Romford’s Brookside Theatre’s Forever Dusty immortalises 1960s pop icon

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 April 2017

Dusty Springfield. Pic: PA

Dusty Springfield. Pic: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

There are not many pop culture icons that are cooler than Dusty Springfield.

Katherine Ferguson as Dusty Springfield in Forever Dusty. Pic: Brookside TheatreKatherine Ferguson as Dusty Springfield in Forever Dusty. Pic: Brookside Theatre

With her peroxide blonde beehive hairstyle Dusty dominated the music charts in the 1960s and was one of the most successful female singers of the British Invasion.

Decades later her classic hit Son of a Preacher Man was immortalised in Tarantino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction.

However the female star of the Swinging Sixties wasn’t always the epitome of confidence and style and a new play at Brookside Theatre, in Eastern Road, Romford, will take audiences on Dusty’s journey from an awkward teenager at Catholic school to queen of the charts.

Forever Dusty is a new musical by written by Kirsten Holly Smith and Jonathan Vankin, and directed by Jai Sepple. It runs from Wednesday to Saturday and audiences might be surprised by the singer’s humble roots.

Born to a British father and an Irish mother Dusty, real name Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, was brought up in High Wycombe where she earned the nickname “Dusty” for playing football in the streets with boys.

Known as tomboy the image of Dusty in her youth is worlds away from the glamorous star we all came to know.

Director Jai spoke of his excitement about bringing the star’s “complicated and compelling life story” to the stage.

“I’m truly excited to be part of the team bringing Forever Dusty to the UK,” said Jai. “Dusty Springfield was one of the most inspiring and soulful performers of the 20th century.

“Dusty transformed the music industry and paved the way for the likes of Adele and Amy Winehouse in a world that doesn’t often appreciate the magic of vocal performance and true melody.

“Being able to tell Dusty’s complicated and compelling life story through musical theatre is a gift.”

Katherine Ferguson, from Romford, has been cast in the lead role and is excited by the prospect of stepping into the Dusty’s shoes.

“I knew of her music because my parents used to play her songs and she has such a unique voice.

“When I saw the casting I thought I’ll give it a go because it’s such an iconic role.

“When I got the call I was in complete shock.

“It’s a lot of pressure because it’s called Forever Dusty but I’m ready to take on the role and the director Jai knows so much about her and wants to make sure the real facts are in the musical.

“It really does show her whole life and the parts of her life that maybe as an audience we didn’t get to see,” said the 25-year-old.

“It also concentrates on a lot of the issues around at that time like segregation and the fact that she was interested in boys and girls, there was all these issues going on and I think she had a lot of courage to go through all that.

“It’s a fantastic show and she’s such an inspirational woman we want to do her justice.”

Forever Dusty opens on Wednesday. Tickets are £17. Contact

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