Fresh from winning WhatsOnStage.com’s poll for Wicked fans’ favourite London Glinda to date, there can be no doubting that Dianne Pilkington is a familiar name on the London theatre scene. Having recently appeared in Master Class, She Loves Me and The 39 Steps, as well as Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of Les Misérables, Dianne is now playing the role of Donna in Mamma Mia! at The Novello Theatre, London.
Dianne took a break from her busy schedule to chat to The Edge about her latest challenge…
How is the role of Donna different from roles you’ve taken on in the past?
Dianne: Donna is very different from other roles I have played, she is earthier, a mother, and she would never wear a ball gown!
What was it that attracted you to the part?
I was attracted to the part because she is great fun, someone I would like to hang out with. But she is also a fighter, and I like strong women.
What is your favourite song from the show and why?
It changes daily. At the moment I love Super Trouper, it always lifts the spirits!
If you could return to any role you’ve played before, which would it be and why?
Mrs Lovett… I played it at college when I was 20, I’d love to do it now I’m the right sort of age!
If you could play any one part, regardless of gender, which would it be?
How easy do you find it to maintain the energy to do 8 shows a week?
In Mamma Mia! I only do 7 of the shows, so I feel like I have loads of energy, as I’m used to doing 8. Coffee helps.
Are you accident prone? What was your most embarrassing moment on stage?
Yes. Very. I once twirled my Glinda wand into my head and knocked off my crown. And a couple of shows ago I nearly broke Dawn Buckland’s finger, shortly after head-butting her with my teeth.
How much do you listen to critics of your work? Do you read reviews? I try not to read reviews, as negative ones can be crushing and positive ones can make you complacent. Although I prefer positive ones, please…!
Why do you think Mamma Mia! has been so successful? Has the film had an impact on the show’s success?
Mamma Mia! has great songs obviously, and the story revolves around characters in which we can all see something of ourselves or our loved ones (to quote [fellow cast member]Kim Ismay). The film brought it to a wider audience, which is great, as many then want to see where it all began, on stage.
Why should people get themselves down to see Mamma Mia!?
Mamma Mia! is a fun night out, with songs by ABBA that we all know and love (come on, admit it). Plus its set on a Greek island, it’s like a lovely summer holiday. And it’s very funny and moving.
Mamma Mia! is playing at The Novello Theatre, London and is currently booking to 5th April 2014. Tickets are available here.