Mollie Melia-Redgrave is currently starring as the female lead, Emma Fairfax in the UK tour of Doctor Dolittle which brings the classic film to the stage and introduces us to a host of marvellous animals. Mollie spoke to Rewrite This Story about her part in the show, what audiences can expect and her advice for aspiring performers…
Can you tell us a little bit about Doctor Dolittle and what we can expect?
Doctor Dolittle is such a family show, brought to life through the pages of the book. We have 36 amazing puppets and a mesmerising ensemble. There’s something for everyone to learn from it, and it is a story that comes from the heart.
You’re playing Emma Fairfax, what’s she like as a character? Are you alike in any way?
Emma really knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to stick up for what she knows is right. She would go to the ends of the earth to fight for justice. Her only family mentioned is her Aunt so I don’t think she has many people supporting her and has just ended up working for her Aunt out of convenience. Therefore when she meets the doctor and Matthew she sees a completely new outlook on life. But it’s a tough choice to choose between family and the heart. She really comes to life once she lets her hair down.
Emma and I have a few similarities. She is very defensive and I’m sure I can be at times, I hate feeling unjustified. I’m awful at confrontation, however, Emma is the first to speak up. I’d say our biggest similarity is that we are both super passionate and wear our hearts on our sleeves.
You’ve previously toured with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, what are your favourite and least favourite parts of touring?
My favourites are the fact we can explore new cities I’ve never been to and would never have the opportunity to spend two weeks there. Also doing it with a great bunch of friends. I don’t really have a least favourite but I guess it’s organising the digs haha!
Puppets are a key part of this production, what has the process of learning to work and move with them been like? Fascinating. Watching Jimmy, our puppet director, bring them to life is crazy. Our ensemble have worked effortlessly on making all this happen and they really are the best! When a puppeteer holds a puppet you genuinely stroke it or interact with the puppet without realising it’s not real.
Have you got a favourite puppet in the show? My favourite at the moment are the seals. They make my heart melt. However you’ve got to love them all. Especially Jip, Chee Chee and Gub Gub.
Can you sum up Doctor Dolittle in five words? Never seen anything like it.
If you had a magic wand, which show would you do next? I would do anything to work for Disney. However at the moment I’d love to play Sylvia in Finding Neverland.
If you could go back to any era, when would you go to and why? 40’s for sure!!! The classic movies, the fashion, the history, the achievements, the romance!
What’s your top piece of advice for aspiring performers? Be yourself. Everyone is equal and everyone has a life outside of this world so focus on you and don’t try to change. Also enjoy whatever it is you are striving for, life is too short.
A huge thank you to Mollie for taking the time to chat to us. Doctor Dolittle is currently touring the UK until 2nd November 2019. All dates and info can be found here.
Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell