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BWW Interviews: MARY POPPINS's Rebecca Lock

Hi Rebecca! Thanks for chatting to us today. You're currently in the new UK tour of Mary Poppins - how is it all going so far?

We are just entering our last week of performances in Bristol and we are having a marvellous time. The audiences have been brilliant!

Glad you're enjoying your time in Bristol! How much has the show changed since the West End production several years ago?

Since its original incarnation in London, Mary Poppins has been performed all over the world, and every time it's remounted the creative team take every opportunity to trim and finesse this beast of a show. It's such a beautiful, poignant piece and I think this version is a cracker!!

I have to agree! You're currently playing Mrs Banks - can you tell us a little bit about her and what you enjoy about playing her?

I love playing Winifred! She has an amazing journey through the show - a little lost in the world of pleasing others and keeping up appearances within society when all she really wants is to look after her beloved children and love her gorgeous husband. She is beautifully bonkers and her heart is as big as her hair. I'm loving every second. Constantly finding nuggets of silly.

You had the opportunity to play Mary Poppins in the West End run - what is it about the practically perfect nanny and the show in general that you think hooks people?

I was lucky enough to play Mary a lot in London, yes. A dream role for any actress. It's such a magical part - you rule your little world and Mary is always right! You fly in, turn the Banks family upside down and inside out, fix everything through song and ridiculously fantastic dance routines, then fly out over an audience of bewitched children (and parents), which I'm sure Zizi would agree is one of the best feelings ever! The music and movie are such a massive part of a lot of people's childhoods that you cannot fail to be touched and affected by the story when you see it.

The tour has only just started, so you haven't racked up too many venues on this particular run yet, but what are the best and worst things about touring life so far?

Best things about touring life...hmm...seeing the country! Visiting and exploring places I've never been to. Long car journeys home with Wendy Ferguson (Mrs Brill) and Grainne Renihan (Bird Woman) - I have never laughed so much or eaten as many Maltesers in my life! Finding the best place for brunch with Zizi (Mary Poppins). Oh crikey, it's all ending up about food! The worst things about touring: missing my family and cat, not being in my house or baking in my kitchen, and missing my partner in crime Annalene Beechey. Thank God for Facetime!!

Indeed! Do you find it easier to play each venue for just a week, or is it nicer to stay put for longer?

I can't imagine the upheaval of only playing a venue for a week at a time. I'm not sure I'd enjoy that. It's great to be able to put down your roots for a while and really get to enjoy a place.

Do you have any pre-show rituals or dressing-room must-haves?

Hmm dressing room dressing table looks like Boots the chemist. You never know when you'll need a lozenge or some such. I have a little spritz of Jo Malone Red Roses - it's Winifred's scent. I like to think that she would always smell so clean, like she's just had a bath and smells like talc. I always go and see Zizi before the show and say "See you at my house!". It's become a thing.

That's adorable! What's your favourite scene in the show, and why?

My favourite scene...oh my...lots of them, for so many reasons. I do enjoy the collapsing kitchen very much. The final scene with the family cannot fail to move me, though.

It is certainly a lovely scene. What scene are you not in that you would love to be part of and why?

I do miss being in 'Step in Time' - who doesn't love a ten-minute tap routine?!

Well, quite! You also co-run a wonderful crafts business with fellow actress Annalene Beechey - how is that going, and will you be producing any Poppins-related goods?!

Apple Tree Hill is blooming nicely, thank you. Yes, Annalene and I are crafty compadres. Mary Poppins goods? Hadn't thought about that! But now you mention it, a little red dicky bow for our budding Marys isn't a bad idea at all!! Annalene?

What was the last show you went to see?

The last show I went to see was Miss Saigon. It has always been in my top five and I remember seeing it the first time it was on at Drury Lane. However, this new production blew me away all over again. Jon Jon Briones is phenomenal and Eva Noblezada broke me - you should've seen the tears and snot! And they are off to Broadway, too...Tony Awards all round, please!

Thanks, Rebecca, and enjoy the rest of your Poppins tour!

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