Muddy meets the new star of Evita
She's onstage at the Wycombe Swan this week but what does Lucy O'Byrne do when she's not playing the Argentinian first lady? Lusting after cakes on Instagram, falling over, and nabbing theatres posters of her own face, apparently.
Lucy O’Byrne rocks up in Bucks this week as the lead in a new production of Evita – you can catch her 23-27 Oct at Wycombe Swan.
Recognise that face? The 27-year-old Dubliner was the runner-up on TV singing contest, The Voice, in 2015, championed by judge Will.i.am for her breath-taking operatic tones, and since then she’s trodden the boards with roles in The Sound Of Music and Les Misérables. So don’t cry for her, Muddy readers, she’s having a blast. We talk Madonna, cake and not allowing anyone to speak to you after 10pm (my kinda girl).
How do you look after your voice?
I try to rest it as much as possible by not talking! I’ve got a light-up sign on my dressing room door that says Do Not Disturb and when I get home to my digs at 10pm after a show, I won’t speak to anyone and won’t make any phone calls.
Ever taken selfie standing next to one of your theatre posters?
I do it all the time. And I always ask at theatres if I can have a poster, which often gets me strange looks. People think I’m mental but I actually get them to send back to my parents as they’ve got a stage school in Dublin. I studied there myself and later taught there. When I was in The Sound Of Music, I once carried an enormous outside banner, complete with metal poles, featuring me as Maria von Trapp, in my hand luggage when I flew home. I was praying security wouldn’t ask me to unfurl it and see this giant photo of my face.
Any pre-show rituals?
I’m into angel cards. Before a show, my musical director will come in and choose a card and put it into the pocket of his waistcoat and I’ll choose one and put it on my dressing room table. Each card has a word like “creativity” or “joy” or “energy” so you make it your intention for the show.
What’s always in your dressing room?
Two mugs – I drink a lot of it and people are always welcome to join me in my dressing room for a cuppa. A wool blanket from Irish mill Avoca – my sister gave it to me for touring because I’m always cold. And a yoga mat. I wear high heels on stage and my back gets sore so I do a bit of yoga to stretch out and wind down after the show.
Have you ever been to Argentina?
Haha, I haven’t but would I love to! But I have been to Cuba and visited the final resting place of Che Guevara [the Argentine revolutionary appears in the show as the narrator]. Does that count?
Madonna famously played Evita in the movie – what’s your favourite Madge track?
Like A Virgin. I’m into classic Madonna. I mean, everyone is, right?
Your worst onstage disaster?
I’m quite clumsy and have fallen over several times. In The Sound Of Music I would run off stage after The Hills Are Alive – one time I fell flat on my stomach and slid all the way into the wings with my arms outstretched. Everyone there just stood staring at me for a second in disbelief before jumping into action and picking me up.
What was the best thing about being on The Voice?
Performing with will.i.am. I know this sounds really clichéd but he’s a genius, incredibly intelligent and an amazing human. I was a huge Black Eyed Peas fan growing up. I had a picture of it as the screen saver on my phone for a very long time.
Funniest thing you’ve ever read about yourself?
Someone wrote that I’d said that I was the real winner of The Voice – that was a WTF?! moment. And there was a headline that said Will sees naked angels when I sing. I think he meant cherubs.
Describe yourself in three words?
Determined, loyal and neurotic.
Worst ever job?
I’ve never really hated a job but emptying the bins when I was a theatre usher in the West End was pretty grim. Doing that job I couldn’t believe the weird things people bring into the show. You just think, ‘Why?’ Things like full meals – people would sneak in bottles of wine, knives and forks, and big tapas boards. And the way people carry on is extraordinary – I’d have to call security to break up fights. You really wouldn’t expect it in the theatre!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Cake! It’s my day off today and my boyfriend and I are going to try a new cake shop I’ve found on Instagram. It’s Patisserie Mille in Paddington and it looks amazing.
Evita is at Wycombe Swan, 23-27 October