With Bat Out of Hell currently touring, Beth Woodcock is playing Spinotti in the musical, along with covering the roles of Sloane, Zahara and Valkyrie, and with the tour continuing until 2023, they open for performances tonight at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, before heading to Blackpool on Tuesday. Beth had her first professional job when she booked the role of Scaramouche in We Will Rock You, and she has previously played Shirley Holliman in The Best of Wham – UK Tour and Ethel in the workshop production of The Dreamers, which she is also part of the original cast recording. For her training, Beth attended The Centre of Performing Arts College, and she has been a lead vocalist on Viking Cruises. We chatted to Beth about touring as Spinotti in Bat Out of Hell, playing Scaramouche in We Will Rock You and being part of the original cast recording of The Dreamers.
How is the experience touring with Bat Out of Hell as Spinotti and what is the character like to play?
Bat Out of Hell is a whirlwind of a show, full of energy, full-out choreography and vocals and a little touch of madness thrown in! I love playing Spinotti and getting to be a member of the iconic ‘Lost’ teens in Obsidian. They are such a fun and vibrant bunch, and I love that she gets so many interactions with every other character in the show.
What is it like being part of the musical and performing Meat Loaf’s music?
There is something so magical about getting to perform Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s work. Meat was such a rock icon and it’s an honour to get to sing those songs night after night, and hear the reaction of the audience who all also clearly hold the music close to their hearts. For so many, these songs spark memories from times passed and it’s lovely to be able to bring that to people. The show we performed on the night Meat Loaf passed away was particularly special – we all felt such a connection to the music that day.
What are you enjoying most about being part of the cast and tour?
This cast are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced; the talent is through the roof, but more importantly, everyone is so lovely! We give each other endless support and spend our whole time together laughing, which makes the touring life so much easier. My favourite thing is that my cheeks hurt at the end of each night, and that’s because the smiles aren’t just on stage, but off too.
Was there anything that originally drew you to the role and what are you looking forward to most for continuing your run?
I saw Bat Out of Hell three times when it was at the Dominion, partly because I am a rock chick at heart and knew I’d love the show, and partly to support a friend who was in the cast at the time. I remember watching Sharon Sexton sing her final verse in Anything For Love and getting shudders down my entire spine – it was an incredible moment all three times I watched the show, and from then on, I was hooked. I’m looking forward to seeing new places, facing new challenges, and hopefully playing my cover roles a few times before the end of the run if I’m lucky enough.
You cover the roles of Sloane, Zahara and Valkyrie, can you say about this?
Since those spine shivers watching Sharon years ago, Sloane has been a dream role of mine. I never ever thought I’d be in that sparkly turquoise dress, but here we are! She is an absolute beauty of a role to cover and gets to sing her heart out, which is where my true love lies. Zahara’s sass is something that’s so fun to convey, and Valkyrie is such a strong female character that gets to take quite a lead amongst The Lost, so all three have their perks.
Why would you recommend booking tickets to see Bat Out of Hell on the international tour?
It’s a night out like no other! It combines rock music with gorgeous love stories, boundless energy, stunning special and visual effects, mullet haircuts, motorbikes and fire. What more could you possibly want?!
How was your time as Scaramouche in We Will Rock You?
Six years on, I consider myself the luckiest girl on earth that I got to play Scaramouche. She was another dream role that I was fortunate enough to tick off as my first professional job, and I had the BEST time as her. I learnt so much about the industry, myself, my voice and my love for rock music whilst in WWRY, and I firmly believe it’s set my path in my career as being more rock-based. Learning to lead a show at the age of 20 has been invaluable to me and Scara will always hold a special place in my heart.
Did you have a favourite aspect of being part of the show?
Scara’s first entrance to the stage involves coming out with your head down, not looking at the audience at all. On that first beat of music, you pop your head up and get to suddenly see this sea of people, all there listening to you in that moment. It gave me goosebumps each night.
Can you tell us about performing as Shirlie Holliman in The Best of Wham – UK Tour?
The Best of Wham was utterly brilliant. Shirlie got to take a little more of a back step role whilst she supported our George Michael, but also got to duet the iconic anthem I Knew You Were Waiting within the show, which was always my favourite moment. Our audiences were mental – lots of hen parties and Christmas nights and it made for such electric atmospheres and lots of singing along!
You played Ethel in The Dreamers, how was this and how did you find the experience being involved with the original cast recording?
To be in the process of a workshop musical, being there from its very beginning and getting to see it through to an OCR was amazing. It’s something actors don’t get to see as much – the writing process, the edits that constantly come along, the testing out of new lyrics or melodies, and I found it so interesting to get a glimpse into that side of things. Hearing your voice on a recording is a very cool feeling, especially when it was recorded at Abbey Road Studios!
What is it like performing in pantomimes and how was it playing Jill in Jack and the Beanstalk at Hazlitt Theatre in Maidstone?
I truly feel that pantomime is a skill all of its own. Again, I learnt so much from that process and from those seasoned panto pros around me. You learn how to improvise, react to audiences, be willing to be different each night, embrace changes, you learn how to hit jokes and get the laughs, and also how to sing some tough songs at 10am on a Sunday! I had a wonderful season and would love to revisit pantomime in the future.
You’ve previously performed as a lead vocalist on Viking Cruises, what was this like?
Being a vocalist on a cruise ship meant being myself on stage for the first time instead of a character. I loved leading a band, chatting to the audience as myself and getting to sing some gorgeous music by icons like The Beatles and Abba. It’s the most incredible way to see the world whilst working too. You wake up each day in a new place, and there’s something really cool about knowing you’re singing Hound Dog in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, nine days away from land!
Was there anything that encouraged you to train at The Centre of Performing Arts College and where does your love of theatre come from?
Growing up, I’d always danced and performed, and gradually as I grew older, I branched out into singing lessons and theatre groups which put on musical theatre shows. It was then that I discovered that my true passion lay in singing; I absolutely loved it and it’s what I felt (and still feel) I’m best at. When choosing a college, I wanted to make sure my dancing could be improved to level out my skill levels and to try and be the best triple threat I could be, so I chose a dance-based college. I’m so glad I did, as The Centre really helped lift those skills.
Do you have any favourite theatre shows to watch and which would you like to see that you haven’t done so as yet?
It’s so hard to pinpoint favourite shows, but I adore SIX, Rock of Ages, RENT and Waitress. They are all brilliant productions in their own ways, and each have amazing soundtracks. I haven’t seen Come From Away yet but it’s 100% on my list.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
I’m a granny at heart and love nothing more than time at home with my husband and my dog Percy. We love long walks in the sunshine, visiting family and friends and cosy nights in. When I’m not working, I love teaching musical theatre, and am grateful to work for two dance schools, one of which was my own growing up, so I have come full circle with. Being around children and being able to be a part of their journeys in the industry is something I love to do.
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