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Interview with Diana Vickers

14 February 2016 | Lydia Cooper

After she found fame on The X Factor, Diana Vickers had a number one hit album and then turned her talents to acting. Having performed in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and The Duck House, she is now starring as Janet in a touring production of The Rocky Horror Show. When we talk between performances, she chats about backstage antics, how she finds time to relax, and her appreciation for banana egg omelettes.

London Calling: So banana egg omelette, is that a new health fad?

Diana Vickers: D’you know what, it’s just a healthy pancake. I’m a bit obsessed, I have that most mornings with a bit of Greek yoghurt, it tastes great. You just mix two eggs with one banana and fry it. If I’m feeling a bit naughty I’ll have a crumpet with loads of jam for breakfast though.

 

LC:  Is there anywhere in London you particularly like going for brunch?

DV: Oh my goodness, that’s so hard, I love brunch! Shoreditch House is a favourite. Hawksmoor do a really good brunch...also the Breakfast Club of course...gosh, now I can’t stop thinking about food!

 

LC: Let’s get back on track. You’re currently playing Janet in the tour of The Rocky Horror Show, which moves to the West End this spring. What’s that like?

DV: It’s a bonkers show. It’s the tale of a young couple, Brad and Janet, newly engaged, very virginal and straight-laced...and the two of them collide with Frank N Furter’s world. He’s a very sexual and subversive being, a transvestite, and they get lured in and seduced by this mad world. My character Janet progresses from being very bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to exploring her inner vixen and losing her inhibitions. All the characters go on a mad journey.

 

LC: What have rehearsals and touring been like? Are there lots of practical jokers in the cast?

DV: We’re seven weeks in. At first it was so overwhelming, a lot of the cast have been in it before and they’re all so talented. I was nervous about the audience reception as well, because they obviously join in with the show and get really into it. But I’m really enjoying it so far.As for practical jokers, Liam Tamne [who plays Frank N Furter] is so naughty! I’m so bad at corpsing: I laugh a lot and can’t hold it together. He just terrorises me, he’s so funny. At the end of the night he kissed me goodbye in the show, but he got my red lipstick and smudged it all over my face, it went everywhere. He’s always trying to make me giggle, he’s such a bad ’un.

 

LC: Has the tour been going smoothly, or have there been any slip-ups?

DV: Occasionally the lights have gone, but when there are technical problems Liam can just interact with the audience anyway and make a joke of that. There have been days when people have yelled out bizarre things we’ve never heard before that make us laugh on stage.

 

LC: You’ve also played Little Voice and had a role in The Duck House. Are there any dream roles you’d love to play on stage?

DV: I’d love to do so many. We’ve been talking a lot about Grease Live recently. I’d love to play Sandy. Although Rizzo would be incredible, you’d rather be Rizzo wouldn’t you, because she’s just sexier? I like bad characters!

 

LC: Do you worry about being typecast? On the X Factor you were seen as very young and sweet, and then you’ve played Little Voice and Janet who are both young, innocent characters...

DV: Yes, but Janet has a wild side, and she has a journey, so I love exploring the progression in her character! I have done a psychological thriller, which was quite intense - I had to scream and cry, it was so emotionally draining. So yeah I’d love to play more complex roles rather than just innocent ones.

 

LC: Who’s your favourite person you’ve worked with in film or theatre?

DV: I learned a lot working with Lesley Sharp on Little Voice. On that show Tracie [Bennett] helped me a lot with the impersonations of Edith Piaf and Judy Garland, and she was fantastic, such a talented woman, I feel so grateful that I’ve worked with her. Then there are people like Kerry Howard, an example of a really funny British woman. Also Ben Miller in The Duck House was so helpful.

 

LC: You have a hardcore group of fans on social media. Do you ever get any strange requests?

DV: You do get a few people who send you gifts like...I don’t know... a blanket they’ve had since they were a child. And you’re just like - I don’t know what to do with this! I’ve had a bit of that in my time.

 

LC: What do you do when you need some downtime?

DV: Reading, I get sucked into a book! I do a lot of baking when I’m stressed. And I love exercising, running, gym classes, yoga, interval training. Then just normal things like chilling with my friends, playing music loudly... and having a glass of wine after the show always helps!

 

LC: On that note, what are your guilty pleasures?

DV: I do enjoy a bit of the Kardashians, I’m not gonna lie. Also Millionaire Matchmaker on ITV2, I love that. These millionaires interview people and go on dates with them.

 

LC: Going back to the reading, you’re a Jon Ronson fan. What other writers do you like?

DV: I loved Gone Girl. I’ve read a couple of Gilian Flynn’s other books. I love thrillers and psychological stuff - my favourite book is probably The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. I really enjoy Oprah too, and I have all of her inspirational books. Also The Alchemist [by Paulo Coelho], I like to mix things up.

 

LC: You’ve done a lot of song writing. Would you be interested in any other kind of writing project?

DV: Gosh, I’d love to. I do write a lot, I have my laptop with me and when I get a chance to I’m always writing ideas down and thinking of themes in my head. It’s really difficult to find your perfect writing partner though; it needs to be someone you have chemistry with. It would be great to find that person, I’m constantly looking for them. A dream team, someone you can bounce off.

 

LC: You live in London at the moment. Where else would you like to live in the world?

DV: I’d love to have a place in LA! I’m such a sun baby, I absolutely love it. I hate the cold in England. I want to travel more - India, Australia - that’s definitely my resolution for this year!

 

Diana will be appearing in The Rocky Horror Show from 29 February - 5 March at the New Wimbledon Theatre. You can get tickets here.

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