STAGE

Tour­ing can be tough, but for­mer The X-fac­tor au­di­tionee Brenda Ed­wards is bring­ing it on stage ev­ery night with the high-en­ergy show Hair­spray, while bat­tling breast can­cer. What’s On spoke to her as the show reaches Kent.

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - What's On - - CONTENTS -

Hair­spray star Brenda Ed­wards takes to the stage de­spite a per­sonal bat­tle

You pre­vi­ously toured with Hair­spray – why did you come back? It re­ally helped to get me through, what I was go­ing through, when af­ter the first half of the tour, I was di­ag­nosed with Stage 3 breast can­cer. The songs in the show are up­lift­ing in so many dif­fer­ent ways and per­form­ing in the show helped me not to fo­cus on the chemo­ther­apy. One of the songs that I sing and es­pe­cially drew strength from, was I Know Where I Have Been, the words al­ready had so much mean­ing to me, and through­out the rest of the tour helped me to stay pos­i­tive and keep think­ing of brighter days! So I guess to me it was very ther­a­peu­tic and just what I needed. I ob­vi­ously haven’t been do­ing much ex­er­cise over the last year so I’m find­ing it a bit harder this time. I’m ab­so­lutely lov­ing it, the cast are so tal­ented, I’m en­joy­ing get­ting to know ev­ery­one. But it’s great – it’s so much fun and the en­ergy! The en­ergy lev­els are so high all the way through.

De­scribe Hair­spray in three words and tell us what to ex­pect from it.

Big­ger, brighter and beau­ti­fuller! I love it! Au­di­ences can ex­pect en­ergy, a lot of laughs some fan­tas­tic songs played by a phe­nom­e­nal band, while at the same time lis­ten­ing to the mes­sage which I think is so cur­rent. I know, I am sound­ing like I am a 1960s hippy, but I just wish ev­ery­one would just spread the love and get on with one an­other, I think that’s what this show em­bod­ies no mat­ter what race, size or opin­ions in the end it’s all about com­ing to­gether and show­ing a united front.

Tell us about Mo­tor­mouth May­belle, your char­ac­ter.

Hav­ing a son and daugh­ter of my own, I could re­late to her nur­tur­ing, strong, pro­tec­tive side where she has to be in charge and then there is the en­ter­tain­ing side, where she plays her mu­sic and has fun with ev­ery­one. The songs she sings are just fab­u­lous! She has a big per­son­al­ity just like me, so I think it’s a per­fect role.

What in­spired you to go into mu­si­cal theatre?

I was born and raised in the church. There were a lot of times when we never had mi­cro­phones, so we had to project, and so I grew up singing. But it was Sharon [Os­bourne] who told me that she was ap­proached by the pro­duc­ers of Chicago the Mu­si­cal when I was on The X-fac­tor in 2005, to come for an au­di­tion. I feel so lucky.

Pic­ture: Dar­ren Bell

Brenda Ed­wards and the cast re­hearse

Hair­spray is com­ing to the Or­chard Theatre in Dart­ford

Brenda Ed­wards

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