The international, award-winning hit musical based on the blockbuster film The Bodyguard is back. The romantic thriller features a host of classic tunes including Queen of the Night, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, I Have Nothing, Greatest Love Of All, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and, of course, I Will Always Love You.
For those not familiar, could you explain the story?
If you’re not familiar with The Bodyguard it means that you were born after 1992, and you are very young and I am very jealous! It follows Rachel Marron, a Grammy-winning superstar singer and mother who encounters an intense stalker who will go to any lengths to get to her. Her team has to hire a new bodyguard to protect her. She discovers that there is more to life than fame and being a singer and she discovers how important love is. She’s a very loving and strong woman but she’s also very vulnerable.
What is it about Rachel that made you want to return to the show, having played the role both in the West End and on tour previously?
I think what’s really exciting is that it includes Whitney Houston’s catalogue of work which really makes the show. It takes me back to when I was a child and had a hairbrush in my hand and was always singing Whitney to my mum. For me, the storyline never gets old. People always ask me if I get tired of performing the same show six times a week but I honestly don’t. It’s never the same show. It was also an exciting prospect to be singing Whitney Houston for a year, which of course will be tough but at the same time very rewarding. This show is my dream; you can’t beat the adrenaline of the end when it hits the finale and everyone is on their feet.
How have you prepared for the role of Rachel this time around?
Well, I’m in a different place in my life now. I’ve been lucky enough to have amazing experiences with Sister Act, Chess, Chicago and Strictly Come Dancing. So I was hoping that people would see growth in the sense of my dancing ability, acting and vocally. So much has happened in my life; I’m taking all my experiences and putting them into the show in the hope that people can see that in my performance. I’ve also seen my nieces and nephews grow up and tried to be the best auntie I can be which isn’t the same as being a parent but gives me some idea.
How have you made Rachel your own? Does she feel familiar now?
My emotions are very raw and real in every performance. I haven’t professionally trained in acting so I draw from a very real place and really feel it and that’s why sometimes I struggle with the role emotionally. I end up in tears on stage every performance.
Do you feel any pressure singing such big Whitney songs?
Absolutely. The songs aren’t easy to sing; luckily some of them aren’t in Whitney’s key which I’m very thankful for. At the same time, it’s very rewarding. Singing Whitney Houston six times a week is no joke and it’s very hard but also incredible.
Did you have a favourite track before you became involved in The Bodyguard, and has that changed now?
I think my favourite Whitney track of all time was I Will Always Love You and a couple of years ago, after performing the show night after night, it changed to I Have Nothing. I love performing that.
Are you looking forward to visiting Bristol with the tour?
Bristol is one of my favourite places for vintage shops and the market on Saturdays by the waterfront; I love walking the dogs there. The food and the people are always so lovely.
Do you enjoy touring and seeing new cities, or is it difficult for you?
I struggle because I miss my family so much, however I always remember that my reward at the end of every day is the audience and them coming out to spend time with us. We’re very lucky that people seem to love the show and love Whitney Houston, but I think for me missing my family is the hardest thing, missing home. But I do enjoy seeing different cities around the country and the world. I’m lucky I can go to new places and also revisit places that I love.
Do you have any ‘must-have’ items for on tour?
I don’t know if you can call them items but: my dogs! They are my living, little loving things, all four of them. I would also say the essentials for a singer: a steamer, a humidifier, ginger, lemon, honey. Very basic and very simple. Plus, my favourite pillow which goes with me everywhere and I always pack a onesie because you can never go wrong with a onesie at any time of year!
What do you do during ‘down time’ while on tour?
I know this sounds quite boring but my favourite thing to do on tour is go to the gym, so I’ve been going every single day to challenge myself and do the show. It’s my escape, it’s the one hour I get to myself and I can concentrate on making myself stronger. I also love going to the cinema; I really like to find little boutique cinemas in different cities. Also, finding any vintage and second-hand shops is something I love to do when I can.
Ever received any words of advice that have stuck with you?
Yes, from Whitney herself actually. My mum used to do backing vocals for Whitney and when my mum sang with her on Top of the Pops she spoke about me and said: “Oh, my daughter really loves you and wants to be a singer” and Whitney’s advice to me was to keep working and never stop – to strike while the iron’s hot. That’s why in the past 10 years I’ve never really stopped as that’s stuck with me.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
I am engaged, but we’re not planning a wedding just yet because it’s a busy time. To also record an album while doing this tour. I’m scheduling studio sessions on all my breaks and hopefully in 2020 I’ll start to concentrate on my music for a bit.