Joining the cast of Radio Times meant Sara Crowe adding a new string to her bow - or in this case ukulele.

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“I learned to play it for this. I play the piano a tiny bit but actor-musician shows, where people play three or four different instruments, tap dance, do ballet, sing, dance act... it’s just incredible,” says the Olivier Award who has appeared in everything from Private Lives in London and Four Weddings and a Funeral to famously funny TV adverts for Philadelphia cheese spread.

Featuring songs by Noel Gay, of Me and my Girl fame, Radio Times wowed audiences and critics during its run at The Watermill Theatre in Newbury last year.

It follows the trials of the Variety Bandwagon cast who are about to broadcast live on radio to America for the first time. As the clock ticks away, the line-up is shrinking and there’s no sign of star of the show Sammy, played by West Star Gary Wilmot.

When he arrives with seconds to spare, with Hollywood movie idol Gary in tow, the broadcast seems assured. But Sammy’s girlfriend Olive (Crowe) seems to know Gary of old and starts to question her commitment.

Sara, who loves playing comedy but confesses to a hankering to play Miss Jean Brodie having grown up in Scotland and being a fan of the book and film, describes Radio Times as a real tonic.

“It’s worth spending the money on, not just because I’m in it,” she laughs. “It’s great fun, very uplifting, you can’t help but have a good time. The music is so bright and invigorating. The arrangement the musical director Paul Herbert has done with Run Rabbit Run is extraordinary, he’s made it sound like a new song.”

Has this made her want to pick up more musical instruments?

“I’d like to brush up my piano, I did get up to about grade six when I was younger and then I moved house so much... I had an old upright for a while, I couldn’t lug it around with me any more so I might take that up again. I might keep going with my ukulele, I know about 12 chords,” she laughs.

Radio Times runs at Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre from October 23-27.

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