Thursday, 10 October 2019

INTERVIEW: Dianne Pilkington, currently starring in The Only Fools and Horses and soon to star in Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Dianne Pilkington is currently playing Raquel in the musical version of The Only Fools and Horses at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. She will soon be appearing in the semi-staged concert version of Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the Cadogan Hall with Take Two Theatricals and Club 11. Her other credits include Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre); Aunt Lily in Whisper House (The Other Palace); Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre); Sophie De Palma in Master Class (Vaudeville Theatre); Amalia in She Loves Me (Minerva Theatre, Chichester); Pamela/Margaret/Annabella in The 39 Steps (Criterion Theatre); Glinda in Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre); Grizabella in Cats (National Tour); Mary in Tonight’s the Night (Victoria Palace); Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast (National Tour), Kim in the original cast of Boy George’s Taboo;  Protestant Girl in The Beautiful Game (Cambridge Theatre) and understudied and played Fantine and Cosette in Les Miserables (Palace Theatre).

You’re appearing in a semi-staged concert version of Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the Cadogan Hall with Take Two Theatricals and Club 11, tell us a bit about the show and what we can expect from this production.

The show is a classic, and has some of Roger & Hammerstein’s most beautiful songs in the score. It has been updated and will be the first time this new version has been performed here.

And you’re playing Marie, tell us a bit about her.

She’s pinned as a crazy lady, and all is not as it seems! She’s a wise woman, and wants to reward goodness and kindness.

You’re playing another Fairy, pretty close to the role that many people will know you from! How is it to return to a magical role again?

Ah, but she’s a Fairy, not a Witch! I can’t wait. At least this time I should be good at the magic bit...

That's very true! Of course the show we’re talking about is Wicked, where you were the first British performer to play the principle role full time. Have you been back to see the show since leaving and if so, how was it being in the audience?

I went back to see the 10th Anniversary and gosh, I loved it. I always will. It was weird sitting watching though, but everyone was amazing.

What are some of your fondest memories from being part of Wicked?

I had very strong friendships with Kerry and Alexia, my greenies, and also Suzie and Harriet, the Morribles! And the fans were so lovely and supportive. And I had the gorge Olly Tompsett as Fiyero, who is hilarious. Obviously, the costumes were a big draw.... but to play a wonderfully rounded and complex female character who is funny and moving: that doesn’t come around every day.

And you’re appearing alongside such a fabulous cast in Cinderella, is there anyone in particular you’re especially excited to work with?

I am thrilled to be working with every single one! What a bunch... some I know, some I haven’t met.

Take Two Theatricals and Club 11 have produced so many brilliant concerts and events recently, what was your first experience of the companies?

I have mostly admired from afar, determined to get involved!

And how do you feel about now being a part of that legacy they’re creating?

I’m absolutely thrilled. As I said, I have had my eye on this for a while now and I’m honoured to be part of it.

You’re currently starring in the musical adaptation of Only Fools and Horses, what was your experience of the TV show before auditioning for the musical?

I watched it with my family growing up, I think we all did! But I only remembered the end episodes so had to go back to find early Raquel. Back when she was hopeful!!

And whats it like to create this role in the musical production?

It has been a unique experience. After all, only one other person has ever played this character, and in a different genre completely. I have thoroughly enjoyed finding my way through it.

We also can’t interview you and not talk about the wonderful Mamma Mia! Your co-star Mazz Murray, who we interviewed before she went into the role of Donna, is now playing the role you played when you were both in the company. Have you been back to see her?

Only for tea between shows! I will be in as soon as I can get there, I’m a huge fan of Mazz and she’s a great long-time friend.

Do you think you could go back as Tanya and we could see you both in this role swap?!

I can’t see me in that bathing suit but never say never!

Your career and CV is so impressive and we could talk to you for hours about it, but looking back is there any show that remains your favourite or most special to be a part of?

They have all been so dear to me in different ways, and for different reasons. I can’t choose between my children!

In one sentence, tell us why people should come along and see Cinderella at Cadogan Hall. 

Come for the magic, the hope, and the knowledge that life can be what we make of it.

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