The face of many favourite British comedies, not to mention a particularly successful string of 1990s adverts for Philadelphia cheese, actress Sara Crowe is fast becoming a national treasure.
Known for her roles in a vast array of film, TV and theatre shows, her credits include being the first bride in Four Weddings and a Funeral, starring in BBC’s Born And Bred and winning a Best Supporting Actress Olivier Award for her stage role in Noel Coward’s Private Lives.
And this week (until February 15) she is taking to the stage at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate in another Coward play, Fallen Angels, in which she stars alongside Jenny Seagrove, playing one of two best friends who are visited by a mutual, long-lost lover.
Sara said: “It is a fun play and a great fun part, she is a complete drama queen. The whole thing escalates into a completely ridiculous situation; it is the most farce-like of all Noel Coward plays. It is so witty and sharp.”
Known predominantly as a comedy actress, Sara has developed provoking audience laughter into a fine art.
She said: “I think comedy is difficult but then, on the other hand, you have a kind of interaction with the audience in front of you. People are tickled by different things. They might laugh at something different on a Monday to what they do on a Tuesday. You can tune in to what kind of audience is in that night and what pleases them; do they recognise more of the wordy humour?”
The play includes a particularly memorable ‘drunk’ scene. But how difficult is this kind of rapid inebriation to play as an actress?
Sara said: “That was scary at first. Both characters get more and more drunk. But getting drunk over a 15-minute period on stage isn’t easy, there isn’t a lot of time.”
Despite her obvious acting talents, becoming a thespian was not always something Sara wanted to do.
She said: “It was pretty much an accident. I wanted to be a vet, I don’t know what happened. I was blown by a wind, it wasn’t a conscious decision, it wasn’t something I always wanted to do.”
It may have been the mid 1990s when Sara became the face of a successful advertising campaign for Philadelphia cheese, but the public still remembers her fondly for these appearances.
She said: “I do look back on them fondly, I wish they were still going. I have no complaints at all. I was more recognised than I used to be. When I went out anywhere people used to say ‘there is that cheese girl’. I always used to eat it when I was filming, I never had to pretend.”
As well as continuing to carve her name as a stage actress, Sara also enjoys spending her time writing. Her first novel, Campari For Breakfast, is due to be published in April.
‘Is alcohol a bit of a theme in your career at the moment?’ I joke.
“It isn’t actually about drinking,” she laughed. “I’m keeping it under wraps at the moment but it is a coming of age quest and has taken four years to write.”