Shoreham’s Janet Behan joins Amanda Holden, Angela Griffin, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Tamzin Outhwaite and Nicola Stephenson in Stepping Out at Chichester Festival Theatre from November 8-19.
Richard Harris’s play charts the lives of seven women and one man attempting to tap their troubles away at a weekly dancing class. Initially all thumbs and left feet, the group is just getting to grips with the basics when they are asked to take part in a charity gala…
For Janet, who moved to Shoreham three years ago, it will be her first time on tour for 20 years or so.
“My son is now 24 and he was four at the time when I went on tour with the National. I think this time as an older woman I am going to have to choose my digs more carefully!”
Janet vividly recalls the time she ended up in a transport hotel in Darlington, sleeping with her head on the window sill because the room was so smelly.
When the woman asked her how she’d slept the next morning, Janet admitted the aroma had been a problem – to which the woman replied: “It was alright before you went in there!”
Janet will be looking for a rather more civilised experience this time around – and is particularly enjoying the thought of a return to the CFT stage. She was asked to join the cast by director and good friend Maria Friedman: “Maria says I got the job despite my dancing, rather than because of it! It’s lovely, though. We shared a dressing room in Chichester in 1985. We were both in Cavalcade, which was wonderful. Nobody would ever turn down working in Chichester because it is such a pleasure to be there in the summer and to be part of the company. I was also in The Scarlet Pimpernel.”
For this latest show, she has had to learn to tap dance. Rehearsals for the show itself began in September, but the tap lessons started in June: “I enjoyed it. It was quite a steep climb, but I wasn’t the worst! But it is just great to be with a bunch of women, many of whom I have already met and to go along to what we called tap camp once a week! It has been ridiculously good fun.
“It is set in a church hall in north London, and the idea is women learning to tap-dance. It is about their personalities and their stories. Amanda Holden has chosen her role and has chosen to play this woman who is really not very nice through no fault really of her own.
“I just think it is wonderful that Amanda has chosen this role, this woman who keeps putting her foot in it and making people feel uncomfortable and unhappy and someone who is really not very popular.”
Holden, most recently known for This Morning and Britain’s Got Talent, has theatre credits including Shrek the Musical (original West End production) and Thoroughly Modern Millie for which she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award.
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