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Dammit Janet! – Interview with Diana Vickers

| Music, Theatre, Things to do | 25/04/2016

Diana Vickers is currently starring as Janet in The Rocky Horror Show
Diana Vickers is currently starring as Janet in The Rocky Horror Show

With cult classic The Rocky Horror Show currently on a huge UK tour, Shannon Rawlins of What’s On London caught up with the amazing Diana Vickers (who plays Janet in the musical) to talk about the film, the fans and the fishnets.

Vickers, who first came to the public’s attention as a semi-finalist on The X Factor in 2008, has quickly made the role her own, described in our earlier review here as “a great casting, with strong vocals and the right amount of naivety for Janet”.

Q. The Rocky Horror Show is a widely establish phenomenon and has a big cult following.  Had you seen the film before you auditioned for the part?

A. I hadn’t seen the show but I had seen the film, so I knew it was an absolute classic.  And that it was absolutely bonkers and mad!  It was all quite new to me in the theatre: nothing can really prepare you for people yelling back at you, so that was a bit of a shock to the system.

Q. How do you find the heckling?  Is it easy to deal with or is each crowd unique?

A. The majority of the time, you hear the same shout outs.  The fans know the script so well, and it’s almost like they work from a script of their own!  You get the odd person who might shout out something really funny.  Or sometimes they’ll shout out something not very funny and quite personal, but that never really happens – maybe once in a blue moon.  Usually, Rocky Horror has such loyal, lovely fans.  And they all kind of team up because they absolutely adore the show and we play along with them.

Q. You’ve toured previously as a solo artist and also starred in West End productions before, such as Little Voice and Duck House.  How different is it touring with a bigger cast?

A. It is different I guess.  I did a tour with Duck House but there’s only like five cast members, and it was a short period of time.  But this is really gruelling: you’re in a different place every week and you travel on your days off, so it’s really tiring.  Every single night you have to put on a great performance – because it’s such a high-energy show – so I have sort of hit a wall at this point, I’m pretty exhausted!  But once you’re out there, all the cast are amazing and they’ve got so much energy … you’re a family, you just kind of muster through it.  The audience really helps as well.

Diana Vickers and Liam Tamne

Diana Vickers and Liam Tamne

Q. Who’s your favourite person you’ve worked with so far in your career?

A. Oh, god – there are so many people!  I was so lucky in my first job, working with Leslie Sharp and Marc Warren – Leslie Sharp is a fantastic actress, I learnt a lot from her.  I loved working with Ben Miller – he was so funny.  Kerry Howards in Give Out Girls – she’s done terrifically well.  Tony Curran too.  Honestly, I’m blessed to have worked with so many great people.

Q. You’ve taken on a very well-known character – one that audiences are really familiar with. Did you have Susan Sarandon in mind, or did you approach the role afresh?

A. I just sort of put it out of my head, as I had to put my own stamp on it.  Susan Sarandon was quite a gentle, fragile Janet and I kept that.  But I also think I play Janet a little bit goofy, as a little bit of a geek.  It was just the way I interpreted the script when I read it at the time.

Q. How are you coping with the costumes?

A. The costumes are incredible.  Obviously they’re very raunchy but I just kinda take to it every night!  I love getting in my fishnets, suspenders and what-not, so it’s really good fun.  All the boys love to do it as well.

Q. In terms of the LGBT demographic, how important is it to have musicals like The Rocky Horror Show in theatres?

A. I really think it’s important and is why Rocky Horror has stood the test of time.  It’s been around for 43 years.  It’s liberating: the audience can come along, release themselves and dress up.  There are grown men in suspenders and fishnets singing the words, and they really themselves go.  It’s really unique and I don’t think that’ll ever change.

Tickets for all of The Rocky Horror Show’s UK tour dates are available here. What’s On London will be covering the Richmond leg of the tour in May, so stay posted.

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