Tuesday, 18 May 2010
OK Magazine -- Rachel and Louise
As promised here is the OK Magazine feature in all it's glory!
Interview: Louise Dearman and Rachel Tucker
The ‘Wicked’ stars join us at mu to talk witches, Patrick Swayze and a panto legend
Posted: Tuesday 18 May 2010
Above: Louise Dearman and Rachel Tucker both star in Wicked (Pics: Rob Balhaam)
Life can definitely be strange in the crazy world of business they call show.
A year or so ago, budding musical divas Rachel Tucker and Louise Dearman were sharing the stage in a modest little entertainment called So Jest End, which affectionately sent up some of the most popular musicals to be seen in London’s West End.
In one sketch, they did a spoof of the long-running hit Wicked, with Rachel taking the role of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Louise playing her rival Glinda the Good Witch.
What a difference a year makes. Now both girls are repeating those roles for real in the smash-hit show Wicked! ‘Who would have thought it?’ asks Belfast-born Rachel, 28, who found nationwide fame as a semi-finalist in BBC1’s ratings-grabbing show I’d Do Anything.
‘One minute we’re sending the roles up, the next we’ve actually landed them – and trust me, I’m so glad I didn’t win the TV series and become Nancy, because Elphaba is my dream-of-a-lifetime role!’
Rachel’s close pal Louise, 31, has now joined her in the newly cast production which also sees Any Dream Will Do winner Lee Mead take on the leading-man role of Fiyero, a character both girls fight for in the show.
With eight performances a week to juggle – not to mention Rachel’s on-stage green face paint to remove! – tracking down these sizzling songstresses proved no mean feat, but the promise of lunch at London’s fabulous pan-Asian restaurant Mu a few hours before curtain-up certainly proved the ultimate Wicked temptation…
Rachel, what it’s like being a green lady on stage as the Wicked Witch of the West – and how difficult is it scrubbing off the make-up every night?
It’s a water-based face paint, and it takes ten to 15 minutes to get on, and another ten minutes of scrubbing to get off. I do find it gets all over my hands, and I sometimes even find green in my ears. I came home one night and I really hadn’t scrubbed enough, and my husband said: ‘You look sick!’ I was a horrible shade of yellowy green! On a two-show day, I tend to keep it on between shows, otherwise I’d spend my entire life in the shower. But it’s a small price to pay for such a big role.
What does it mean for you to be starring in a big West End show like Wicked?
Louise: I’ve done this job for a long time and, cheesy as it sounds, I’ve always wanted to play a lead in the West End, so to be a part of this show is a genuine honour. What’s also fabulous about it is that we’re the two female leads. To be honest, I’d say a lot of the story does revolve around the journey of Rachel’s character, Elphaba – the story is based around the Wicked Witch of the West, and what happened before, during and after The Wizard Of Oz, but it’s a journey we make together, and we’re an equal part of the story.
Rachel: This is the biggest thing I’ve done and it’s been my dream role for years. Elphaba is the perfect role for me, and it’s in my singing range as well. When I was doing I’d Do Anything, one of the ‘missions’ we did was to go on the Apollo stage and do a workshop with Kerry Ellis when she was in Wicked, and I remember thinking, this is the part I want, not Nancy in Oliver!.
What’s it like to be such good friends and starring in a show together?
Rachel: We have this kind of pact, which we started doing in the first couple of days of the show; we didn’t see each other before we went on, and that kind of works in our favour, because our characters don’t like each other at the beginning. So it really helps that we don’t see each other before we go on stage, and say: ‘How’s your day?’
Rachel, tell us about your Wicked character Elphaba…
People think she’s the Wicked Witch and she’s green and that’s it. But really there’s a lot more to her than that – and you can feel the audience changing. From the word go, you want to love Elphaba, because she’s the underdog, though she never plays the victim. She’s the most unsuperficial character I’ve ever played, and she proves that it’s not about how you look, it’s all about the inside.
Louise, how would you describe Glinda?
Glinda is a slightly spoilt daddy’s girl who always gets her own way. She can sometimes be quite tactless, but she does have a good heart. She’s a very girlie girl, and that’s a lot of fun to play. I’m very pink as Glinda – a bit Legally Blonde, I guess. I have a bubble-gum pink party dress and I wear pink eye shadow, pink blusher and pink lipstick. And big false eyelashes. I can certainly be a bit of a girlie girl myself but I wouldn’t go as far as that!
