TV Star Claire Sweeney has joined join the cast of a “feel-good” musical that will come to High Wycombe next month.

The Brookside actress took over from Caroline Flack as Irene in Crazy For You, which is currently touring the country.

Sweeny has had a television and theatre career spanning more than 20 years. She is best known for her role as Lindsay Corkhill in Brookside, and has also presented on 60 Minute Makeover as well as being a panellist on ITV’s Loose Women.

Her West End roles include Roxie Hart in Chicago and Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, as well as Paulette Bonafonté in the UK tour of Legally Blonde.

She most recently appeared as Baroness Bomburst in the national tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Speaking about what attracted her to the role of Irene Roth in Crazy For You, she said: “She’s just a great character, and she’s such a vamp isn’t she? 

“Plus she has that fantastic number Naughty Baby in act two which is a dream to sing. She’s a very glamorous woman with a bit of an edge to her, which is the sort of character I love to play.

“Irene is very sophisticated, and she thinks knows exactly what she wants when it comes to her life and love. 

“But in practice she completely goes for the opposite of what she originally wanted in terms of the man she ends up with.”

At the start of the show, Irene is engaged to Bobby, played by Strictly Come Dancing star Tom Chambers, with audiences seeing the pitfalls of their relationship.

Trouble arises when he discovers love somewhere else and travels across America, where he meets Polly, played by West End star Charlotte Wakefield, and everything changes for him and Irene.

Speaking about the difference in performing on stage versus TV, Sweeney said she loves them both equally but they are “totally different”, adding that acting for TV and acting for stage requires different techniques.

She cited the Gershwin score as the thing that made her want to play Irene, saying: “I remember seeing Crazy For You the first time around with Ruthie Henshall playing Polly, Charlotte Wakefield’s role.

“The music is just great and I absolutely loved it then and I still love it now.”

Speaking about where her love for musical theatre came from, she said: “Well it’s not something that I was brought up with.

“However, I think my real love of it came from seeing Blood Brothers years ago, which I absolutely loved and from there I fell in love with musical theatre.”

Sweeney said she is looking forward to working with Charlotte Wakefield, adding they are “great pals” and had “lots of fun” working together on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

She said: “I’m really looking forward to being on tour with her again. It is always so good to work with your mates.”

Crazy For You has been described by organisers as high energy, high kicking and gloriously glamorous with a “fabulous” score from the Gershwin brothers’ songbook.

The show is set to come to Wycombe Swan between February 6 and 10.

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