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Sadie Frost On … Being Touched again by Madonna

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In 2009, Sadie Frost returned to the stage after a 20-year absence to play Lesley, a Mancunian Madonna fan, in Touched ... For the Very First Time, for which she was nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Solo Performance. She now returns to the role in playwright Zoe Lewis’ follow-up one-woman play Touched ... Like a Virgin, in which Lesley’s lifelong love affair with the queen of pop runs up against the thirty-something woman’s clock-ticking dilemma.

After appearing in Touched ... For the Very First Time, Frost starred in a double bill of Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love and Shakespeare’s Richard III at Riverside Studios. Earlier in her career, Frost made her stage debut in Nicholas Hytner’s Mumbo Jumbo at the Royal Exchange Manchester before starring in various films including Dracula, Shopping, An Ideal Husband and Love, Honour and Obey.

When I did Touched ... For the Very First Time in 2009, I really enjoyed Zoe Lewis’ writing and playing the character of Lesley. At the time, we always thought we were going to go on tour or do something else with it and then life happened. I went away and did other projects and that was that. It was frustrating because I never really felt like I’d got it completely out of my system. So when Zoe came to me and said “I’ve written some more, would you be interested in doing a sequel?”, I said I’d love to read the script.

Spot the difference: Madonna vs Sadie Frost (Frost photo taken by Boy George for The Hepatitis C Trust's Get Tested! Campaign)

Touched ... Like a Virgin is a combination of the old stuff and the new stuff. It finishes off Lesley’s journey. The new production is being staged in a completely different way. Last time there was different sets and props and costumes, whereas this is more like I’m telling a story by talking direct to the audience. It’s a whole different technique, in terms of the timing and the way I’m walking around and talking to the audience.

We’re doing it in the new Soho Downstairs venue, which is a really intimate underground cabaret space. There’s nowhere to escape to, and no props or costumes to hide behind. I have to engage fully and directly with the audience the whole time. Also it’s not in chronological order, it’s a bit abstract. So I have to be really rooted, really earthy.

It’s challenging for me do something completely different again. But I like what happens to Lesley the character, I like the rest of her journey. It’s very funny. When we did a showcase, it went down really well, people were laughing a lot. And I thought, “oh god…” Because when something’s received that well, you know that it’s going to happen, that this is reality now, that we’re going to put this on, so the only question is, “are you up for it?” Like everything I do, I’ll kind of say yes, and then think about it afterwards and start to worry and think, “oh my god, why I am doing this, why am I putting myself through this again?”

In the new play, I’ve aged from 14 to 40, so there’s the Madonna bit and then there’s Lesley’s obsession with Kate Moss, and then her wanting to have a baby. But it’s not too heavy or serious. It feels very off the cuff and fun, a great girls’ night out. And there’s a bar down in that Soho Theatre space so everyone has a good time.

When I was 15, I was a big Madonna fan myself. I really felt like how Lesley felt about Madonna. But I did become disillusioned with her. Lesley says in the play, “reinvention is dead”. In my life, I’ve found that, of course you’ve got to reinvent yourself sometimes, but at other times you’ve got to slow down with it. I admire Madonna. She’s an amazing, strong woman, and a very clever businessperson. I’m happy with a smaller little life. When you’re someone like Madonna, maintaining this huge status and profile, it must be exhausting.

Touched ... Like a Virgin opens this Thursday 24 May 2012 (previews from 22 May) Soho Theatre’s Soho Downstairs, where its limited season continues run until 9 June.

** DON'T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to TOUCHED on 6 June 2012 and get your top ticket, a FREE programme and access to our EXCLUSIVE post-show Q&A with Sadie Frost - all for the INCREDIBLE price of just £15.00!! CLICK HERE TO BOOK NOW! **


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