Spoonfed In The Sunday Times
Mon, 5/07/10 – 12:54 | One Comment

There’s been some frantic goings on at Spoonfed towers over the last few months and now it looks like all this hard work is starting to pay off.
Yesterday we all clambered out of bed extra …

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Alice St.Clair on BBC1′s World War One Drama, The Crimson Field
Written by | Wed, 5/02/14 – 22:40 | Features | No Comment

Alice st clair1 image by Eliza Power“I just locked eyes with a man and I think he thought I was really eyeing him up.” Actress Alice St.Clair and I are at a little Austrian cafe in Angel. She’s grinning from ear to ear and blushing profusely, half mortified, half amused as she looks out of the window posing for photographer Eliza Power. “Oh God! I was looking really dreamily into his eyes.”

 I’ve never interviewed anyone who talks as happily and easily as Alice. Her stories of living in America and filming in Bristol takes us from New York’s neatly laid out streets to LA’s obsession with cars to a field hospital in France. Her optimistic cadence is exactly what’s needed on this freezing London morning as we navigate the history and the psychology of her latest project: BBC One’s World War One drama The Crimson Field.

The Berkshire born actress, who most recently starred in Aaron and Billy Sharff’s Before I Sleep, will feature in the six-episode period drama alongside Suranne Jones, Hermione Norris and Oona Chaplin. She plays a young nurse dispatched to France as part of Britain’s Voluntary Aid Detachment.

Dressed simply in black, sporting a gold necklace and spiky, loose topknots, there’s an experimental, casual edge to Alice. Having grown up with two brothers and a sister, she shipped herself to New York at 16 for drama school and lived in LA for a while (“I don’t understand the driving culture…how much fun can that really be?”) before returning to the UK.

Alice St clair 3 image by Eliza Power

“I’d 100% encourage anyone thinking of going to school in there to do it” she says of New York, “it’s an amazing city and I really hope I end up going back there but also just as a change, to get away, it really made me grow up.” Leaving home to live independently at 16 has to be scary though? “Weirdly, I never felt vulnerable,” she says, “it may have been that teenage fearlessness. If I had to go over there now, I’d feel a lot more nervous but back then, I really didn’t feel intimidated at all.”

Home however, is still Berkshire. “I’ve been flitting around for a while, but home is still my family’s house. We all go off and do our own things but that’s home. Filming the show in Bristol meant I got to see my parents a lot, which was good, all my old stuff is there, my old memories. That said, when it comes to cities, I know New York a lot better than I know London. It helps that Manhattan is just so easy to navigate!”

Between coffees and an unexpected launch into an appreciation of all things Austrian including Stollen, she tells me about her character in The Crimson Field. “She’s called Flora and she’s not really old enough to be there,” Alice explains. “She’s only 18 but the volunteers they sent to France had to be at least 23 with three months hospital experience, so she locked herself in her room and pressured her family to lie for her.” She sounds delightful. “Ha, yes, a lot of the lines could come across as spoiled and a lot of the other characters think she might be. But she isn’t and she changes as the show goes on.”

And Flora is easy to relate to, Alice insists, “She’s so very rushed, she finds she can’t do a lot of things she thought would be easy but she sticks with it. She learns to really takes her time, she gets the task done and becomes really quite good at it. She’s got perseverance. I can relate to that”.

Alice St Clair 2 image by Eliza Power

The two seem to have even more in common when it comes to how easy they are with the people around them. “Flora’s also very good at talking to people freely. Like her patients who come in with these gaping wounds. She’s not like the others who can only focus on the injuries, she talks candidly with them and puts them at ease. I can also relate to her feeling of being foreign. She’s landed in France in this strange situation, she’s nervous and lonely. I’ve certainly felt that before.”

 Though still at the start of her acting career, Alice is gathering a stronger idea of the kind of parts she wants and actors she takes inspiration from. “One of the things I really admire about Hermione [Norris] is that she has this quite young family and yet she manages it all so seamlessly. Suranne [Jones] is brilliant, she has time for everyone, she’s so welcoming. The more I look at the actors I’ve always admired, the more I realise it’s because they are just constantly doing all these different roles. Do you know Juno Temple?” And so follows a lengthy, excited discussion about how admirably left-field Temple’s work has been since she did Atonement. Forever optimistic, still carrying more than a bit of that teenage fearlessness, get ready to see Alice St. Clair hit your screen in the most flavoursome, risky roles.

