Television actor and pantomime regular Sam Kane is a lone male starring with four 'loose' women in touring musical, Hot Flush!
He tells SIBA MATTI more about his multi-faceted career to date
BORN in Liverpool as the seventh of eight children, Sam Kane quickly got used to having to sing for his supper. So he was not fazed by the notoriously unstable nature of the entertainment industry, quitting school at just 16 to study performing arts.
Fortunately, the gamble paid off and, today, Sam can boast a list of acting credits as long as his arm - which is no mean feat when you are a strapping 6ft 4in tall!
After tasting the limelight playing a TV producer on the BBC's much-loved sitcom, Bread, Sam went to Japan to star in a production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific.
Having cut his teeth in musicals, he spent a couple of years singing on cruise ships, before landing his dream role as Billy Bigelow, the lead in Carousel - which happens to be his favourite musical.
Sam says: "I have been a huge fan of musicals for as long as I can remember and I have always thought Carousel was absolutely brilliant, yet another fantastic creation by Rodgers and Hammerstein - every single scene is seamless.
"Despite the fact that musicals often deal with controversial and often very harrowing issues - domestic violence in Carousel, Aids in Rent or Nazis in The Sound of Music - there is also a lot of beauty, and I guess that's what attracts me time and time again."
The cheeky Scouser later played Adam Pontipee in a national tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, before securing the highly coveted lead role of Roddy O'Neill in Boogie Nights, starring alongside Darren Day.
So it comes as no surprise that he has taken on yet another musical role - or several - in Hot
Flush!, which chronicles the friendships, secrets, laughter and tears of four pre-menopausal women and one man, all living extraordinary lives.
Sam explains: "I play about 17 different characters in the show - including all the men in the women's lives - and I relish every minute. The show is wonderfully written and portrays mature women in such a flattering light, plus it is so much fun working with the other cast members, especially Lesley Joseph - she really is a first-class actress.
"Hot Flush! not only shows what women are all about, it also gives everyone a chance to laugh at themselves and enjoy a bit of escapism."
Apart from musicals, Sam has also achieved popularity on the small screen, with notable soap opera appearances.
Female viewers swooned as they watched the heart-throb playing loveable hairdresser Peter Phelan for three years in the now-defunct Brookside, before he took on the rather more sinister role of paedophile Gary Adams, who groomed Sarah-Louise Platt over the internet in Coronation Street. He has also since appeared in Hollyoaks and Emmerdale.
"I love soap operas but I don't think people take them seriously or give them enough credit," Sam insists. "They give so many people a springboard to launch their career and the casts all work incredibly hard. It isn't easy when the show goes out four or five times a week, which often involves gruelling hours.
"My role in Coronation Street was particularly demanding, but also one of my favourites to date. I have been a fan of the show for years, and I have to admit I was pretty star struck when I first stepped on to those famous cobbles. I've been in this business a long time now but working with Helen Worth (Gail Platt), Brian Capron (Richard Hillman) and Tina O'Brien (Sarah-Louise) was an absolute pleasure."
Pantomime has also played a huge part in Sam's career, beginning in Darlington in 1995 when he took on his first role as the prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and also made his directorial debut.
His Snow White was none other than former Page Three beauty and recent star of Dancing On Ice, Linda Lusardi. The couple were married in 1998 and remain blissfully happy with two children, Jack and Lucy.
Sam, who has also appeared in Dick Whittington, Robin Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, reprised his role in Snow White last year at Wycombe Swan, with Linda playing the wicked Queen.
He says: "It was wonderful to work with my wife again. There has never been any tension or competitiveness between us - we are both extremely supportive of each other's careers.
"Both of us love being on the stage and getting that instant reaction from audience members when they are having a good time. It's as much fun for us as it is for the families that come to the shows and, like Hot Flush!, it allows people to let go for a few hours and forget about whatever problems they might have."
As for the future, Sam remains ambitious, but he is open to whatever roles might crop up.
"I would never rule out returning to musicals and I would love to play Billy Flynn in Chicago. "My children have both expressed an interest in show business and have demonstrated real talent so, who knows, maybe we'll all be working side by side one day - a real family affair!
"The entertainment industry has always been a bit pie in the sky but Linda and I have enjoyed a fantastic life and we could never complain about being paid to do something we love so much."
**Hot Flush! is at The Beck on Friday, February 27. It starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £20. The cast also includes Ruth Keeling, Hilary O'Neil and Anne Smith, who all have well-established theatrical credentials.
For more information and to book tickets, call 020 8561 8371 or see www.becktheatre.org.uk .