Cassie Compton may be a veteran of the West End, but starring in The Wedding Singer has seen her take to the road for her longest ever touring role.
The hit musical, based on the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore-starring romcom, has been a West End smash, and has been wowing crowds across the UK since February.
‘It’s just Portsmouth, then Wolverhampton and then we’re finished.
‘It’s always a strange feeling, when you do something like this. I have done shows for a year, but this is the longest I’ve toured. If you’re in town (London), you’re at home but this is a weekly tour, which is great because we get to cover lots of different venues. But you arrive on Tuesday and then you’re off on Saturday and there’s no kind of settling.
‘I was apprehensive at first but it’s been fab, it helps that we’ve got an amazing bunch of people. I love the show and I love the role, and it’s been well-received for the most part.
‘I’d like to not do any more long drives for a couple of weeks after we finish though!’
I’m not Drew Barrymore, no-one is like Drew BarrymoreCassie Compton
Cassie plays Julia, the main love interest, and has been joined in the cast by fellow X Factor veteran Ray Quinn, comedy legend Ruth Madoc and stage star Jon Robyns.
‘I had seen the film a couple of times a long time ago, but I made the decision not to watch it again until we were in tech – so after we’d finished the main rehearsals,
‘Until I had worked with (director) Nick Winston and Jon Robyns and we’d come up with our ideas of the characters, there was no point in me watching it and trying to do it like Drew Barrymore.
‘I’m not Drew Barrymore, no-one is like Drew Barrymore. If I did it I’d be thinking, oh, that’s rubbish, I should be doing it like this, and how can I do what Drew Barrymore did?’
Although she had small TV roles way back in 2001, Cassie came to most people’s attention when she was the youngest performer to make it to the live stages of the first series of The X Factor in 2004. But Cassie looks back on the experience fondly.
‘We were the guinea pigs and I was 16 when I auditioned and 17 for the live shows, so from my point of view, I had nothing to lose.
‘To be honest, it started out as just another audition for me, and that whole boot-camp and judge’s houses was a complete blur – I can only remember flashes of it. Then I remember being by the stage before the first live show, and thinking: “Oh, this is happening...” I took it for what it is. If you watch that series now, it looks like it could have been filmed in a different era, it looks that dated compared to the production values now and how the machine has grown. But doing an arena tour at 17, how can I complain?
‘I had no idea what it was about or the bigger picture. I just went with it, and, touch wood, I’ve carried on working ever since.’
The show sees her joining up with Ray Quinn, who came second in the X Factor’s third season.
‘I first met Ray when he was on the X Factor, so I’ve known him for 11 or 12 years, and we worked very briefly in Dirty Dancing in the West End, but that was only for a week or so when i came in to cover someone. And now we’re working together properly! It’s nice to have that shared experience, and he’s absolutely awesome in the show.’
After The Wedding Singer finishes Cassie has got her first panto since 2005 – she’s doing Snow White in Worthing. And there’s also a pilot of a show called The Sculptress, where she plays Barbara Hepworth, which she is hoping will go further.
‘I shot that before we started rehearsals for The Wedding Singer. It was amazing and intense.
‘I don’t know yet what’s happening with it, but I do hope we continue with it. It was absolutely beautifully shot, and she was an incredible, formidable woman.’
Kings Theatre, Southsea