Sadie Frost might be best known as Jude Law’s ex-wife, Kate Moss’ BFF or a founding member of London’s fast-living Primrose Hill set. But she’s returning to an even earlier identity: actress.
Back in the Eighties, Frost appeared in the Nicholas Hytner-directed play “Mumbo Jumbo,” followed by several films. Now she stars in Zoe Lewis’ one-woman show “Touched…For the Very First Time” at Trafalgar Studios in London running through Saturday.
The 90-minute performance, set in protagonist Lesley’s girly teenage bedroom, tells the story of a 36-year-old woman who has been obsessed with Madonna since the release of “Like a Virgin” in 1984. The play covers Lesley’s life from the Eighties to the present day, with a soundtrack and costume changes — from ripped jeans and tutus to “Hung Up” leotards — to match. Lesley tries both to mirror the Material Girl’s constant reinvention and subscribe to the singer’s brand of female empowerment, until eventually she’s caught in an embarrassing encounter with the pop star at a London club.
“I really liked Madonna when I was 15,” says Frost, whose performance has been described as “perfectly adequate” by the British press. “I can identify [with Lesley’s obsession], but she’s more affected by Madonna telling her to be empowered. I’d always felt independent and strong.”
Frost has firsthand experience of the public’s fascination with the celebrity lifestyle. “I’d known from quite early on that it was all a facade,” she says. “Even though I had to go through a lot of media scrutiny, I could see it for what it was.” That said, “I did fall into the trappings of parties and celebrity dos, wearing a lovely outfit and being told you look great.”
These days, Frost says she prefers attracting the attention of an audience — rather than a pack of paparazzi. “It’s really empowering and liberating,” says Frost of her live gig. “It’s eight performances a week, but I’ve got a lot of energy to put into it.” And Frost doesn’t shy away from the play’s cheeky nods to some of her own famous pals. Reflecting on aging, her character knowingly pronounces that her face looks “like a night out with Kate Moss,” to much mirth among the audience. (The line was in fact written a year before Frost was cast in the play.)
Up next, Frost will be promoting the short film she directed titled “Mrs. Olsen,” which will be entered into this year’s Cannes Film Festival. She’s also entertaining any offers for “more film, more theater and a bit of TV.” As for the Frost French clothing line she designs with Jemima French, the company downsized and took on a new investor last year. The duo now have a single store in Islington, north London, and will unveil a new collection this month.
“It’s commercial, wearable and really well made — without trying too hard,” says Frost.