From Bedford Modern to Broadway, Charlie Russell brings her new show to Bedfringe

A former Bedford High School and Bedford Modern student whose work has taken her to the West End and Broadway is returning to her hometown this week to perform at Bedfringe.

Charlie Russell is one of the founding members of Mischief – the team that created the smash-hit The Play That Goes Wrong, which has productions worldwide and spawned spin-offs and a TV sitcom.

“I’ve always enjoyed performing,” Charlie told the Bedford Clanger.

“One of my earliest memories is watching my mum in an amateur dramatics production. I just remember being so impressed with her costume!”

With a father in the Royal Navy, Charlie moved around throughout her childhood, from Scotland, the Lake District, Birmingham, Northwood and Bedford.

“Going to five different schools means that I’m quite good at meeting new people and I enjoyed getting attention from making people laugh,” she said.

After studying at LAMDA, Charlie and her friends created an improv group – and Mischief was born.

“We came up with the idea of The Play That Goes Wrong and wanted to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival,” said Charlie.

“We performed it at the Trafalgar Studios in London and by chance two producers came along. They decided to take a punt on us and took it on tour.

“From there, it went on to the West End and Broadway. You look back and think ‘these are the funniest, most talented and driven people I know and 12/13 years later we’re still making work together’.

“I knew this group of people was special!”

Charlie’s new solo show at Bedfringe is a preview for her Edinburgh slot.

Charlie Russell Aims to Please is bourne out of her fear of what people will think of her; what the audience’s opinions will be.

“I couldn’t think of an idea for the show because I was blocked by these ideas, so that became the inspiration.”

Each show is specific to the ‘likes’ of the audience, whether it’s Shakespeare or showjumping, Marvel or Monopoly.

“The aim is to make everyone in the audience happy,” said Charlie, who will be drawing on her improv background for each unique show.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back to Bedford as I’ve never performed here as a professional actor.

“It’s very exciting to come back doing the thing that I told all my school teachers that I wanted to do and to perform in front of friends and family.

“The Bedfringe team has been so supportive – I’m honoured and excited to be part of the festival.”

Charlie Russell Aims to Please is at the Quarry Theatre on Thursday 28 July at 6pm.
Tickets £12/£10 from Bedfringe.com

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