Skip to main content

Karla Crome - Mush and Me

When over-anxious actresses get talking, great things can come from it.
Take what happened when former star of E4's cult hit, Misfits, Karla
Crome, met up with her friend Daniella Isaacs.

“We were both feeling depressed about our careers,” Crome says,
“because I'm a big worrier, and always think I'm never going to work
again. Daniella was feeling the same way, and after we'd been to the
theatre, we had a cup of tea, and she said she had this story about her
101 year old Great Aunt Nancy.”

Nancy Yetzes grew up Jewish in the East End of London. When she was in
her twenties, she fell in love with a non-Jewish man who proposed to
her. Yetzes turned him down, worried about what her family and the
local community might think. She has remained single ever since.
Crome's friend interviewed her Great Aunt Nancy about the experience,
which ended up inspiring Mush and Me.

“Daniella's from the orthodox Jewish faith as well,” Crome points out,
“and we wondered if there was any value in trying to find a modern
equivalent of what her Great Aunt went through.”

The result of such speculation is the Edinburgh premiere of Mush and
Me, Crome's Ideas Tap-winning play in which Isaac plays a young Jewish
woman who falls for a Shi-ite Muslim man.

“It's basically a love story,” says Crome, “and they embark on
something of a secret relationship because of their different faiths,
although in the end its their difference in faiths that unite them.”

It's 5am North Carolina time when Crome relates all this, already wide
awake and up for talking before she goes off to work. The twenty-five
year old actress is on location filming the latest episodes of Under
The Dome, a small-screen adaptation of Stephen King's novel about what
happens to the residents of a small American town after a giant dome
cuts them off from the rest of the world. Crome plays a science teacher
studying the dome.

After playing Jess, the girl with X-ray eyes who could see through
everyone in the last two series of Misfits, another role in a fantasy
show was perhaps inevitable. Not that Crome is complaining. Misfits was
an inspired potty-mouthed cross between Heroes and Skins that followed
the adventures of a group of youths on community service gifted with
special powers following a freak storm.

“The scripts were hilarious,” Crome says. “I laughed every day, and I
met some of my best friends on the show.”

Crome had already begun writing by the time she joined the show.

“I'd been farting about with it for years,” Crome says, “and then the
National Youth Theatre offered ten to twelve places to do a year-long
playwriting mentorship. You had to submit a play, and I was accepted,
and did that for a year. The intere3sting thing about that, is that
David Mumemi, who plays Mush, was also on the course, and we wrote
together.”

Out of this alliance came Our Days of Rage, a reaction to the Arab
Spring, which was performed by the NYT at the Old Vic Tunnels, with
Isaacs playing the lead role. Our Days of Rage led to the NYT
commissioning Crome to write If Chloe Can, a piece about young women's
career options which has subsequently toured universities.

“I'd like to try again,” she says of the experience of writing If Chloe
Can while away filming. “It's a very stressful process, doing rewrites
over Skype after you've started work at six and not finishing till
eight, nine or ten. You've got to be passionate about the project to
make it work,” she says, “but acting is the priority for me."

It has been since she was four, Crome says, when she would beg her
mother to take her out of secondary school and let her audition for the
Sylvia Young or Italia Conti theatre schools. Crome eventually went to
Italia Conti aged eighteen, and not long after graduating appeared at
the Royal Exchange, Manchester. On television, Crome acted opposite
Chloe Sevigny in Shameless writer Paul Abbot's six part thriller, Hit &
Miss.

Next came Murder, the BAFTA-winning TV drama that was the first
English-language piece by director  of The Killing, Birger Larsen.
Crome played the lead in a straight to camera dissection of the killing
of her character Coleen's sister and the trial that follows.

“It's the work that I'm proudest of and is most important to me,” Crome
says. “Coleen was angry, vulnerable, complex and everything you can get
your teeth into as an actor. For a twenty-three year old mixed race
woman without much experience, I've not had that many approaches to
carry the emotional weight of something in that way since.”

For all her anxieties about not working, Crome's head is full of people
she'd like to play.

“I want to play a police-woman,” she says, “I want to play a
crack-head, I want a role where I have to get really fat.”

Crome's dream role, however, is Amanda Wingfield, the disappointed
matriarch in Tennessee Williams' play, The Glass Menagerie. While she
might have a few years to wait for that one yet, it pays to plan early.
“I read somewhere that people who make lists are more likely to achieve
their ambitions,” she says. “At Christmas a couple of years ago I wrote
down that I wanted to write a play and that I wanted to work in
America, and now here I am.”

Mush and Me, Underbelly, July 31-Aug 24, 2.50-3.50pm
www.mushandme.co.uk
www.underbelly.co.uk

The Herald, August 12th

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…