Chit Chat: Rebecca O’Connor

2011-03-11 12:49

In 2002 about 33 million European TV viewers of the show Stars In Their Eyes decided that Irish lass Rebecca O’Connor was simply the best Tina Turner impersonator.

O’Connor began her South African tour this week in Joburg. Gayle Edmunds posed the questions.

When did your love affair with Tina Turner begin?
When I was a child of about eight. By the time I was 12 I could mimic her and by the time I was a teenager I could sing like her.

How do you differentiate yourself from the drag queens out there?
Well – for starters I’m all woman with no Adam’s apple! Every song is performed live and I am much sexier than all drag queens.

When and how did you get the endorsement of the great rock goddess herself?
In 2010 – Dennis Dunston (he was formerly Fleetwood Mac’s manager and he now manages me) gave footage of my show to Roger Davies (Tina’s manager).

Her comment was “Rebecca is so good – she’s scary! If I had her energy today, I’d still be touring”.

Tina Turner’s known for her great legs, how do you keep yours looking good?

Working out and weights. I have been a dancer since I was three.

Tina Turner’s voice and music are very raw, how do you dig deep to get to the emotions that originally informed her sound?
I’ve listened and watched her since I was a child – every DVD, every concert .?.?. she sings her songs with attitude and feeling.

I just know so much about her, even down to the movements of her mouth and facial expressions.

Where do you get your Tina Turner wigs made and do you have someone to maintain them?

They are made in Australia and I maintain them myself, but I know that she used to get her wigs made in Durban.

So when I am there – towards the end of April – I’m going to look them up.

When you were starting out, how many times did you fall while wearing the stilettos that Tina Turner’s known for performing in?

What’s your most embarrassing on-stage moment as Tina Turner?
To be honest – none really. But, oh yes .?.?. once my wig fell off in the middle of Proud Mary. I was in Spain.

How many costume changes are there in the show and who keeps your wardrobe pristine?

Four costume changes and the fabulous wardrobe department at the Joburg Theatre help me amazingly.

What’s the most awful criticism you’ve ever had about your performance?

That people thought I was miming.

Of all the great songs Tina Turner has recorded, which are your favourites and why?

I like all the songs. They are all so powerful with such attitude and great lyrics.

What does Rebecca O’Connor like to wear and do on a night off?

Meet up with friends, go out for dinner. The comfier the clothes, the better. Take off the stilettos and put on my slippers, slip into something comfy and have a lovely glass of red.

» Simply the Best is on at the Joburg Theatre until next Sunday. O’Connor then takes the show to the Port ­Elizabeth Opera House on April 16 and to Durban’s iZulu Theatre at Sibaya ­Casino from April 19 to 24. To book for the Joburg shows, call 0861 670 670

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