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Interview with Anna Unwin



I caught up with the lovely Anna Unwin, who is currently busy in tech rehearsals for ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ at Manchester Opera House. Unwin plays Olivia in this new jukebox musical, featuring hits penned by the formidable Stock Aitken Waterman.

Opening the show with Ella’s excitement on her wedding day, the excitement is brought crashing down to earth when groom Nathan gets cold feet. Encouraging Ella not to be too upset, her Grandma suggests that they all go on the honeymoon together instead. Whilst away she runs into Olivia, a bully from school, concocting an elaborate cover story to hide her jilted embarrassment. From here on in the mayhem and chaos begin!


Having gone through several workshops before getting to this point, Unwin has been part of the journey since the very beginning. When a mix up caused her to miss the deadline for the second workshop stage, she got in touch with the director personally. Desperate to still be involved but with all roles taken, they created the role of Cousin Helen; allowing her to still be part of in the show’s development! Talking about the workshop process, Unwin explained;


“It’s really fun to be part of that first initial creative process. Creating something from scratch and being in a room of creative people really is the most fun ever.”


She also workshopped the lead role of Ella, who she will be first cover for. However, it is the role of bully Olivia that Unwin will be originating in this extensive UK tour.


“It’s really challenged me to be really cool, collected and powerful. Olivia comes in to stir the pot and causes chaos and drama! She’s horrible… which is actually really fun to play”


Being a comedy musical, Unwin beamed at how fun the rehearsal process has been, with such a hilarious cast. During the creation of the show, director Debbie Isett gave scenarios to the cast to improvise from;


“Some of the lines that are in the show are things that were just said in the moment! I think that’s super exciting to be a part of”


The big draw for ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ is obviously the iconic Stock Aitken Waterman songbook. As we chatted about our favourite Stock Aitken Waterman songs, Unwin gushed about the “surreal experience” of meeting Kylie during rehearsals, describing her as an absolute powerhouse! She did however reveal in the show itself her favourite number is Mel & Kim’s 1987 classic ‘Respectable’;


“We’re all going out for a night out, and that’s our big getting ready number. I think most people would say that’s their most tiring number of the show, but it’s so much fun!”


A true theatre fan herself, we spoke about her future aspirations. Beyond playing Anna in Frozen and Glinda in Wicked, a future dream role would be as Norma Desmond, after being in awe of Nicole Scherzinger’s unique take in the current West End revival of Sunset Boulevard.


After recently making her West End debut in ‘Aspects of Love’, Unwin talked about the excitement at playing some of the UK’s biggest regional theatres. Before that, the cast have a couple of weeks of previews before the official press night in Manchester. With the show being put together in such an experimental way, she explained there is a lot of room for it to develop between now and its official opening night. When asked why people should book a ticket, she said;


“It is the one of the funniest musicals you’ll see, the most feel-good musical I’ve ever been a part of. You will leave with a huge smile on your face”


She explained that those who aren’t necessarily drawn in by the music will be absolutely sold by the story. Describing how that the music is so cleverly weaved into the narrative, if you didn’t know the songs already, you would assume they were written for the show. The last show that I would describe like that would be ‘& Juliet’, and based on that accolade alone, this show is not one to be missed. Look out for our exclusive review after the official press night in a few weeks!


Performances start in at Manchester Opera House on Thursday 2nd November until Saturday 25th November, before a full UK tour. See below for booking details and the official trailer.




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