"A (probably sober, but still outrageous as usual) turn from Young drew huge laughs from her deft comic timing."
- Steve Rich on Carousel for Theatre Monkey
Growing up in glamorous Northampton, Alex was scared of most things - spiders, ice skating and paper cuts being at the top of the list, second only to Being the Centre of Attention. But in the great tradition of actors being the most contrary of creatures, Being the Centre of Attention was also her secret favourite thing in the world. This contradiction plagues her even now. How - she muses - is it possible to be the determined show off she undoubtedly is and yet be a shivering nervous wreck on the first day of rehearsals, standing in the corner of the room with her best smile on, the tin of shortbread in her hands making up for lack of conversation?
What she remembers most about her first theatrical experience was, appropriately perhaps, the profound feeling of disappointment. Rather than being cast as a beautiful angel in the big Christmas nativity show that her school somewhat improbably performed at that gigantic barn the Derngate Theatre, she was instead put into a bizarre prologue called "Children of the World", where her and best friend Ben were dressed in lederhosen and represented Austria. Obvs.
As well as being her first experience of casting disappointments, this performance was also the first time she was guilty of some chronic upstaging, it was however the only time she wasn't aware of it.
The story goes thus...
During this prologue, about a hundred children were paired up, costumed to represent different countries, and were choreographed to come running on Up Stage Left, one pair after the other. All the Children of the World had been given a note to run on taking tiny quick little steps with neat little pointed feet. Obedient as they were naive, Alex and Ben took this note very seriously indeed and during the performance, they proceeded to run on with the tiniest of steps, taking such care to point their little feet that they covered only a few centimetres every minute. This would perhaps have been alright had it not been for the fact that the Children of the World were entering in alphabetical order. Being Austria, Alex and Ben were near the very front, therefore leaving a ginormous backlog of fifty or so disgruntled Countries cueing up behind them, resulting in the routine being a good three minutes behind the music, the whole thing falling apart and the audience howling. A curse that her most successful comedic moment to date was entirely unintentional, born from nothing but the earnest desire to be the most honest Child of the World she could be - a poignant reminder to always ask for a cup of tea and not for a laugh (luvvie reference. Strike One, Alex.).
"Alex Young is a plausible drunk."
-Brian Roper on High Society for theatre-wales.co.uk
The battle between the desire to go unnoticed and the desperate need for adulation persisted throughout her teenage years. She found a somewhat happy medium when she joined the Northants Youth Music Service, singing in the choir and playing the flute in the orchestra. She tried to fool herself for a while that she wanted to be a classical musician, but unfortunately around the same time, she played Bottom in a short extract from Midsummers at school, and discovered that she could make people laugh, intentionally this time, and it was disastrously addictive.
Even though she made a show of studying music at King’s College London, she knew there was no hope and after a few last ditch attempts at trying to lead a normal life, she auditioned at the Royal Academy of Music for their musical theatre course and they, quite unfeelingly, let her in. The Show Off had won, and the gauche Introvert sighed with defeated resignation, her revenge being to render Alex incapable of stringing a coherent sentence together on each first day of rehearsal and every press night party. Mwar ha ha.
After a gorgeous year at the RAM, Alex left and got her first job. Her role was Vi Petty - a ridiculous, rock piano playing, know-it-all in The Buddy Holly Story in purpose built arenas on the Channel Islands. During the few weeks on the Islands, the company performed a total of six shows, and they spent glorious hours sunbathing, bike riding, ice cream eating and having a ball. When Alex realised that being a performer is essentially being paid to have your days free and your nights applauded, she was hell bent on doing as much of it as humanly possible.
Alex has continued to be paid to have a lovely time. She is thrilled to mainly play brilliant women, mostly lushes and tarts, but brilliant nonetheless; and both Show Off and Introvert cannot believe their dumb luck.