Jade Hollingshead

We speak to Liam Brelsforth and Jade Hollingshead about their latest roles in Footloose

In real life they’re firm friends - but Liam Brelsforth and Jade Hollingshead are portraying a
rather more awkward relationship on stage in
Footloose - The Musical.

Jade Hollingshead and Liam Brelsforth

Jade Hollingshead and Liam Brelsforth

"I play Rusty, a confident High School girl,” says Jade. “But she gets tongue-tied whenever she’s near this boy called Willard, because she really fancies him!”

“And Willard has no idea Rusty fancies him,” says Liam of his character. “He’s a bit…slow…”

“Typecast!” laughs Jade.

Jade and Liam first met 7 years ago on the Performing Arts Course at Queen Mary’s College.

"As you can probably tell from that laugh, I heard Jade before I saw her" retorts Liam. “But we hit it off and now we’re best friends!” assures Jade.

Jade persuaded Liam to join BATS for Anything Goes in 2012. They’ve both played a variety
of roles in most shows since, including opposite each other as lovebirds Jan and Roger in
Grease. Both are loving Footloose.

“The songs are great,” enthuses Jade. “There’s Holding Out For A Hero, Almost Paradise and
my big number is Let’s Hear It For The Boy where we’re all line dancing. It’s really energetic
and I’ve got a massive note to reach at the end so I’ve got to be fit!”

And Liam’s biggest challenge in the show? “Trying to do press-ups in a dance routine set in
the gym. I just can’t do them!”

Both agree Footloose is a feelgood, upbeat show that will have audiences singing as they
leave the theatre. “If you liked the film you’ll love the musical!” promises Jade.

Footloose is at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wednesday 15th-Saturday 25th
November. Performances at 7.30pm with extra 2.30pm shows on Saturday 18th & 25th.

Tickets: £18.50 - £23.50 (adults) £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-
65s and groups. All prices include a booking fee.

Buy tickets: www.anvilarts.org.uk Call 01256 844244 or visit the Anvil Arts box office.

In rehearsal with the Sha-bop Girls for Little Shop of Horrors

Pictured from left to right - Meet Ronette (Kirsty Bennett), Chiffon (Louise Gains) and Crystal (Jade Hollingshead). Their names conjure up memories of glamorous American girl groups from the early 1960s. That’s a big clue to the type of music this sassy trio will be performing in the BATS production of the Broadway musical Little Shop of Horrors at the Haymarket in May.

The Sha-bop Girls in rehearsal
The Sha-bop Girls in rehearsal

Played by Louise Gains, Kirsty Bennett and Jade Hollingshead, the Sha-bop Girls, as they’re called, provide some sweet 60’s sounds as the comedy/horror storyline unfolds.

“There are a lot of challenges,” says Jade. “Always singing in close harmony, getting the dance moves in sync together...” Kirsty agrees: “It’s the timing, moving exactly the same as the other girls.” For Louise it’s a bigger ask: “I have two left feet,” she admits, “it’s out of my comfort zone!” But other aspects of the character are easier to find: “The Sha-bop Girls are lively, streetwise and a bit cheeky – like me!”

The Sha-bop Girls pop in and out of the action as hapless shop assistant Seymour tries to keep the gruesome secret of his man-eating plant. Their sizzling songs offer a wry commentary as the plant grows to a massive size and aims for world domination.

Little Shop of Horrors is the first time the three girls have sung together, and they’re loving it. “It’s such an amazing group of people,” says Kirsty. “The show’s going to be brilliant!”

Aside from previous shows with BATS, Kirsty used to be a holiday camp entertainer and reached the final of Basingstoke’s Festival Factor singing competition. Louise has performed on the main stage of Basingstoke Live and been heard on Radio 1 Xtra. Jade has taken lead roles in ‘Hairspray’ and ‘Our House’ with BATS Next Gen.

“I’m looking forward to the craziness of costumes, lights, and seeing the whole show come together,” says Louise of the prospect of performing at The Haymarket. For Jade, it’s all about “making my friends and family proud, believing in myself, and not giving up on my dreams to be in the West End.” And what’s Kirsty most looking forward to? “Seeing the giant plant on stage!”

Six performances of Little Shop of Horrors run from Tues 14th – Sat 18th May at The Haymarket, Basingstoke.

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