Louise is a lass who her work – and her
Sparkly frocks, big tunes and a full orchestra combine in a show to celebrate the world’s most famous secret agent – 007. Jo-Anne Rowney speaks to a West End star about the show, her career and why she is looking for a new challenge
LOUISE Dearman is known for being the first person to play both lead roles in Wicked – Glinda and Elphaba – but now the actor and recording artist needs a new challenge.
The show Bond and Beyond largely focuses on the iconic music and songs from the soundtracks of about a dozen Bond films, but also pays tribute to other esteemed sleuths, by including signature tunes from the likes of Hawaii Five-0, Bergerac, The Avengers, Poirot and The Pink Panther.
The London Concert Orchestra, conducted by John Rigby, is joined on stage by Tim Howar, co-lead singer of Mike and the Mechanics, and West End star Louise Dearman.
Louise tells me: “The show will take you on a journey through the Bond themes, the classic ones and beyond.
“We also have cop themes and a medley of theme tunes. We get the audience to see now many they can guess. There’s everything from Poirot to The Avengers.
“You can hear the audience gasp sometimes when they get it right – it’s good fun.”
The excitement is clear in Louise’s voice as she prepares for the show, taking on the best and biggest Bond tunes.
“You can’t imagine Bond without the theme tunes,” she says. “There are about 15 of them.
“The original Diamonds Are Forever is very dramatic, then there was the Tinie Tempah version, which was more upbeat and in the clubs. It’s still got that drama though! They are just very versatile.
“The majority of the show is James Bond. Even if people aren’t familiar they can come along and hear them and appreciate them as theatrical pieces.
“You don’t have to be a huge fan of Bond – these pieces are musical successes in their own right.
“They are all very musical, they feel epic.”
To match the feel of the occasion Louise is planning on wearing a Shirley Bassey-esque dress.
“It’s an excuse to put on a sparkly frock,” she says. “I haven’t got my outfit yet, so I need to sort that!”
The concert is a step away from Louise’s usual musical fare; she is known for playing both leads in Wicked, Glinda first, then Elphaba.
“Wicked was huge highlight both times,” she says. “It was the first time I took on a big role, and I had wanted to be in it for years.
“Then to go back and play Elphaba, well that was amazing.”
Louise has since starred in Grease and Guys and Dolls.
“I loved playing Sarah Brown, probably because it was nice mix of straight and comedy,” she says.
But now Louise is looking for a new challenge.
“Music theatre is challenging but I do want to do something further to push myself and show what I can do beyond my voice.” Fans need not fear though. “I’d never turn my back on musical theatre. Off the back of Wicked it has been great, but I like to do something new though. I’d quite like to do theatre, acting without singing, Drama or comedy, television.”
The stage without singing beckons.
“When I went to watch a play over the summer, I was waiting for them to burst into song!
“It’s a learning process. I’d like to do something modern.”
It’s understandable that Louise wants to spread her wings. She has already released a few albums and has a strong fan following.
“My first album was just me and the piano, and theatrical classics. Here Comes the Sun was in the theatrical style. I’ve gone back and had pure drama with the full orchestra, so I think I’d like to try a different style with the next one.”
Her fans are also keen to keep in touch, with Louise setting up a page just to answer their questions – all in good fun though.
She has a column called Auntie Lou on her website dedicated to the cause.
“Auntie Lou started because was getting so many messages asking my opinion and advice on things I just didn’t feel qualified to give advice on,” she says.
“Some of them were funny, or more lighthearted so we thought why not have like an agony aunt section on my website for those ones.
“My manager came up with the name and it’s been really fun to do.”