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Drew Tosh chats to Diana Vickers

Drew Tosh chats to Diana Vickers

Diana Vickers first came to the public's attention in 2008 when she reached the 'X Factor' semi-finals and followed this up with a number one album and single. Since then, she's enjoyed a blossoming career on the stage starring in “The Rise & Fall Of Little Voice”, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and now “Son Of  Preacher Man”, a brand new musical featuring the hits of Dusty Springfield.

Drew Tosh caught up with Diana for a chat about the show.

The songs in the musical are iconic but were you a Dusty fan before signing up for the role?

I wasn't around when she was in her great lady of pop heyday but I had to impersonate her in “Little Voice” so I listened to a lot of her songs for that part. I have to reign myself in from doing the impression in this new show actually. My Mum also had a lot of Dusty's original vinyl so I knew most of the songs and just how amazing Dusty was. It's fantastic to get to sing all those brilliant songs in this  show. 

We still have a fascination for the 60's pop girls like Dusty, Lulu, Sandie and Cilla. Do you think they were pioneers?

Very much so. They were incredible women who came from different places yet shot to stardom with these great voices at such an exciting time for music. I love Lulu, she's fantastic.

This is a new play featuring Dusy songs rather than a show about Dusty herself. Tell me a bit about the storyline to “Son Of A Preacher Man”. 

The preacher man in the title had a coffee shop where he dished out advice and helped the heartbroken solve their dilemmas. Years later, three strangers find themselves drawn to the site where the old bar used to be and all sorts of things come out it including my character meeting the preacher man's son. I love the idea of the preacher man and think we could all use someone like that in our lives. The story moves forward musically with some of Dusty's greatest hits like “I Only Want To Be With You”, “You Don't Have To Say You Love Me” and of course the title song.

The director and choreographer of the show is  “Strictly” judge Craig Revel Horwood. Is he as stern to work with as he seems on TV?

Oh yes - all the score paddles come out! No, he's actually a pussycat, really lovely and very empathetic being a performer himself. He's very patient with us but also likes to push the boundaries and get us out of out comfort zones. The most stressful time is the technical week but he was very understanding during that period even though he had so much to do himself.

Theatre has become a major part of your career now. Was that always part of the plan?

Definitely. It was always an ambition of mine to end up in the West End. I always knew that's what I wanted and I'm so pleased and proud to be part of the theatre world now.  

Do you think having “The X Factor” on the CV now is more of a curse than a blessing for performers these days?

I feel that I went on the show at a very good time. I was a little girl from Blackburn and it offered an amazing opportunity for me and I wouldn't change my experience for the world. The show was fresh then and people were really interested in the singers and got attached to them. As the years have gone on though I think the programme has become very repetitive and it's not as new and exciting anymore. I'm lucky enough that great opportunities have come my way but it's not quite the same for people who go on the show now.

So what's next on your career tick box?

I want to continue doing theatre and musicals but I would also love to do more TV. It opens so many doors and offers such diverse roles. I really want to do more comedy because it brings me a lot of joy and a part in a serious drama would be nice too. I just want to get better at my craft and work with great people. 

Out of all of Dusty's back catalogue, what's your favourite track?

It has to be “A House Is Not A Home”. It's such a beautiful song that pulls on the heartstrings. It's a really special one for me and I go on that stage every night and sing it from my heart.

“Son Of A Preacher Man”

Manchester Palace Theatre until Saturday.

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Published: 28-Sep-2017

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