Denise Welch, best known as a presenter on ITV’s Loose Women and for her recent Big Brother appearance, has returned to her theatre roots.
Welch, who began her career on the stage, has taken a break from our TV screens to take up the role of Catherine Robinson in the play Smack Family Robinson at the Rose Theatre in Kingston.
In recent years, her stage performances have been few and far between. But last year she made a return to the stage in Steel Magnolias, some eight years after her award-winning performance in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.
Denise jumped at the chance to play Catherine due to some hilarious similarities between the two. She says: “I see some similarities to my character – we both have a big arse! We are both funny women who share the importance of family values. The Robinson family are dysfunctional, but aren’t we all.
“Playing Catherine was something I really wanted to do. I am known for my celebrity status and presenting side but I really wanted to show off my acting skills again. I started my career with 12 years in the theatre and felt it was time to get back to my roots.”
Family drug dealing
Denise describes herself as something of a method actress so she decided to put on a few pounds for the motherly role, saying: “I thought it was only right I got into character by eating lots of cakes.”
Richard Bean’s controversial black comedy is about a middle class family living in a pleasant residential area of town, who take up drug dealing to boost the earnings from the family flower shop.
The play stars Denise as the mother and actor Keith Allen as her husband Gavin. Kate Robinson plays Denise’s character’s 18-year-old daughter Cora and Harry Melling and Matthew Wilson star as her sons.
“Fantastically dark comedy”
Denise describes the play as “a fantastically dark comedy” that manages to be funny even though it’s covering a dark topic. “It does not glamorise drugs as it is so cleverly written. I hope people come along and enjoy the play and are not put off by the subject,” she says.
Smack Family Robinson, directed by Richard Wilson, opens in Kingston on March 28 and runs until late April. After the play Denise plans to be on our TV screens with the rest of the Loose Women.
Read Denise’s full interview in The River’s next issue out 22 March.