Louise Brealey (born 27 March 1979), also credited as Loo Brealey, is an English actress, writer, and journalist. She is best known for playing student nurse Roxanne Bird in Casualty, and Molly Hooper in Sherlock.
Early life and education
Born in Bozeat, Northamptonshire, England, she attended Kimbolton School, proceeding to read History at Cambridge. She then trained at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York City and with clown teacher Philippe Gaulier.
Brealey has written on cinema, art and music since her teens, contributing reviews and features for magazines including Premiere UK, Empire, Radio Times, SKY, The Face, Neon, AnOther and Total Film. She is the editor of Anarchy and Alchemy: The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky (Creation Books, 2007).
Until April 2009, Brealey was the deputy editor of Wonderland, interviewing Liv Tyler for the February/March cover. Other features include the Pet Shop Boys and art collective Gelitin. A freelance Associate Producer, she has written documentary pitches for BBC Arts. In 2013 her first play Pope Joan was performed by the National Youth Theatre.
In March 2012 Brealey produced, co-wrote and co-starred in The Charles Dickens Show, a children's comedy drama for BBC 2 starring Jeff Rawle, Rupert Graves, Neil Dudgeon, Nathaniel Parker, Lynda Baron, Honeysuckle Weeks, Rupert Young, Adjoa Andoh, Sam Kelly, Geoffrey Streatfeild, Fiona Button and Mariah Gale.
Brealey made her television debut as Nurse Roxy Bird in two series of BBC drama Casualty. She then played Judy Smallweed in the 2005 BBC adaptation of Bleak House. Terry Wogan took Judy and her snaggle-toothed grandfather Smallweed (Phil Davis) to heart, regaling Radio 2 listeners with regular renditions of Davis' catchphrase "Shake me up, Judy!". Brealey followed Bleak House with a comic turn as Anorak, Alistair MacGowan's black-bobbed sidekick, in the Sunday night comedy-drama Mayo, cancelled by the BBC after just one series. The show fared better on its US release in 2007, with The Hollywood Reporter comparing it to Moonlighting. She auditioned for the role of Rose Tyler in Doctor Who.
She has since appeared in Law and Order UK and the BBC's new 1950's remake of Father Brown with Mark Williams (2013).
Brealey made her stage debut in 2001 as 14-year-old Sophie in Max Stafford-Clark's production of Judy Upton's Sliding With Suzanne at London's Royal Court. The Daily Telegraph called her performance "a perfect poignant study of adolescence".
Her portrayal of child prodigy Thomasina in the Bristol Old Vic production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia in 2005 was described as "excellent" by The Mail on Sunday, with The Daily Telegraph saying that "the evening belongs to Loo Brealey's Thomasina".
Brealey has worked twice with Sir Peter Hall. First in 2007 on Simon Gray's Little Nell, in which she played the title role opposite Michael Pennington and Tim Pigott-Smith. Based on The Invisible Woman, Claire Tomalin's award-winning biography of Charles Dickens's mistress Ellen Ternan, Little Nell followed her story from 17 to 44 years old. Critics described Brealey's performance as "excellent" (The Daily Mail), "impressive" (The Stage), "highly compelling" (The Independent) and "astounding" (British Theatre Guide).
The following year, Hall cast her as Sonya in his critically acclaimed production of Uncle Vanya, which opened London's Rose Theatre. The Telegraph called hers "a name to watch" and The Independent compared her to Joan Fontaine in Rebecca. The Spectator said: "Brealey is the only performer who uncovers the pathetic poetry beneath the indolent superficialities. Her big disadvantage is that she’s too attractive for ‘plain’ Sonya, but she disguises this by suggesting a lack of sexual allure with awkward giggles, squirrelly movements and a stupefied beaming naivety. All brilliantly done..."
Last year she appeared with Stephen Mangan in Joe Penhall's Birthday at the Royal Court, directed by Roger Michell; and played three lead roles - Cassandra, Andromache and Helen of Troy - in Caroline Bird's sold-out production of The Trojan Women at London's Gate Theatre. The Times called her performances "electrifying" and The Guardian said she "pulled off a remarkable treble".