The Crimson Field will air on BBC 1 in April.

Photos: All rights reserved ©Eliza Power

Words: Naima Khan

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Interview: Lisa Dwan on taking Beckett’s most obscure works to the West End
Written by | Wed, 29/01/14 – 23:48 | No Comment

I haven’t succumbed to the onsie trend yet, which is a weird thing for an arts journalist to be thinking about during an interview with one of London’s most mesmerising stage actresses. But Lisa Dwan …

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Red Velvet: Lolita Chakrabarti on Theatre’s Frequently Forgotten Legacy
Written by | Wed, 29/01/14 – 0:00 | No Comment

Lolita Chakrabarti’s play Red Velvet is back at Tricycle Theatre until 15th March, after which it will transfer to New York City. When I spoke to her, the writer – understandably – had no idea …

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Comedians’ New Year’s Resolutions for 2014
Written by | Mon, 30/12/13 – 13:04 | No Comment

In 2014, you might be more evil than Joffrey from Game of Thrones. You cheat on your other half or drive over a cat. You buy cheap, battery-farmed chicken instead of organic, fair-trade chicken where …

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London Wine Cocktails
Written by | Tue, 10/09/13 – 17:06 | No Comment

Hey, we love a litre of Sangria as much as the next person but let’s face it, the holidays are over. It’s time to come back down to earth, remind ourselves that London’s actually pretty …

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Floating Points announce last minute show at the Shacklewell
Written by | Fri, 30/08/13 – 12:45 | No Comment

Forget about James Murphy DJing at XOYO, the really big news on the clubbing front tonight is that a certain Eglo Records founder Sam Shepherd, aka Floating Points has announced a super last-minute DJ set …

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Roachford is Bouncing Back…
Written by | Wed, 28/08/13 – 18:16 | No Comment

A few weeks back I was fortunate enough to catch a preview screening of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa in central London. In my hung-over state (this was Saturday morning by the way) I sat through …

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Listen Here: Birdskulls
Written by | Tue, 27/08/13 – 16:44 | No Comment

This probably comes as no surprise to anyone who has been reading Drowned in Sound recently, but the nineties have become hugely influential on guitar music over the last couple of years. While some corners …

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Crocodiles Sent Us a Mixtape!
Written by | Tue, 27/08/13 – 12:45 | No Comment

Crocodiles have to be one of the coolest bands in the world right now. Exploding all over the internet back in to 2009 thanks to a tip from fellow noise act No Age, they have …

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Review in pictures
Written by | Fri, 23/08/13 – 18:06 | No Comment

Mark Thompson, to put it simply, is the guy you want to be right now.  The set and costume designer for Sam Mendes’ production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mark is the man behind …

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A Boy and His Soul: An interview with Colman Domingo
Written by | Fri, 23/08/13 – 16:36 | No Comment

“I made these for you!” says Colman Domingo holding up a plate of store bought Hobnobs. On a stiflingly hot day, he is chilled out and cheerful in shorts and a vest, sporting a massive …

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Review: The Pride at Trafalgar Studios
Written by | Fri, 23/08/13 – 16:20 | No Comment

In Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride, he introduces us to polite married couple, Philip played by Harry Hadden-Paton and Sylvia, played by Hayley Atwell). Their lives in 1958 are strained under the pressure of Philip’s …

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Review: Now You See Me
Written by | Wed, 17/07/13 – 15:19 | No Comment

Wow, Now You See Me is almost as bad as Wanted. Remember Wanted (2008)? It was that inexplicably ludicrous action flick which involved Morgan Freeman deciphering messages delivered to him through a loom- an honest …

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Review: Timber! by Cirque Alfonse at Southbank Centre
Written by | Fri, 12/07/13 – 16:00 | No Comment

When was the last time you entertained as a family? I mean with you, your parents, your adult siblings and their kids, in one big multi-generational hoo ha? I ask because Cirque Alfonse, a family …

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Rubberbandits: Do You Wanna Be In My Gang?
Written by | Fri, 12/07/13 – 11:33 | No Comment

Dressed in plastic bag balaclavas, rapping about topics as varied as the IRA, spastic hawks and  glue sniffing, Irish hip hop duo The Rubberbandits (AKA Blindboy Boat and Mr Chrome) took the Edinburgh Fringe by …

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