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Alexandra Burke in Sister Act the Musical at the Marlowe, Canterbury

By Angela Cole

Alexandra Burke’s come a long way since winning the X Factor in 2008.

After seeing her single Hallelujah become the top-selling UK single of 2008 and the Christmas No.1 that year, she released her debut album, Overcome, and a second in 2012, before moving into musical theatre in 2014, taking over from Beverley Knight in the lead role in The Bodyguard. Now she’s doing a year’s stint in Sister Act The Musical.

And despite her experience, especially live, don’t think she isn’t still nervous about performing.

“I found it quite nerve-racking taking on Sister Act,” she said. “Everything I do is nerve-racking for me and this was the most nerve-racking, mainly because of the comedy. I read the script and there was a little bit of me that really enjoys trying to be funny, so I so wanted to do the role justice and gave it everything.”

Alexandra Burke in Sister Act
Alexandra Burke in Sister Act

X Factor was some time ago, but the show will always have a special place in her heart.

“It feels like yesterday that I won it and it is something that I will never, ever forget. I am grateful that I am still working. I really enjoy seeing people smiling and loving the show.”

She also recently became the poster girl for Slimfast, and hers is an endorsement from the heart.

“While I was working on The Bodyguard, I put on a lot of weight,” she said. “You think that because you have done a two-hour show and run and danced around, you can allow yourself that late-night takeaway, but I had never been bigger than a size 10 and suddenly I was. For me, it was very uncomfortable.

“I then had this awful moment when my dress ripped while I was on stage. The only reason was because I was too big for it. It was my worst nightmare.”

Alexandra Burke won the X Factor in 2008
Alexandra Burke won the X Factor in 2008

So Alexandra put herself on Slimfast and at the end was so happy with the results, she contacted Slimfast to let them know – and they snapped her up to share her success with others.

Touring as Deloris Van Cartier in the musical comedy Sister Act – a role made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the film – means a period away from home, and away from her four “babies” – her dogs – but it has also give her her first taste of choreography from Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood, who she describes as “fantastic”.

“He works very, very hard and he is a wonderful director and choreographer. He is really supportive as well.”

Whoppi Goldberg in the 1982 film Sister Act
Whoppi Goldberg in the 1982 film Sister Act

THE STORY

Based on the movie starring Whoopi Goldberg and Maggie Smith, Sister Act tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a disco diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder and under protective custody she is hidden in the one place she won’t be found – a convent.

Disguised as a nun and under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own.

DETAILS

Sister Act will be at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury between Monday, June 26 and Saturday, July 1 but is sold out.

Alexandra Burke will headline Big Day Out this summer
Alexandra Burke will headline Big Day Out this summer

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