By Luke Voogt
Playing a kaleidoscope of characters across the world is a dream job for Scottish actress Rebekah Johanne.
Johanne plays several characters in The World of Musicals, which comes to Geelong Sunday direct from London’s West End.
“I’m enjoying the opportunity to perform so many genres in one different show,” she said last week en route to her next show in Surfers Paradise.
The show features acts from some of the most-loved plays of all time, like Les Miserable, Sister Act, Jersey Boys, Cabaret and Wicked.
“Although I’m not in every single one of them thank goodness,” Johanne said.
Johanne grew up in Scotland and trained in musical theatre in London.
“I’m fortunate my mum and dad were very much into music,” she said, “we grew up being taken to a lot of shows and plays.”
She now lives in Dublin and has played in iconic roles across the UK, along with touring the US, Canada and China
“I’ve been with this show since 2014,” she said. “You get see the world go by as you drive so that’s lovely.”
“Now quite luckily I’ve landed in the sunshine in Australia. It’s amazing – it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go.
“It’s such a warm country but not as in the weather – the people seem very welcoming.”
Joahanne has the challenge of morphing into several different characters in one show, like Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and the Rocky Horror Show’s Janet.
“They’re all so different,” she said. “I really have to be on the ball.”
But she said the show’s “fantastic” costumes, lighting and backdrops helped.
“All those elements really help you get into your character.”
Johanne struggled to name her favourite character to play but a couple of musical numbers stood out.
“The We Will Rock You section is one of my favourites,” she said.
“My other favourite would be Defying Gravity from Wicked – I love sinking my teeth into that every night.”
Johanne was looking forward to seeing some of her family when the show headed to Perth.
“My very first singing teacher moved to Australia a good few years ago too,” she said. “It was her who said ‘you need to go to London and train’.”
“She’s coming to see me in Frankston and she’s never actually seen me perform professionally.”
Johanne said audiences in Australia had spanned the ages from children to a 97-year-old.
“It’s a great one for people who haven’t seen musical theatre before. The best thing about this show is it’s for anybody.”
The World of Musicals comes to Geelong Performing Arts Centre on 19 March.