Caroline Keiff launches Sheringham theatre season

Richard BatsonActress Caroline Keiff is playing a leading role in launching a seaside summer drama season in Norfolk.Her appearances at Sheringham Little Theatre - as a bedroom singer whose talent is spotted and put on the stage, and a sexy strippagram in a farce - is sandwiched between appearing in two big West End shows.Richard Batson

Actress Caroline Keiff is playing a leading role in launching a seaside summer drama season in Norfolk.

Her appearances at Sheringham Little Theatre - as a bedroom singer whose talent is spotted and put on the stage, and a sexy strippagram in a farce - is sandwiched between appearing in two big West End shows.

She has just finished playing the sister of a evil witch in Wicked, the prequel to the Wizard of Oz, and in the autumn will work alongside Duncan James from Blue and TV comedy actress Sheridan Smith in a musical version of Legally Blonde, which starred Reese Witherspoon in the movie.

But the 28-year-old is happy to be taking part in regional repertory theatre, playing to 180-strong audiences, between her London appearances to crowds of up to 2,500.


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She is among a cast having to rehearse and learn a string of five summer productions in double quick time, ahead of the season's launch early next month.

Demanding rehearsal schedules and a variety of roles were 'a challenge', but would help hone her acting skills, over and beyond her experience in musical theatre - as well as a chance to spend some time by the seaside, she said.

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Her role is as 'Little Voice', a shy, reclusive girl who lives in her bedroom listening and singing along to the recordings of singers such as Gracie Fields, Lulu, Shirley Bassey and Edith Piaf to escape the harsh reality of her hard-drinking loud-mouthed mother - and is discovered by a talent scout.

It was a role played by Jane Horrocks the cinema version, and which means Caroline has also had to learn to impersonate the famous singers.

Director Des Barrit, who was in the Wicked cast with Caroline, said she excelled with a Judy Garland song at auditions.

And she would benefit from the kind of diversity that 'rep' provided, though not as intensely as in its heyday when he played roles ranging from Hercule Poirot and Lady Bracknell to Snoopy the dog in the space of a few weeks.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said Caroline was earmarked for three leading roles at Sheringham in 2006 - but she landed the Wicked role instead.

Opening the season with Little Voice was part of an ongoing effort to make the summer 'rep' appeal to a younger audience, she added. It runs from July 7-14 and again July 29-August 1.

The rest of season of five plays continues with its usual mix of drama and comedy.

Dead of Night, a suspense-filled thriller centred on the truth about an acquitted killer - July 16-21, September 2-5

Intimate Exchanges; Affairs in a Tent - Alan Ayckbourn's comedy about a dissatisfied headmaster's wife starting a new catering business - July 23-28, August 19-25

Look, No Hans! A saucy farce featuring a hapless Berlin-based car company owner leading a double life as an industrial spy - August 4-18

Private Lives - Noel Coward's classic comedy about a divorced couple thrown together again on their second honeymoons - August 27-September 1, September 7-12

Information and tickets from the box office on 01263 822347 or www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

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