Cast on trial in Rehearsal For Murder

TURNING up on a theatre set to find you are the youngest in a company that includes Poldark star Robert Daws, Susan Penhaligon – once branded ‘the British Bardot’ in the 1970s – and the face of The Royal, Amy Robbins, must have been a bit daunting for Lucy Dixon.

“I felt very much like the new kid at school on the first day, very much stood in the corner because I didn’t know anybody,” admits Lucy. “But everyone has been lovely, really great to work with.”

The 26-year-old plays Karen Daniels in the classic thriller Rehearsal For Murder, a mystery set around a killing during a theatre production.

Nonetheless, Lucy adds that ‘it’s great to be in a room with talented thespians’. She says: “They have trodden the boards and know their craft and have learned and perfected it over the years.

“And it really encourages you as an actor; it brings the best out in you because you are working alongside these people that are giving 100% constantly, which hugely helps.

“Daunting? Yes. Nervous? I was on the first day, but I love it. I love that buzz, I love that challenge and that’s what I love about theatre. You get that energy and adrenaline that you don’t get on a TV set.”

Despite being the youngest in the cast, Lucy is well known in her own right as Danielle Harker in Waterloo Road and Tilly Evans in Hollyoaks – and often gets recognised in public.

“I do and I’m shocked,” she says. “Especially when they recognise me from Waterloo Road! I was about 16 when I started on that show and was 19 when I left, so that’s seven years ago now, but people still come up to me. I want to tell them well done for remembering!

“And then there was Tilly. I played a lesbian on Hollyoaks and the feedback and the response I got from people was incredible and I still get it to this day.

“I get a lot of girls chatting me up and giving me their phone numbers, which is flattering and funny, especially if I’m out with my mum or my grandfather!” she laughs.

“But seriously, it’s lovely when people come up and say they enjoy the things that you’ve been in and look forward to seeing you in something else.” Rehearsal For Murder is a classic whodunit. Playwright Alex Dennison is left heartbroken when his fiancée and leading lady Monica Welles is found dead from an apparent suicide after the opening night of her stage debut.

On the anniversary of that ill-fated night, Alex assembles the same cast and crew in the same theatre, for a reading of his new play.

But as the reading progresses, the play’s similarity to actual events becomes increasingly uncomfortable for the participants and it soon becomes clear that Alex believes Monica was murdered and his new play is a devious cat-and-mouse chase to uncover her killer… “When I read the script I really enjoyed it, I was really hooked,” says Lucy.

“I think the storyline is fantastic, there are lots of twists and turns. There’s lot of little pieces of information that is given away constantly throughout, so the audience is led in one direction and then the other.

“I think it’s a real edge-of-your-seat and gripping story.”

Rehearsal For Murder will be at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, from Monday 11 April until Saturday 16 April. For tickets visit www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk.

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