Thursday 20 September 2018

Charlene's on song for her role in gritty BBC drama

Charlene McKenna pictured at the Irish premiere of 'The Great Gatsby'. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Charlene McKenna pictured at the Irish premiere of 'The Great Gatsby'. Photo: Brian McEvoy

She has starred on the screen and the stage both in Ireland and the UK and is good for a tune or two.

But don't ask Charlene McKenna (below) to take part in a musical.

The Ripper Street star proved that she is not just a talented actress when she was forced to belt out a few songs for the second series of the BBC drama, which kicked off last week.

When she is back in Dublin she is often spotted checking out the latest musical offering at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre with pal and fellow Monaghan native Aoibhinn McGinnity.

The reluctant singer is currently on stage with UK production Ghost.

However, the 28-year-old says it will be some time before she builds up the courage to sing, dance and act her way through a show.

"That will be a long way away," Charlene told the Diary. "I wouldn't say that I sing, but they have made me sing for Ripper Street."

Charlene's latest career development is centred on her character Rose's transition from a prostitute to a dancehall girl in the gritty drama.

"She gets a job in a music hall and gets on the stage," she said. "So she thinks if she bags herself a patron, she can finally turn her life round."

She had a dog chain round her neck in one scene in the opening series, but Charlene says the second season was more challenging.

"It was only more challenging because I had to sing and I don't sell myself as a singer," she said. "Apparently I have some kind of voice, but I don't see it that way."

And her voice is not the only musical talent that Charlene possesses. "Music is very much in my family, but I was never a singer.

"It was piano for me," she added.

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