Sally Dexter plays Simone in Viva Forever!, the Spice Girls musical currently running at the Piccadilly Theatre. The acclaimed actress won an Olivier award for Dalliance at the National Theatre and was Olivier-nominated for her performances in Sam Mendes’ Oliver! and for Closer at the National. She has performed lead roles in several major West End musicals including Billy Elliot and Sister Act.
What’s your favourite song from Viva Forever!?
At the moment my favourite song is “Who Do You Think You Are?” Jennifer’s [Saunders] put it in great context and written a fantastic scene around it; one minute it’s funny, the next minute it’s like a fight between all of us. It’s very exciting to enact and the audience respond really strongly to it.
Why do you think the Spice Girls songs are so popular?
I think the Spice Girls songs are the embodiment of fun and optimism. The Spice Girls aren’t afraid to aim high and go for their goals, while encouraging others to do the same. They shine a bright light in what sometimes seems a bit of a dull world!
What does performing in London’s West End mean to you?
It’s incredibly handy – a quick pedal up the hill on my bicycle and I’m there! That aside, London’s West End is a vibrant multicultural hub – and it’s amazing to be part of a phenomenal theatrical history that goes way back.
Do you prefer TV or stage work?
TV and stage work present different challenges, both of which I enjoy.
If you weren’t playing Simone in Viva Forever!, what other role would you like to play on stage at the moment?
Oh my – how long have you got?! There are a million things I’d like to do, but I feel strangely shy about talking about specific plays or shows – I must be more superstitious than I thought! I love working on classical texts. I love Mr Shakespeare and Mr Chaucer. I’ve never done a Chekhov, Tennessee Williams or Lorca play – or a full Greek Tragedy. I also passionately want to do a gig or two.
What part of a musical do you most enjoy – the dancing, singing or acting?
Singing! And acting is naturally at the heart of it anyway.
Do you have any lucky charms or rituals before you go on stage?
Mostly practical stuff – I fill up an old contact lens case with vital throat moistening sweets and pop them down my frontage because I don’t have any pockets. And I always put the left shoe on first – I’ve no idea why!
Why should London theatre-goers choose to see Viva Forever!?
Viva Forever is a fun party that everyone’s invited to. It’s the sort of party you don’t want to leave because you’re having too much fun – and the music is great. Come along and boogie!