Interview with Laura Best

Photography - Alexandra Pace, Sunday Circle Magazine Photography - Chris Agius Burke, The Bacchae (left) Photography - Raisa Tarasova. (Right)

Name: Laura Best

Star Sign:Virgo

Profession: Actress, Singer, Dancer, Blogger

Loves: Argentine Tango; Blogging about it

Degree: Contemporary Theatre at East 15 Acting School, London

Born: Hampshire, England to English father and Maltese mother

What role you would like to play? Christine Daaé, the female lead in Phantom of the Opera

Who are your inspirations? Who is your favourite playwright? I love murder mysteries, so Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is a definite favourite. Incidentally, this play will be performed in Malta later this year, and I’m really looking forward to watching it. As I specialised in Musical Theatre, of course, I must also mention Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim and Oscar Hammerstein II in this category!

Who is your favourite actress? Dame Maggie Smith. Her flawless comedy timing is something actresses like me can only aspire to.

Who is your favourite actor? Sir Alec Guinness. He was a great inspiration to me as a child, as he lived locally and gave me my first classes in public speaking, when I had to do the readings in Church. Even at that young age, I already knew I wanted to be a performer, and he encouraged me in that but warned me also to stay grounded, focussed and kind – advice that stays with me to this day. He was a true gentleman, and a good old-fashioned professional who just happened to be incredibly good at his job.

Who is your favourite stage performer? I really admire Bernadette Peters, who is a musical theatre performer and is able to tell a story through every song she sings. I’d love to be able to be as emotive as that in a song.

When did you start? In terms of dancing, I started that aged 4 in the local dance school, and have performed most solo disciplines over the years, with Argentine Tango being my first “partner” dance. My dad always encouraged me to write things down, so I’ve kept journals of many things in my life, and that’s how my Tango blog was born. I wanted to be able to read back the incredible journey and experiences that I’ve been having during the 5+ years that I’ve been dancing Tango. I was also singing from an early age, again with my dad, who introduced me to the greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone…

What aspects of theatre do you like most? My passion is musical theatre and comedy, but all types of performance art really interest me. I also quietly nurture a love for classical ballet, which I’ve danced many years ago but never pursued as a profession, but I find the music and dance both calming and stunningly beautiful.

What roles have you played in Malta? My first production in Malta was as Olivia in the MADC production of Twelfth Night, which opened my eyes to the incredible theatre industry that is constantly evolving in this country. In fact, one of the most memorable productions in my career so far has taken place here in Malta, which was a Greek Tragedy called The Bacchae. Under the specific and incredibly original vision of director Toni Attard, this unique production still lives on in the memory of the audiences who saw it, and has bonded the cast into a strong friendship that remains to this day. I have also performed with Unifaun Theatre and Masquerade, and played the role of Jennifer in Baron Bubblebeef’s Jennifer’s Dead music video, with Steve Hili.

What do you like to sing? My go-to song when asked to sing anything is “Night and Day” by Cole Porter, as I love the haunting melody and romantic lyrics. “Being Alive” from Company and “Unexpected Song” from Song and Dance are also favourites from the musicals.

Tell me more about Tango: Argentine Tango has been my passion and my therapy every since my first class in the UK on 11th January 2008. As I said before, it’s been responsible for some pretty major life events along the way, so much so that I decided to write about it in my blog named “Diary of a Tanguera”. This year I was also elected as the Public Relations Officer for Malta Argentine Tango Association, and so I can at last combine my PR experience with my passion for the dance and for Malta.

Can you make a living as an actress in Malta? It’s very difficult to make a sole living as an actress in any country, but especially in Malta, as the industry here is not yet able to regularly support actors in that way. The majority of actors here have a job, and mine is at an artist management company, which manages Scottish comedian Billy Connolly and some Maltese performers.