Skip to main content

Ruth Connell - Supernatural

Fans of long-running cult American fantasy series Supernatural will have spotted a new arrival in its tenth season, currently airing on E4 in the UK. The red-haired woman called Rowena may not have said anything during her first appearance sitting in her hotel room at the end of the episode, Soul Survivor, which aired last month. The two men hanging from the ceiling above her impaled by stakes, however, spoke volumes about her demonic intent.

As fans of the show will find out when Rowena makes her presence fully felt in the season's eighth episode, Girls, Girls, Girls, on November 25th, what turns out to be a 400 year old matriarch with some very important progeny also speaks with a Falkirk accent. This comes in the form of thirty-six year old actress Ruth Connell, who was last seen on these shores playing Mrs Beaver in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh back in 2008, but who now seems to have entered an even more fantastical realm.

“Rowena is this powerful witch trying to reclaim her power-base,” Connell says on a break from filming the eleventh series of Supernatural in her first UK newspaper interview since she first appeared on American screens a year ago. “She turns up and creates havoc, and gets caught and tortured, but she's not just a baddie or nasty for the sake of it. There's humour there, and I can be playful with Rowena., especially after a manager I had a couple of years ago told me that I looked like I probably should play a witch.”

Connell's career was marked out from when she was a child growing up on her parents farm in Bonnybridge, when, having been packed off to accompany her younger cousin to dance classes, Connell found a natural aptitude for it. She appeared as Clara in Scottish Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, and danced in pantomime before studying drama in London.

Connell toured in a production of Ena Lamont Stewart's play, Men Should Weep, played Helen of Troy in Faust at the Royal Lyceum, and appeared in Alex Norton's production of No Mean City at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow.

Once she moved to America, it was Connell's voice which initially paid dividends when she was picked to be voice match for Merida, the flame-haired princes played by Kelly Macdonald in Disney Pixar's animated feature, Brave. With Supernatural, however, it is Connell solely in the spotlight.

“It's honestly been one of the best years of my life,” she says. “Eighteen months ago I couldn't get an audition, and now here I am, this girl from a farm in Bonnybridge on network American TV and going to fan conventions all over the world.”

One of these brought her back to the UK for an event called Asylum, held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

“I really was pinching myself,” says Connell, “because six or seven years earlier I'd done a convention when I was working for a PR company, and now here I was signing autographs in the same room I'd helped set up.”

Given that Supernatural is known for killing off its characters in the goriest of ways, both Connell and Rowena's future with the programme is far from certain. While Connell won't be drawn on how things pan out, the fact that Rowena is known to fans to become integral to future plots suggests she'll be haunting our screens a while yet.

“She's involved in quite a pivotal way,” Connell teases. “especially in the finale. Rowena's a lot of fun to play. It's definitely the most fun I've ever had in an evening gown.”

Despite such high profile exposure, Connell expresses a desire to work more in Scotland, particularly onstage with the likes of the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Lyceum. Filming prevented her taking up an invitation to appear in a scene that formed part of the latter theatre's recent fiftieth anniversary celebrations, though a couple of years ago Scotland came to America when Connell was asked to be voice coach on a production of Linda McLean's play, Sex and God.

“That was one of the best things that happened to me before Supernatural,” she says. “I'd admired Linda's work for years, and suddenly I'm sitting next to her in a little black box theatre in L.A. But it would be great to do something like that back home as well, and why not? I've a house in London, a family in Scotland, I'm filming in Vancouver and I'm living in L.A, so I don't see why I can't combine all that with working in Scotland as well.”

Supernatural airs on E4 on Wednesdays at 10pm.
www.channel4.com

The Herald, November 17th 2015

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…

Bdy_Prts

Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
Saturday December 2nd


It should probably come as no surprise that professional dancers are in the audience for the Edinburgh leg of this mini tour by spectral performance art/pop auteurs Bdy_Prts on the back of the release of their sublime debut album, The Invisible Hero. Beyond the music, the raison d’etre of Bdy_Prts’ dynamic duo of Jill O'Sullivan and Jenny Reeve, after all, is a flamboyantly costumed display of kinetic physical jerks and modernist shape-throwing to illustrate a set of fizzing machine-age chorales.

In this sense, the Bdy_Prts live experience is several works of art for the price of one that's a long way from the pair's formative work fronting Sparrow and the Workshop (O'Sullivan) and Strike the Colours (Reeve). Part living sculptures, part Bloomsbury Group super-heroines, part widescreen pop fabulists, O'Sullivan and Reeve paint their faces with ancient symbols and sport customised shoulder pads that look both seasonally …

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…