Thursday, 14 December 2017

What happens when an old flame re-ignites

Embarking on her first ever tour and making her début as a playwright, Denise Van Outen, star of Strictly Come Dancing and Chicago talks about new challenges, the value of good girlfriends and how slipping into a onesie is her idea of heaven.

IT’S a good job Denise Van Outen is so un-starry and genuinely friendly in the flesh. It would be easy to dislike her out of sheer jealousy. Naturally pretty, with a figure you’d cheerfully do a deal with the Devil for, she is also dazzlingly talented. A triple threat musical theatre star, radio and TV presenter, author and designer, she can now add playwright to her accomplishments. She is now starring in Some Girl I Used to Know, a one-woman play with music that she has co-written, and during a break in rehearsals she explains where the inspiration for the show came from.

“I absolutely loved doing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s [one-woman musical] Tell Me on a Sunday — well, I did once I got past being petrified of being on stage on my own,” she laughs. “I loved the way that the predominately female audience related to the character. I remember my mum and my auntie loving the film Shirley Valentine the same way. A whole generation of women understood Shirley and related to her. I hope that Some Girl I Used to Know will have that same kind of relevance.

“I’ve always been a girl’s girl and when we all get together my girlfriends and I often find ourselves reminiscing about the past and our first loves. That’s where the idea came from. I wondered what would happen if someone got back in touch with their first love through social media. I wanted to explore the idea of a woman who thinks she can have it all, because there’s always a price to pay.”

And so Stephanie Canworth was born. On the surface she has it all: a successful career, a doting husband and an established role as a media darling. But then a Facebook “poke” from her first love propels her down memory lane. Suddenly there are question marks hovering over every aspect of her life.

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