Star Q&A: Zoe Lyons

Round & About

UK tour

Comedian Zoe Lyons shares her thoughts ahead of her Bald Ambition live comedy tour which visits Aldershot, Banbury, Farnham, Salisbury, Maidenhead & more

Q. How are you?
“Very well thanks. Life is a very pleasant mixture of work and fun so all is well in my world.”

Q. I read your funny quotes about a ‘midlife crisis’…
“Well I had an absolute cracker of a midlife crisis during the pandemic. I turned 50, hit the menopause and bought a sports car, among other things. It was a tricky time but because there was a backdrop of global chaos I managed to hide it quite well. But in this challenging time, there were also a lot of funny moments. And surely the best thing about being a comedian is we can turn personal difficulties into a new show! It’s cathartic to laugh in the face of adversities.”

Q. Who was your comedic inspiration growing up?
“It was always Billy Connolly as a kid. We’d get his videos at Christmas, watch as a family and howl laughing. I remember watching my mum, tears of laughter rolling down her cheeks.”

Q. Did you enjoy school?
“I was taught by nuns at my first school in Ireland. I’m afraid I wasn’t a big fan of school, I think largely because I didn’t like reading, especially aloud in class. I found it hard and I was always slightly embarrassed. We moved around quite a bit to and that made things difficult. I went to high school in Glasgow. There I found a love for geography and my teacher Mr Knowles made it so interesting and fun. I can’t look at a U-shaped valley even now without thinking…ahh glacial erosion. Funny what stays with you.”

Q. Loving your bold look… How are you coping with the alopecia?
“The alopecia was another symptom of my midlife blip. It was quite shocking to watch my hair all fall out over the course of the year. Pleased to say it has started to sprout back. I’m currently going through my dodgy growing-out phase… some patches, tufts and some longer bits. I need to get the tour done before it all grows back!”

Q. Who would be your dream dinner party guests?
“Grace Jones, Billy Connolly and David Sedaris… I think it will be a fun night and I know Grace will end up dancing on the table.”

Q. Do you have anything on your rider?
“I need to up my ‘diva’ game. I have such a basic rider; water and a mirror and I’ll be honest I don’t always use the mirror! I try and eat well on tour but sometimes a girl’s just got to have a burger on the road… and fries….and milkshake… and maybe another burger.”

Q. Who is your favourite author?
“George Orwell. When I finally started enjoying reading, Animal Farm changed everything for me.”

Q. What new year resolutions or perhaps cool things or goals do you have planned for this year..?
“I don’t do resolutions. But I do want to keep up my fitness. My goal is to run another sub-two hours half marathon and complete a 100k challenge in 17 hours. I want to carry on enjoying my work. And of course growing a luscious head of hair.”

To find tickets to Zoe’s show click here

Star Q&A: Craig Revel Horwood

Round & About

UK tour

Craig Revel Horwood, 57, is excited about bringing Strictly Ballroom The Musical back to the stage on a UK tour, which includes Reading’s Hexagon, 16th-21st January & Guildford’s G Live, 20th-30th December

Q. Hello Craig! Can you tell us about this show, which you’ve directed and co-choreographed?

“Audiences are in for a night of laughter and comedy, with an insight into the ballroom world. It’s a glimpse backstage, which is very different to the smiles when dancers are performing. Most people see this happy, smiley world of people dancing together but when they come off stage they maybe have family issues to deal with or issues with each other. Strictly Ballroom lifts the curtain on all that whilst also being really funny and having such a strong central love story, plus there’s lots of glitz and glamour and beautiful costumes. I am absolutely delighted to be directing the amazing Kevin Clifton and the sensational Maisie Smith, together with our super talented cast in Strictly Ballroom The Musical – I know that they’ll all be FAB-U-LOUS! Expect some sexy moves, sizzling costumes and a simply sensational evening!”

Q. You left Australia in 1988 to forge a career in the UK, and I’ve read that the film Strictly Ballroom was a pivotal moment for you?

“I hadn’t really been home since leaving and when I saw the movie it made me feel really homesick. I absolutely loved it and it’s become one of those go-to films that I watch every Christmas. It cheers me up. So when the opportunity came up to direct it I didn’t hesitate. I’m passionate about all kinds of dance and this show is the perfect vehicle for me to explore that.”

Q. The show features songs by Sia, David Foster and Eddie Perfect, I believe?

“You’re going to see huge dance numbers and fantastic duets, with tunes that people know and love, as well as new music written specifically for the show which is equally brilliant. It’s mixing the old and the new.”

Q. How have people’s perceptions of ballroom changed over the years?

“People perhaps didn’t understand the world of ballroom dancing when the film Strictly Ballroom came out. Since the advent of Strictly Come Dancing they get what it’s all about. They realise that it’s full of very strict rules that the dancers all have to adhere to but Scott wants to break those rules, just as Fran wants to break the rules of flamenco. When they come together they also end up falling in love. That’s what makes it such a compelling and uplifting show.”

strictlyballroomtour.co.uk