorie free fast food. Luckily for me I am not that into sweets, so chocolate is not much of a love of mine. If it was Charlie and the Cheese factory I would be in trouble.
What do you love about the Queensland theatre scene?
I always find the audiences in Brisbane very responsive and warm. All of the shows I have done here has just been the highlight of the tour. I am assuming Charlie will be no different. I am sure Queensland audiences are going to love it.
We finish our season up here in Brisbane in school holidays and that is always a lovely time because the kids adore the show.
It is a really fun show and the Oompa Loompas are amazing. It is a really uplifting show and really inspiring for kids to see a cast led by a child as well and the fact that he is the only child in the show.
All of the other golden ticket winners are played by adults, which is really special that Charlie is the only child.
What is the most rewarding and challenging part of this show?
The most rewarding part of the show is the children’s faces in the audience and seeing how it can impact their lives, when they are so young it is always really special. The challenge is we will have ended up doing the show for nearly 2 years. Sometimes it is challenging to do the same show 8 or 9 times a week.
But it’s super special because every audience is different and it is a really great company of people and really fun material to work with.
We a beautiful score which is lovely to sing and the audience sounds amazing – it is really bright and colourful. It is a super fun show to be apart of.
What 3 performers dead or alive would you love to have a dinner party with?
Audra MacDonald, Sutton Foster and Gavin Creel.
What role have you embodied that has stuck with you or has changed you the most?
I have been super lucky with the roles I have been able to play. My favourite was probably Rizzo in Grease. It was such a fun show to be apart of, that role is just fierce and fabulous. She also has a lot of vulenurability and is super complex.
I also loved playing Cynthia in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. That character was very dry and funny but also had heaps of heart behind it. Recently I enjoyed embodying Allison in Fun Home for Sydney Theatre Company, that was an amazing show to be apart of and an important piece of theatre at the moment. That was a different challenge in itself because I didn’t leave the stage the entire time and as Allison I watched her memories unfold before my eyes but not actually interacting with anybody until the end of the show.
I am super grateful to be in the right place at the right time for these roles. I have been really lucky, since COVID this will be my third show.
I came out and opened the theatre scene again with Pippin in Sydney in November, then straight into Fun Home and now Charlie in Brisbane.
I feel very lucky looking at the state of what is happening in the country right now. I think we are all super grateful to be up here and actually working.
Why should audiences come along and see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
It is a fantastic show for all ages. It has a lot of darkness in that Roald Dahl kind of storytelling. It is very macabre in places but it is also really fun for kids.
The show has brilliant sets, costumes, an amazing score, the performers are wonderful. I believe it is a brilliant all-round night at the theatre.
Fame Reporter Word Play
Favourite role you’ve ever played
Everlasting Gobstopper or Wonka Bar
Wonka Whipple Scrumptious Fudgemellow Delight
Favourite mantra when you are down
This too shall pass
Lesson from 2020’s craziness
Hold your loved ones close
Any secret talents
I used to work in a cheese shop so I am a cheese munga
Favourite song in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The view from here
Dressing Room necessity
Can’t live without
Place you want to travel to
Continue to work
TV Show Binge
Sex and the City
Finally, favourite thing about performing
The joy of being on stage, it is very special
Thank-you for joining us at The Fame Reporter and we wish you all the best for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Musical!
2 – 26 September 2021
All photos and videos – Supplied