Favourite panto brings change of scene for chart-topping star

Chesterfield Pomegrante panto launch Beauty and the Beast with Danny Mills, Jon Moses,Tina Barrett and Rik Gaynor.
Chesterfield Pomegrante panto launch Beauty and the Beast with Danny Mills, Jon Moses,Tina Barrett and Rik Gaynor.
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“If I don’t sing Reach there will be a riot – it is what everyone wants to hear, ” said Tina Barrett.

Trying to shake off the shackles of S Club 7’s infectious pop songs is as hard for the singer as it for Belle trying to escape the beast’s clutches in the panto Beauty and the Beast which is in Chesterfield from next week.

But she wouldn’t be without both experiences. “Beauty and the Beast is my favourite panto, ” she said. “It is magical and Belle is such a beautiful part to play. When I was offered the role, I said I’d love to do it.

“It is great to be involved in such a big project. The sets are incredible, I was really amazed at how beautiful they are – so much work has gone into them.”

Beauty and the Beast is Tina’s first panto for 20 years. She was initiated into the artform at the age of 17 when she performed alongside Lionel Blair and Lesley Ash in Cinderella at the Richmond Theatre. The intervening two decades rocketed her to superstardom with chart-toppers S Club 7, who scored smash-hits Don’t Stop Movin’, Never Had A Dream Come True and, of course, Reach.

Tina said: “It was like a dream. I still think did it actually happen?’

“The best bits were winning two Brit awards, having our own TV show and getting 90 million viewers worldwide. The downside was that you never really slept. You were either performing, responding to fans, in front of a camera or doing interviews. If I wanted to talk to a friend on the phone, I said that I needed to go to the bathroom!”

Now Tina is carving a name as a solo artist, doesn’t she find going it alone scary after the security of having six group members around?

“S Club 7 was a manufactured band, ” she said. “Creatively, I am getting to do so much more than I did in the group. I have written all my songs and it’s exciting to be releasing music on my own and getting my artistic ideas out there.

“I thought it would be really tough going out on my own but I have been getting a good response.

“I have been doing some gigs in the UK and the fans are really supportive.

Her newly released single, a slice of r n’ b called Makin’ Me Dance, has made an impact on the pop club charts and was produced by The Next Room boys whose credits include Snoop Dog.

Tina has also worked with William Orbit, Beenie Man and Maxi Priest.

Beauty and the Beast is at Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield December 6 to January 5. TV Superstar Jon Moses stars alongside Tina. Box office: call 01246 345 222 or go to www.chesterfieldvenues.co.uk