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Brief Encounter with ... Jodie Prenger

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Jodie Prenger won the BBC talent show I’d do Anything in 2008 which gave her the opportunity to play Nancy in the West End revival of Oliver! She has since starred in Spamalot, the drama series Candy Cabs and she regularly sits in for Paul O’Grady on his BBC Radio 2 show. She has been playing the part of Dolly in One Man Two Guvnors at the Royal Haymarket in London and will reprise the role on tour in Salford.

One Man, Two Guvnors is now on its second tour and it won Best new comedy at the Whatsonstage.com Awards earlier this year, what do you think makes it so successful?
It should definitely be prescribed on the NHS. I have never in all the shows I’ve done heard audiences laugh like they have to this. They just…there’s one scene especially when they’re doing this scene, sadly I’m in the dressing room at that point, when I have the tannoy on it sounds like the audience are on a rollercoaster, there’s screams there’s laughter there’s huge huzzahs. We all need that don’t we? We all need a good knees up and we all need a good laugh

There’s a lot of physical comedy isn’t there?
Comedy is one of the hardest things to do but when you’ve got it right it’s totally magical and it’s just this is what it is with this show. It’s got physical comedy, it’s got visual comedy, it’s got the one-liners I mean it was written by Richard Bean who used to be a stand-up comedian years ago. He’s got these lines, they must have been sent from god, they’re brilliant. People will use the one-liners from the show in years to come.

You take on a lot of comic roles and you have worked with a lot of comedians, who makes you laugh and why?

What really make me laugh is people falling over (laughs) so the one thing I could never be is an A&E nurse because if you come in and you’ve fallen over that’s it I’m gone, I’m floored. I will laugh until I can’t laugh no more. Comedy wise throughout the years, even working in my very early days supporting comedians when I was out on the road myself there’s so much great humour there. It’s hard to pick there’s so many greats. I love Stewart Francis - his one-liners and then you’ve got Phil Jupitus you know his sense of humour is so quirky and then you’ve got people like Lee Evans who’s so visual. Believe it or not I’m very hard to make laugh. If you can make me laugh, you’re on a winner.

You won the part of Nancy in I’d Do Anything and helped Andrew Lloyd Webber choose his Toto in Over the Rainbow, but a lot of people are still critical about talent shows like this. Why do you think they work?
With reality shows you’ve got to manage these people right. You’ve got to send them in the right direction or people can just fall by the wayside and become one hit wonders. It’s fun and it’s amazing and it’s fantastic winning these competitions but where the work is afterwards, carrying on and steering a career for yourself. I urge all the kids don’t go out just to try and be famous cos it’s a lot of hard work. This business is amazing, but there’s these people who just want to be famous and to be honest with you, you can stuff that part, I’d rather sit in with a packet of biscuits with me mum and me fella and me dog.

You’re spending a fortnight in the northwest again, what’s the best thing about going back?
As Dorothy says "there’s no place like home." I'm doing two weeks in Manchester. I just love home, I love the people from there, it’s always good to go back. It’s lovely to take such a brilliant show home. I hope they love it, I really do.

What have you got planned next?
There are genuinely a couple of things but I can’t talk about them! Your career’s like a game of chess, you’ve got to plan everything and it’s sod’s law you’ve got to sign on the dotted line before you start running your mouth off.

Jodie Prenger was speaking to Joanna Ing.

One Man, Two Guvnors is at The Lowry from 8 - 19 January, 2013.


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