Brealey talked about the roles in the Evening Standard and wrote a piece for The Times about the experience of going naked on stage.
In February 2014 Brealey starred in August Strindberg's Miss Julie at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. The play ran from the 6-15th of the month, was directed by Dominic Hill and adapted by Zinnie Harris. Harris moved the play to the 1920s, 40 years from Strindberg's original and set in the Highlands of Scotland. Brealey performed opposite Keith Fleming as John (Jean), with Jessica Hardwick as Christine, the only other characters to appear onstage.
July 2008, Brealey played Pompilia Comparini in an adaptation of The Ring and the Book, broadcast as part of the BBC Radio 4 "Classic Serial"
Brealey played the role of Anna in Ed Harris' radio play The Wall, broadcast in February 2011.
On 9 December 2014 Brealey played ‘Zinevra' in a Radio 3 adaptation of 'The Wager' by Giovanni Boccaccio, presented by Terry Jones as a part of the 'Decameron Nights: Ten Italian Indelicacies Remixed from Boccaccio’.
Brealey read the part of Megan Hipwell in the audiobook edition of Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins.
TV and film credits
|2002–2004||Casualty||Roxanne Bird||TV series (95 episodes)|
|2003||Tooth Faerie, TheThe Tooth Faerie||Short film|
|2004||I Want You||Short film|
|2005||Bleak House||Judy Smallweed||TV series (8 episodes)|
|2005||The English Harem||Suzy||TV film|
|2006||Mayo||Harriet 'Anorak' Tate||TV series (8 episodes); credited as Loo Brealey|
|2007||Green||Abi||TV film; credited as Loo Brealey|
|2008||Hotel Babylon||Chloe||TV series (Episode: "Episode #3.7")|
|2010–present||Sherlock||Molly Hooper||TV series (10 episodes)|
|2010||Reuniting the Rubins||Miri Rubins|
|2011||Law & Order: UK||Joanne Vickery||TV series (Episode: "Tick Tock")|
|2011||Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, TheThe Best Exotic Marigold Hotel||Hairdresser||Credited as Loo Brealey|
|2012||The Charles Dickens Show||Nelly Trent/Scrooge/Tiny Tim||TV series|
|2013||Father Brown||Eleanor Knight||TV series (Episode: "The Mayor and the Magician")|
|2014||Ripper Street||Dr Amelia Frayn||TV Series, appeared in 7 of 8 episodes of the 3rd Series|
|2015||Victor Frankenstein||Sexy Society Girl|
|2015||Inspector George Gently||Jo Parker||TV series (Episode: "Gently Among Friends")|
|2001||Sliding with Suzanne||Sophie||Max Stafford-Clark||Royal Court Theatre|
|2005||Arcadia||Thomasina||Rachel Kavanaugh||Bristol Old Vic|
|2006||After the End||Louise||Roxana Silbert||US and Russian tour, Off-Broadway|
|2007||Little Nell||Nell||Peter Hall||Theatre Royal, Bath|
|2008||Uncle Vanya||Sonya||Peter Hall||Rose Theatre, Kingston|
|2008||Pornography||Actor 7||Sean Holmes||Traverse Theatre|
|2009||Stone, TheThe Stone||Hannah||Ramin Gray||Royal Court Theatre|
|2009||Ones That Flutter, TheThe Ones That Flutter||Julie Ray||Abbey Wright||Theatre 503|
|2010||Country Music||Lynsey||Lisa Blair & Eleanor While||West Yorkshire Playhouse|
|2011||Government Inspector||Mayor's daughter||Richard Jones||Young Vic|
|2012||Trojan Women, TheThe Trojan Women||Cassandra/Andromache/Helen of Troy||Christopher Haydon||Gate Theatre (London)|
|2013||The Herd||Claire||Howard Davies||Bush Theatre|
|2014||Miss Julie||Miss Julie||Dominic Hill||Citizens Theatre|
|2014||Letters Live||Hay Festival, Wales|
|2015||Letters Live||Freemasons' Hall|
|Husbands & Sons||Lizzie Holroyd||Marianne Elliott||Co-production between National Theatre,London and Royal Exchange, Manchester|