‘Masive sing’ as Eva

Sarah Jane Buckley (Hollyoaks) admits she didn’t fully realise what she was letting herself in for as Eva Cassidy,

Saturday, 17th September 2011, 8:55 am

“I have sung all my life, but this really is a massive sing,” says Sarah who stars as the tragic singer in

Over The Rainbow: The Eva Cassidy Story on September 18 at Brighton Theatre Royal; on

September 21 at Horsham’s Capitol; and on October 19 at Southsea’s Kings Theatre.

The only solution was to immerse herself in Eva completely, picking up all the things that made Eva Eva - such as the way she breathed when singing, different because she played the guitar at the same time.

“I have tried to be as faithful as possible,” says Sarah Jane who sees the key as picking up on Eva’s extraordinary range: “It’s a very clean sound, but she can also be very husky. She can sound very gravelly, very earthy and then very clean. She had so many different styles within her voice.”

At times she could sound very screechy; at others, she would be very soft, very captivating, as on Autumn Leaves.

“I just didn’t really realise that range until I studied her.”

Again, it was a question of realising her idiosyncrasies, those places where Eva would refrain from vibrato where other singers would go for it.

But the show isn’t just about conveying the voice; it’s also about conveying the personality.

“I read quite a lot about her, and I asked our producer/director (who consulted the family for the show). She was incredibly shy. As a musical performer, I am not terribly shy! One of my starting points was to try to find a way to play that shyness. She also had a massive love for nature, as do I. The things that give me a great buzz are sunrises and trees and animals. They are the things that give me the biggest kick, and it was the same with her. It was just the shyness that I didn’t understand.”

Inevitably, with a show such as this (given Eva’s tragically-premature death), Sarah Jane recognises that sentimentality is a pitfall to be avoided: “It’s tough. I try to play her as a character just as you would approach any acting role. I try to approach her as a person and then I put my own concept on that.”