JOANNE Clifton is set to arrive at the King’s Theatre all–American–girl–bobby sox–squeaky clean and innocent.

And exit Stage Left two hours later wearing raunchy underwear – and a very pleased smile on her face.

Joanne, a Strictly dance star who’s blossomed into musical theatre, is currently touring with The Rocky Horror Show.

Richard O’Brien’s madcap odyssey, if you don’t already know, takes a B Movie sensibility and sets it amidst a Gothic horror backdrop of transvestitism.

Joanne, brother of Kevin, who is also a Strictly success story, stars as Janet, half of a pair of college kids who are captured by a mad scientist intent on capturing their innocence.

And it’s an innocence they seem all too ready to surrender.

Joanne smiles as she considers what it’s been like to swap legwarmers for lace stockings and suspenders.

“I love it because she turns into an animal!”

How much of Joanne runs parallel with the character of Janet?

“Well, do feel I come across as quite chilled in normal life,” she grins, “but I do have something of a wild side.


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“But people just don’t get to see it.”

Is it fun to reveal something of the inner character via a stage creation?

“Definitely. At least a little bit of it. People know me from Strictly but not as the sexy or the glamorous one. I’m more the girl-next-door, the relatable one.”

Is that true, Joanne? Strictly calls for the dancers to play a range a roles, sometimes sexy, sometimes cartoon funny.

And at times she didn’t wear that much of anything.

She exclaims; “Yes, but I was the one who was demanding that my clothes not be too short. The rest of the girls wanted them shorter but not me. I said ‘No, I want my dress down to my ankles.”

Joanne Clifton wanted to be recognised for her dance moves, not for her legs.

“And it worked. I had the best experience of my life on the show.”

Indeed. She picked up the Glitterball trophy in 2016 with Ore Oduba. But the success was down to years of hard work.

Joanne Clifton left home at the age of 16 study dance in Italy. She didn’t return home until the age of 30.

“I chose to go to dance school because I come from a family of dancers - my parents, my brother Kevin and my grandparents. And I’m a tough cookie. Television has shown the softer side.”

The move onto Strictly allowed Joanne time to train as an actress, working in pub and fringe theatre. She starred as Marilyn Monroe in Norma Jean, The Musical.

“That was one of my favourite roles of all time,” she says. “I loved playing Marilyn. “I loved studying her story, her singing voice.

“That’s where I was spotted by the producers of Thoroughly Modern Millie and I was cast in the lead,” she says in delighted voice.


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Joanne reveals she wanted to move into musical theatre for the longest time. “There were many times when I was ready to give up competing in dance. I stayed with it, because I had made the choice to do dance.

“And although I joined Strictly when I came back to England, I began lessons again for musical theatre. I knew I had achieved my dance goals. Now, I wanted to study more acting.”

The study continues. The performer reveals she’s ready to move to New York to continue learning.

“I’m going to study film acting,” she says. “I feel you can’t stop studying in this business. There is always someone coming through who has learned more.”

Joanne is also set to team up with brother Kevin for a dance tour with Burn The Floor. “We’re really close,” she says in proud voice.

But if the siblings are that close, why doesn’t she tell him to dump the silly Harry Potter specs?

“Oh, he needs them to see,” she says in defensive voice which manages to laugh at the same time.

The Rocky Horror Show, the King’s Theatre, August 12 - 17.