From The Archive: BWW:UK Talks To LES MISERABLES' Eponine - Samantha Barks!
This time last year, our reporter Jody Vodden interviewed Samantha Barks, who was mid-run as Eponine in the West End production of Les Miserables. We look back now at some snippets from that interview...with some pictures of her from the past year of her career!
"It's like Christmas, you get to see what everyone will unwrap and see if people will like what you have done," smiles Samantha Barks. She's talking about the challenges of learning a brand-new song to perform in an exciting new concert at the end of February.
You might think that nothing fazes Barks at all. Finishing at the young age of 17 in the top three of Andrew Lloyd Webber's contestant show Oliver! in the search for the new Nancy, and debuting in Cabaret as Sally Bowles and as the principal boy in Aladdin at the Theatre Royal in Windsor, she has evidently progressed quickly in her career in the short space of three years, and is living out, as she describes, "her wildest dreams."
She has recently landed a leading role as Zoe in an upcoming Disney television series due out later this year [Groove High], which is clearly different to what she is used to, but it means she is able to use her talent across a wide range of roles. "The character of Zoe is half-animated and couldn't be more different from all I have done before," she admits.
She's also currently playing Eponine in Les Misérables, marking the beginning of a West End career.
Les Misérables is something that Barks speaks most fondly of, depicting a passion for the show and the pleasure of being featured within the 25th Anniversary shows. Reaching a stage in front of around 20,000 people is sure to be a highlight of any actress's aspirations and her voice is highly animated when talking about the experience as a whole. "I am having the best time of my life so far, I'm doing what I have always wanted," she says.
For the first five weeks of rehearsal for the lavish anniversary concert at the O2 she worked alongside talented singer Nick Jonas who she knows, alongside brothers Kevin and Joe, already has a lot of young fans, and which evidently brought a wider audience range to Les Mis. Alfie Boe and Matt Lucas also featured, bringing a further range of audience to the respected West End show and giving Les Mis, as she describes, "a win-win situation."
Landing in what appears to be her dream role, Samantha Barks has gained opportunities that many would be highly envious of. When questioned on whether she ever feels a little starstruck at the talent that she has met, and worked alongside, throughout her journey, she remains level headed and reveals an opinion of others that would put so many admiring fans at ease. "It is so nice to see the people that I have met as totally normal, I look up to them. If I had met them and they were not like I had expected, I would have been disappointed; when you finally meet someone, and they are really nice, it's such a good feeling!"
At only twenty years old, Samantha Barks is relaxed when she speaks about her career, which she is evidently proud of, proving that success is there if you are willing and determined. Admittedly very busy at the moment with gigs and working on the current song for the show her overriding comment is how fortunate she has been: "I have been so lucky, and I appreciate everything that has come my way."
Cameron Mackintosh tells Samantha she has the role of Eponine in the movie Les Miserables
Samantha with Les Mis West End co-star Alfie Boe