SOME actors spend a lifetime learning the craft, struggling, trying to find that elusive quality which will make an audience sit up and take notice, writes Mike Rowbottom. Not Suri Poulos, the star of 84 Charing Cross Road at the Kenton Theatre in Henley later this month.
Henley-based Suri starts at the point where others give up. She has bypassed all the grind and paying dues because her natural talent has been enough to shower her with awards and praise.
“It was only the second role I’ve ever taken,” she says. “The only other part I’ve played anywhere was 10 years ago in a production of Fiddler On The Roof when I played Golda.”
Suri plays the role of Helene Hanff in the transatlantic story of two book lovers who form a deep friendship over 30 years. They never meet but their increasingly personal and intimate letters make for a compelling stage drama.
“I’d read the book and seen the film and really loved those,” says Suri, “so when I was offered the chance to actually play the role of Helene my knees buckled. Helene came from more or less the same background that I do so I had a good starting point.”
Suri, born in Texas and a naturalised British citizen, played Helene last year in a production in Chesham and did enough to win herself and the show top prizes at the National Organisation of Drama Associations (NODA) Awards for the London Region.
The production comes to Henley because so many of the cast and people involved are from the area.
Suri’s husband and the show’s producer, Darrel Poulos, says: “We wanted the people around here to get to see it. It was such a great show and we are so proud of it.
“It says a lot about it that we’ve managed to keep Richard Worland in his role as Frank Doel despite his commitments as a professional actor.
“We have the same director in Mike Consden and some of the smaller parts remain the same. But we’ve also recruited local actors to take part as well.”
84 Charing Cross Road runs at the Kenton Theatre, New Street, Henley from Sept 25 to 28 including a Saturday matinée.For tickets call the box office on (01491) 575698 or visit www.kentontheatre.co.uk