EastEnders star Louisa Lytton talks ahead of appearing in Grease at Wolverhampton Grand
She became a household name playing Ruby Allen in EastEnders. And fame happened so quickly – quite literally, overnight – that it changed her life.
These days, actress Louisa Lytton is no longer a resident of Albert Square. But she remains one of Britain’s leading ladies and will take to the stage at Wolvderhampton’s Grand Theatre tonight and tomorrow in Grease.
Louise is playing Rizzo and has been on the road with the show since spring.
“It’s been so much fun. We’re nearly at the end now. We’ve been doing it since February this year. It’s my first musical and was quite a new thing for me.
“It’s been a good challenge because I’d never done a musical before. When you become an actress you hope you can tick as many boxes as possible and that’s why I’ve enjoyed this.
“I do enjoy the singing. I surprised myself. It was quite a challenge at the beginning. I think I’ve got one of the best characters in the show. She’s feisty and she’s great. That’s why I took the job. I like singing and dancing.”
Since a young age Louise has had a love of performing, having been a pupil at London’s iconic Sylvia Young Theatre School. It was that platform that led to her securing her first professional role, as the innocent school girl Ruby Allen in BBC One’s BAFTA award winning EastEnders.
After leaving EastEnders, Louise joined another iconic British television show, The Bill. There, she played the inexperienced and shy police officer Beth Green. Following that Louise enjoyed a whole host of varied roles, from parts in the internationally successful American Pie franchise, to the British Shakespeare Company’s productions of both A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing. She more recently starred in the new ITV comedy drama The Edge of Heaven; an exciting new prime-time comedy based around the trials and tribulations of a family running a guest house in Margate playing Michelle. She also filmed a thriller called Fractured, where she played the lead Alva, while appearing in the Canadian period drama Murdoch Mysteries playing Ginny.
Away from acting Louise is also an accomplished dancer, having competed in the fourth series of Strictly Come Dancing, where she successfully reached the quarter-finals. Following on from that, Lytton toured the country as part of the sold-out Strictly Come Dancing Arena Tour, and represented the United Kingdom in the 2008 Eurovision Dance Contest. Louise also took park in Channel 4’s The Jump and was the first contestant to be knocked out of the competition due to injury.
She’s been living out of a suitcase this year – but the peripatetic nature of her work doesn’t phase her.
“I think the touring is the most tiring. We’re moving week to week and we have to find our own accommodation. It’s tiring. But we have an amazing cast and crew. That makes up for it. That family atmosphere is definitely needed when you’re on the road and that’s what it’s like. We all get on extremely well. You become a family. You spend all day every day and are living together almost.”
EastEnders remains the stand-out moment of an impressive career: “It literally happened overnight. I was on screen on Friday then Saturday I went shopping and I was recognised. I was so young so I dealt with it well. You take it in your stride. Now I’d be a lot more aware. But back then it was fine. It wasn’t a shock because I was so young so I wasn’t upset by it.”
The Bill also kept her in the public eye. “I loved The Bill. It was a totally different role to Ruby Allen. I just feel like I was lucky to work consistently when I was at the beginning of my career.” Strictly gave her the opportunity to put her dancing skills on display. And, having featured in EastEnders, she coped perfectly well with the public’s attention. “That show was amazing. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. Anyone who has the opportunity to dance should do it. I think back to when I did it, it wasn’t as big of a show as I did now. Nowadays it revives people’s careers. It’s crazy the effect it has. It was quite new back then. But I love dancing. I had wanted to dance growing up.”
And that’s why Grease is so enjoyable. Acting, dancing and singing are in her blood. “I think you get so much more out of stage work than TV because you get that initial reaction from the audience. I’d say I enjoy the theatre more than anything else.”