ON STAGE NOW: Lucy Vandi in Guys and Dolls

Alt Africa caught up with Actress/Singer Lucy Vandi who plays night club singer Ms Adelaide in the smash-hit musical Guys and Dolls. Set in up-town 1939 Harlem it is the UK’s first all-Black cast production of this iconic show which is currently running at the Royal Exchange, Manchester. Pictured – centre Ray Fearon (Nathan Detroit), Lucy Vandi (Ms Adelaide)

Q: What excites you about this production?

What excites me most of all is that I am working with some incredible performers /actors, I cannot tell you! The energy in rehearsal is just electrifying. I am just so looking forward to when I go out there live. I love acting, we have one of the best bands on this production and the way we are doing it is not the traditional way Guys and Dolls has been done before. In fact, a lot of the music is going to be gospel, jazz and blues. There are so many people in the cast that are stars and this production is going to highlight this.

Q: How are preparing for the role of Ms Adelaide?

My Ms Adelaide is a very determined headstrong character, she is very loyal and she loves Nathan. She has decided that she is going to be married in a year. She has a very public face and a very private face, so the way I am preparing is I am connecting with and getting to know each member of the cast that I need to. So, I can get the best out of the story and tell it to the best of my capabilities.

Q: What does Michael Buffong bring to the production as the Director?

What I love about him is he really gives you the freedom to explores the text and explore everything about your character. If I have an idea Michael is open to see where it can go and will bring the best part of the idea to life. He is very relaxed in his approach, no pressure. As an artist you need to feel comfortable. He creates a safe space for us to be and for that I think he is amazing.

Q: Leading up to the production what was the energy in the rehearsal room like?

We are all so excited to get out there!

Q: What advice would you give to young actors starting out?

I would say be yourself. If you are being yourself that means you are in tune with who you are, and you can connect with the audience. This a story that is about love, everyone has been in love and should be able to relate to some part of that so putting that into the performance would be easier if you are yourself. I would say look after yourself as in the play I do a lot of singing and acting. So, it my duty to look after my health.

Q: You have also performed with BB King and Peter Andre to name a few, working as a backing singing which do prefer acting or singing?

I love both sometimes I just do singing and sometimes I just act. I love it all. Sometimes I find the only way to express myself is to sing. I am grateful that I can and have done the music thing and I have done and I am doing the acting thing.

Q: What professional training did you get?

On a teacher’s recommendation to my parents, I was sent me to The Singing School and they realized that I had a talent. When I was older my love for singing continued. When I used to go out I was probably quite annoying (laugh), I would ask the band if I could sing with them, but it paid off as I was given the chance that led to me touring, TV appearances and backing singing jobs. I was also in a band with Fat Boy Slim which I loved, and they really looked after me. But I had this call to acting and I found the Mountview drama school, but the fees were expensive so applied for a scholarship which I won. Dame Julie Drench paid for my fees.

Guys and Dolls is at the  Royal Exchange Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company co-production, performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited. It is on stage until 3rd February 2018. Book tickets here

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