Caroline confident about stage debut

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Caroline Flack knows a thing or two about a rocky romance.

She has witnessed it first hand after her eight week stint presenting Love Island, the most watched and talked about show of the summer.

Even here at Yorkshire Post towers, the morning news conference started with a debrief of the previous night’s action from the villa.

So it is fitting that she makes her theatrical debut playing Irene, a woman whose love life is also bumpy, in hit musical Crazy For You which comes to Leeds Grand next week.

Chatting during rehearsals Flack says: “She’s strong. She knows what she wants. But there’s a vulnerability.

“She gets hurt the whole way through, but she’s brilliantly defiant. She stays strong and doesn’t give up. She’s naughty as well. There’s definitely bits of Irene that are quite like me.”

Crazy For You is the story of Bobby, a banker who longs to be a stage star. When he’s forced to foreclose on a failing theatre, he falls for the owner’s daughter who would want nothing to do with him if she knew who he was. Irene is the woman he leaves behind.

It was her time on Strictly Come Dancing in 2014, and the live tour, that re-ignited her childhood ambition to perform on stage.

When, as a teenager, she discovered that performing could be a career, she set her heart on it and studied for three years at Bodywork Company in Cambridge. “It’s the only real qualification I have,” she laughs.

She landed presenting jobs on I’m A Celebrity and Xtra Factor but the curtain was never closed on the theatre.

Flack explains: “It wasn’t just a case of wanting to be on stage, it was wanting to be on stage but doing the right thing.”

So why was this Watermill Theatre production of Crazy For You the show that brought her back to the theatre?

The answer is that playing Irene gives her the opportunity to get to grips with a character rather than worrying about leading an entire show single-handedly and the chance to relearn her craft and refresh her memory of theatrical performance.

She is also looking forward to working in a totally different way. With Strictly, her success revolved around just two people. When she’s presenting, it’s often just her “on a sofa, chatting to someone”.

With Crazy For You there are 30 people all working together and she is relishing the team ethos of being part of a musical production.

The cast are even talking about getting her involved in the music side of the show. She adds: “Everyone says that they’re going to teach me something by the end of the tour. I am aiming for the drums.”

Handily, for an actor about to set off on a tour around the country for the best part of eight months, she’s a fan of the nomadic life.

She say: “I’m a traveller at heart. There is so much more to the UK than London and I don’t get to see it enough, so I’m massively excited. There’s some really amazing venues around the UK, and to play them will be hugely exciting.”

Flack, originally from Norwich, says she is especially excited to perform up North.

“I think there’s something in me that should have been northern. It’s very friendly up in the north. With the Strictly Come Dancing tour, the more northern you got, the more excitable the crowds were.”