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Canterbury and Dartford: Strictly winner and Casualty star Tom Chambers on his role in musical Crazy For You

By Angela Cole

The feel-good musical, Crazy For You, comes to two Kent theatres this month, with a score from the Gershwin brothers’ songbook, and a cast led by TV presenter and actress Claire Sweeney and 2008 Strictly winner Tom Chambers.

Here, Tom, who went on to appear in the BBC’s Casualty, Holby City and Waterloo Road, talks about how starring in the show is a dream come true, his time on Strictly, and his return to Casualty.

Casualty and Strictly star Tom Chambers is in the musical Crazy For You at Canterbury and Dartford Picture: Richard Davenport
Casualty and Strictly star Tom Chambers is in the musical Crazy For You at Canterbury and Dartford Picture: Richard Davenport

Starring in Crazy for You is fulfilling a teenage dream for you, isn’t it?

It was the very first live musical I ever saw on stage and it just filled me with so much entertainment and wonder. It was amazing to see what they did with the theatre space and how the story was told. It was the only bit of theatre which truly inspired me. After seeing Crazy For You as a teenager, I went and bought the original score. I used to have a singing lesson once a week at school and it would be my favourite lesson. When I was at drama school, they used to say ‘will you stop singing Gershwin?’

So, it would be fair to say you’re enjoying it?

Taking on Crazy For You was a no-brainer for me. It is absolutely my favourite all time musical. I always loved the song and dance happy entertainer shows like Singin' in The Rain, Me and My Girl and Crazy For You. I think Crazy For You has the absolutely perfect balance of humour, story and singing. There are so many musicals that are heavy on just one element but this show has the perfect combination of everything. It is a bit like the show dance on Strictly with everything slotting into place in the right order.

The musical Crazy For You Picture: Richard Davenport
The musical Crazy For You Picture: Richard Davenport

Looking back, how do you feel about your time on the BBC’s Strictly?

People ask if I can do a quick step or a samba. I have to explain that I had a five-day intense workout on each of those routines. It is such a quick short-term memory injection and that is it. It was a bit like doing a marathon. You do step by step doing a couple of miles at a time and you look back and you don’t know how you did it. It is the same with Strictly. Your body naturally gets used to physical exertion and a daily workout but it is the brain that suffers most because of trepidation, fear and anxiety. You are just learning so much. You just go in front of the cameras and the audience and give it your all. I look back now. If I watch anything online of one of our dances, I am looking at it as if I am watching someone else. At the time, you are performing, your brain is just in flight mode.

You have also recently been able to re-join Casualty – how has that been for you?

I loved coming back to the show. When I played the part originally, I knew if I wasn’t careful, I would want to stay for ever as it was a great part with great people. I needed to branch out and fulfil other ambitions and do a lead role in a musical. Sam is a bit of a rogue as a character and he is fun to play. It has been brilliant. It is like stepping back into your favourite pair of shoes.

Read our review here

Tom Chambers with the cast of Crazy For You, which will be at the Marlowe Theatre and the Orchard Theatre Picture: Richard Davenport
Tom Chambers with the cast of Crazy For You, which will be at the Marlowe Theatre and the Orchard Theatre Picture: Richard Davenport

DETAILS

Crazy For You played the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, last week and now plays the Orchard Theatre, Dartford, until Saturday, January 27. For tickets from £22.50, call 01322 220000 or visit orchardtheatre.com.

Crazy For You is a high-kicking, high energy musical Picture: Richard Davenport
Crazy For You is a high-kicking, high energy musical Picture: Richard Davenport

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