BEING Les Dawson’s daughter is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand it is fantastic to have a father who was one of the greatest comedians the country has ever produced.
The downside, though, is it’s very difficult to forge your own career without simply being referred to as ‘oh, that’s Les’s girl’.
Credit to Charlotte Dawson then for, at the same time as being immensely proud of her dad, having the determination and desire to make her own way in the business.
And she’s taking major strides towards being a huge success in her own right, with 2013 shaping up to be a great year for her.
She has just been selected for her first lead dramatic role, (playing Jo in A Taste Of Honey in Salford) and is soon to audition for a role in a West End musical at Charing Cross Theatre later in the year.
On top of that, she has signed a deal with ITV to film a programme about her late father.
“We start shooting that in May but I can’t say too much about it at the moment,” she said.
As chatty and as down-to-earth as you’d expect a Lancastrian lass to be, Charlotte is excited about the next year, starting with the challenge of being leading lady in Shelagh Delaney’s classic A Taste of Honey.
It is being staged The Kings Arms in Salford from March 11 to 16 and is a unique version of a timeless play.
“It is in a really small fringe-style studio theatre, only 30 people in the audience, and I am basically talking right in their faces,” she said.
“I can’t laugh, I can’t smirk. It is so interactive. When I go in the kitchen, the audience can walk into that room with me.
“It is a really challenging part, not least because I can’t do my nails or wear any make-up. It’s going to kill me!”
That’s Dawson in a nutshell – grounded and with a wicked sense of humour. The 20-year-old has clearly inherited plenty of genes from her funnyman father.
“I do love comedy and I am like my dad in a lot of ways,” she said. “I’ll sit in a bar in Lytham with my friends and watch other people and find myself making jokes about them. That’s what my dad used to do – observe people and use it in his shows.”
The trick, though, is becoming a name in her own right.
“I have been acting for the last couple of years and I do want to get to a point where I’m not known as just Les Dawson’s daughter,” she admits.
“My dad would want that too. He’d want me to be my own person.
“It’s tricky because everyone probably thinks it’s easy having a famous dad but it’s not.
“Obviously his name gets my foot in a few doors but you actually need to get through those doors.
“I love my dad to bits, I’m proud of him, and want to keep his legacy forever. But I don’t want to live off his name, I want to achieve things myself.”
Charlotte, who went to Arnold and Queen Mary schools, looks like doing exactly that.
She has learned her trade over the last couple of years, appearing as Aladdin in pantomime and then embarking on a six-month tour of the country in the comedy farce A Bedfull of Strangers.
“That was my drama school – where I learned the trade,” she said. “I played a French stripper called Sexy Simone. I didn’t have to take all my clothes off but it certainly woke up the pensioners!”
Next came WAG! The Musical, in which Charlotte played a ditzy comedy character.
Andrew Lloyd-Weber came to see her and the show when it was on in Essex.
“I was so nervous because he is like God really,” she said. “He must have liked it because someone linked with him picked it up and they are doing a West End production of it later this year.
“I’m going to audition in April and hopefully I can get a part. If I can that might be the point where I leave Lytham and go to live in London, finally give my mum (Tracy) a break.”
But even if she does head to the capital, there appears little chance of her turning into a darling, luvvie-style thespian.
“You’re joking, no chance,” she says, almost offended. “Listen, I can’t stand stuck up people and besides I’m a Blackpool bird so I can’t ever be anything but down-to-earth. You know what they say – you can take the girl out of Blackpool but…”
First up, though, is A Taste Of Honey, for which tickets are available.
It is the first time the play has ever been staged in Salford, hometown of the author, Delaney, and where the play is set.
Hailed as a seminal work in the tradition of ‘kitchen sink drama’ and set in the 1950s, A Taste of Honey tells the story of Jo, a 17-year-old working class girl, her mother, Helen, and the relationship between them.
“The people producing it (KSW Productions) had to ask Shelagh Delaney’s daughter for permission to stage it,” added Charlotte. “Apparently she said yes because she found out I was going to be in it and her mum was a huge fan of my dad’s.”
There we go again, that link with her father she can’t escape. If truth be told, she probably never will. But Charlotte Dawson is certainly going the right way about making a name for herself, and in the next 12 months can take great strides towards stardom in her own right.
l Tickets for A Taste Of Honey are £10 and available from www.kswproductions.com