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Diana does Dusty!

Featuring the soulful music of Dusty Springfield, directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood and starring grown up and gorgeous Diana Vickers - don't miss Son of a Preacher Man musical this October

Remember Diana Vickers? The former X Factor singer known for her husky voice and singing barefoot, who appeared on the 2008 show at the tender age of 16, wowing the judges and making it to the semi-finals… Now almost a decade on, at 25, she’s starring in the successful musical tour, Son of a Preacher Man, about three broken hearts, one Soho hang-out, and the only man who could ever help them…

It’s a show well worth seeing when it comes to Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells this October as part of its national tour (Tue 31 Oct to Sat 4 Nov). Diana took 5 mins out of her busy schedule to give you the lowdown on what to expect…

Wow, you’re like all grown up!

It’s weird because that’s how people remember me, but I’m so out of that. People go, ‘Oh so what have you been up to since The X Factor?’ And you’re like, wow, that’s nine years ago!

Diana Vickers, at 16, in her famous X Factor performance on that swing

Has it really been that long? Blimey. So what have you been up to over that time?

Well, I’ve recorded two albums. And I appeared in the West End for The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, the play Jim Cartwright originally wrote for Jane Horrocks. Most recently a nine-month tour of The Rocky Horror Show. And now obviously on tour in Son of a Preacher Man, a new musical featuring the hit songs of Dusty Springfield.

Your voice has that raspy edge that I love so I can see you’re perfect for the role. Can you tell us more?

I play Kat, a feisty young orphan grieving the death of her grandmother and looking for love via dating apps. She’s big and loud and in your face, but I think what’s going on under the surface is she’s quite insecure. Her romantic odyssey finds her belting out Dusty standards like ‘A House Is Not a Home’, ‘I Only Want to Be With You’, ‘Some of Your Lovin’’ and ‘Stay Awhile’.

So you love the musicals then?

Well I auditioned for this one because I loved the prospect of playing a well-crafted character. Son of a Preacher Man is more of a play with music, it’s not a big jazz hands musical. With the acting there’s more to get my teeth into. Even when I went on The X Factor I said, ‘Obviously I want to be a pop star but I’d love to be an actor.’ I loved doing my albums but it was very much ‘I won’t be doing this forever.’

So a slight change of direction from the X Factor all those years ago?

X Factor was amazing because it gave me such a public launch but it still casts a shadow. I still arrive in every rehearsal room thinking I have something to prove, coming from the X Factor and this stigma that comes with it. I’m forever trying to make people aware that I’m very serious.

And are you a big fan of Dusty then?

I grew up with the sounds of Dusty Springfield in our family home and later connected with her more deeply when imitating her as part of my role as LV, the damaged young performer in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. She’s a character who only comes into her own when she impersonates the great divas, like Dusty. Dusty’s just got so much emotion in her voice. She’s this soul-jazz-pop singer – all the genres in this perfect mix.

I hear the director of Son of a Preacher Man is none-other-than Strictly’s scariest judge, Craig Revel Horwood. So what’s he like?

He’s very funny and tells you how it is which I like. He’s very assertive and wants you to give it all and go to the extreme and not be afraid and he makes you push the boundaries. Although I’m not sure I can imagine being judged by him on Strictly itself. I think I’ll stick to this for now…

Featuring the soulful music of Dusty Springfield, directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, Son of a Preacher Man comes to Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells as part of its national tour from Tue 31 Oct to Sat 4 Nov 2017. Book your tickets here.

Credit: Jasper Rees

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