Graham Clark, Music Features Writer

Interview With Joanne Clifton Who Is Touring With The Addams Family Musical

Joanne Clifton is probably best known for her time on Strictly Come Dancing. The Lincolnshire born star is now appearing in the smash hit musical comedy The Addams Family which visits the north of England this spring and summer.

The tour opens at the Bradford Alhambra. I asked Joanne about the musical and her career to date.

What drew you to the role of Morticia?

When we were younger my brother and I used to watch the TV series, we saw the movie and I knew the musical. I saw there were auditions so I thought I would go along, thinking I would not get the role as I am the complete opposite to Morticia – she is tall and sophisticated and has such a deep voice.

I wanted the role so badly as it is such an iconic part that I went along to the audition wearing a long black dress, put some dark make up on and tried to look the part. I got the job!

When I got the job I collapsed on the floor and cried with excitement.

The weird thing is that I went to see my brother who was in Singing In The Rain at Sadlers Wells in London as it was his birthday. On the way to the theatre I went into a card shop and saw the Card of the Week which was a drawing of Morticia! How spooky was that? More or less after that is when I went for the audition and got the role.

Did you enjoy being in the Rocky Horror Show?

I really enjoyed it. I played Janet in the show, I suppose you could say that both shows are in a similar package though in The Addams Family Morticia is very dark and brooding, whereas Janet is nice and innocent. Both shows are very funny but in terms of audience participation Rocky Horror has plenty of that. Ore Oduba who I danced with on Strictly Come Dancing is starring in Rock and he is now a good family friend.

Was it a good experience when you joined Team Diablo in Italy?

It was, although that was fourteen years of my life away from my family, it was very tough training. Looking back at it now it all seemed full on. It gave me the work ethic that I have now and what it takes to be a champion and that you cannot just rely on talent. It taught me that you have to be good to get the roles I have. I am not naïve in that I know being on Strictly and being in the public eye also helped me to get where I am now.

I still train though when I am on tour. I ask my manager to find me someone who does acting and dance training when doing a show.

How has having arthritis in your knees affected you?

At first I wanted to hide I had osteoarthritis in both knees as I did not want it to hinder me getting jobs, but I have tried not to let it hold me back. I actually work with a company called Arthr which make products for people who have the condition. It can happen though to anyone at any age. In Lockdown I was contacted by the parent of a nine year old who had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, so I would say to anyone who feels they might suffer with this to go along to their doctor to be checked out.

The first time I became aware of it is when I was on Strictly and my knees swelled up. I was diagnosed and thought my career was over, though I decided that it was not going to stop me as I like a challenge.

I have experienced pain before on stage – I was appearing in the musical Flashdance in Glasgow, it was only the second show in and I popped a calf muscle – I have never experienced pain like that before and had to have a lot of physiotherapy afterwards.

What do you miss about home when you are touring?

I miss my own bed and of course my boyfriend. As he is in the same profession as myself we can go for weeks without seeing each other. I do like touring; each new musical or show I am in is like a new job and with the cast we become a new family. I like it when the theatres have things like an escape room for the cast and I also like to get out and see the town or city I am in.

Tell us about the new musical Bloody Nora that you have written

I wrote it with Ben Adams from the group A1. I have known Ben for a long time now, we did Flashdance and the Rocky Horror Show together. We were on tour and sat down one afternoon and decided to write a musical ourselves. The story is about a girl from Grimsby who goes to America and turns into a serial killer as she wants the world to be a better place. She kills all the undesirable people. The music score is quite jazzy, though I myself like Nineties music. I was a big Hanson fan, in fact I have just bought tickets to see them in concert in June.

Why should anyone come to see The Addams Family?

Because everyone knows the Addams Family! It is not just for kids – the show is for everyone. It is funny, has lots of big band numbers and is a tonic to the last eighteen months. It really is an escapism, in fact I received a tweet the other day to say that this person had been to the theatre again and did not realise how much they had missed it.

The Addams Family on tour up North:

Bradford Alhambra – Wednesday 2 February to Saturday 5 February
Newcastle Theatre Royal – Tuesday 8 February to Saturday 12 February
Liverpool Empire – Tuesday 6 March to Tuesday 12 March
Hull New Theatre – Tuesday 15 March to Saturday 19 March
Manchester Opera House – Tuesday 19 April to Saturday 23 April