So are you two fighting over Lee Mead in the show?
Rachel: Yes, Lee plays Fiyero and it’s great to have him in the show as I’d worked with him before in a tour of Tommy. In Wicked, we share some romantic scenes – because Elphaba gets the guy! What’s nice is that their ‘sex scene’ is really done through a lovely song – it’s very subtle, as it’s a family show.
Louise: Yes, and I get dumped by him! First of all, he becomes Glinda’s boyfriend and they get engaged, but then he falls in love with Elphaba. How outrageous! They have a fling behind my back! Glinda and Elphaba have a big scrap about it and fall out, but then they realise there are more important things in life. We’ve all been there – fighting over a man!
Rachel, we all know you from I’d Do Anything, but you’re a winner now with this show…
Yes, I do feel I’m a winner. I’m so glad I did I’d Do Anything. It was at the right point of my career. I was forever getting so far with auditions for shows, and just getting pipped at the post by someone who had a bigger profile or a name. My only risk was it backfiring and me looking bad on television, which didn’t happen. But it’s opened so many doors, and you’re no longer just another girl.
Congratulations on getting married last year. How did you meet your husband?
I met my husband Guy Retallack when I was touring in Tommy with Lee Mead in 2005; he was the director of the show. It wasn’t love at first sight! I wouldn’t normally go for the director, and he’s a lot older than me, it wasn’t what I planned. And then about six months down the line it was like: ‘Oh, hello!’ It was a nice slow-burn. It’s also nice to be with someone in the business, but we’re not doing the same show.
Was the wedding everything you’d dreamed of?
It was the best day. We got married last September in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast. It was a very traditional Irish wedding with 120 guests. I wasn’t nervous, I was excited. I was half an hour late – I spent too long at the hairdressers. Guy was cool as a cucumber, but I was really cross with myself being late. I swore I wouldn’t be.
Has being married changed anything?
No, it’s just made me feel secure. It’s a lovely feeling of comfort and security. Nothing’s really different, as we were living together before, but it’s like the complete deal.
Louise, is there a special man in your life?
Yes, my boyfriend Andrew, who has his own TV production company. He came to see me on my opening night, which was very important for me. He’s always very supportive. I was trying to get into TV presenting last year and a friend of mine introduced me to Andrew, so I went for an interview with him and I did two jobs. I didn’t really get an inkling, but things went from there and the rest is history. Now we live together, which I think is all very grown-up!
Rachel, did your friends and family come to your first night?
Yes, my parents came with about 40 friends and family all the way from Belfast to our opening night. I couldn’t see them in the audience but at the very end, when we were taking our bows, my dad ran down to the front and his fists were in the air, and he was so proud. It was lovely to see my dad beaming with pride.
Louise, Rachel has her green make-up to contend with; do you have any major costume challenges?
One of the many incredible elements of Wicked is the costumes, and my initial entrance is in my ‘bubble’ dress, which is an enormous fairy-tale dress, all corseted and beaded. Then I have to fit in my bubble, which Glinda arrives and leaves in. It’s a big industrial bubble that fires out real bubbles!
Louise, you’ve acted with two Hollywood legends, Mickey Rooney and the late Patrick Swayze. What were they like?
I did panto at Christmas with Mickey Rooney, who is 90. He did every show, two shows a day, as Baron Hardup, my dad. The stories he has to tell are absolutely fascinating. He would sit in the wings when he finished his scene and wait for his next scene – he never went back to his dressing room. As for Patrick Swayze, that was in Guys And Dolls, and I was an understudy as Miss Adelaide. He was such an icon, the kind of person you hope will be nice – and he was the loveliest, most generous man on stage and off.
‘WICKED’ IS AT THE APOLLO VICTORIA THEATRE, WILTON ROAD, LONDON SW1V 1LG. call 0844 826 8000;
Read the full article, complete with extra food pics here:
OK MAGAZINE FEATURE
The Two Missing Pictures!
The magazine issue had two pictures not included online.
Thanks a lot to Kirsty who scanned these two for us.