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Mamma Leah, how could we resist you?

MY MY: (left to right) Leah St Luce as Lisa, Georgia Louise as Sophie and Charlotte O’Rourke as Ali in Mamma Mia! (Image: Brinkhoff and Mögenburg)

WITH JUST over a month in the role of Lisa in the West End’s musical theatre production of Mamma Mia!, 21-year-old Leah St Luce is still getting used to the fact that she’s part of a major show.

“There’s still times when I kind of go on stage and I’m like wow, there’s a sea full of people just staring at me right now,” she says.

While she’s able to enjoy playing a role in the production now, it wasn’t always so easy. Despite having performed since she was a child, she never expected to get this far.

“I’m not the biggest believer in myself. I’m my toughest critic so actually finding out that I got the job, let alone the part, I was like ‘wow’.

“I was [kind of] at the self sabotage stage, from the beginning in rehearsals I was like, ‘Do I really deserve to be here?’

“Overcoming that fear and the ‘what if they’ve made a mistake in choosing me for the part?’ was the toughest out of the whole experience,” she says.

St Luce, who says attending church every Sunday keeps her level-headed and focused on what she wants to do in life, says she was able to get through doubting herself thanks to the support of her fellow cast members and ultimately learning to believe in herself.

And the cast appear to have her back in more ways than one.

On one occasion when cooling down backstage before being needed on stage, St Luce removed part of her costume – and forgot to put it back on. A fellow cast member reminded her about it but she was unable to grab it before her cue to get back on stage.

“I literally just ran on in my bikini and I was literally hiding myself with [a] hat. So awkward.”

While she may not fully realise the level of her talent, theatre bosses do. The Londoner had already received the news that she got the role of Little Inez in a UK tour the musical Hairspray when she found out she’d also bagged the Mamma Mia! role.

HYPE

“I literally just collapsed on the floor like, no, this isn’t happening, it’s too good to be true.”

An overlap between the two meant the Urdang Academy graduate had to make a choice. Although both roles were great, Mamma Mia! offered a longer contract and meant remaining in London.

Getting snapped up in a West End show before graduating is testament to St Luce’s talent – even if she’s yet to believe her own hype.

Her 24-year-old sister, who has just returned to London after a stint in The Lion King in Germany, has been her inspiration but she also aspires to step into the shoes of other actresses. She gasps when she reveals her dream role would be that of Ti Moune in Once on This Island.

“It’s not in West End at the moment but it’s on Broadway and I literally get shivers every time I watch a clip of it,” she says.

There’s likely to be an influx of Abba fans heading to the West End to see the production following the release of the second Mamma Mia! film and the musical’s 19th anniversary – but St Luce says it’s enjoyable for everyone, regardless if you’re familiar with the music or not.

“It’s just really fun – it gives you a break from stress and work and reality and if you come to see the show you’re just going to have a good time,” she added.

Mamma Mia! is on now at the Novello Theatre, London.

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