There's 'a bit of farting and burping' - Former Strictly Pro Joanne Clifton on her new role

Joanne Clifton speaks to Natalie Boare

The role of Princess Fiona in Shrek is something former Strictly star Joanne Clifton has dreamt of playing.

"I hounded the producers and the directors to get me in for an audition and in the audition I literally pulled up a chair and sat in front of the producer and said, 'This is why I need to play Fiona.'

She is a princess, but she isn't your typical princess. She's quite feisty, a bit more rough around the edges, a bit of farting and burping."

Joanne is currently starring in the stage show of 'Shrek The Musical.'

Joanne Clifton is playing 'Princess Fiona' Credit: Shrek The Musical. Photography by Marc Brenner

Featuring all the characters you know and love from the 2001 Dreamworks' film it's been at the New Theatre in Oxford, which has more than 1,700 seats. The cast of 'Pretty Woman The Musical' will also tread the boards at the theatre in December.

Joanne won the GlitterBall Trophy on 'Strictly Come Dancing' in 2016 with her celebrity dance partner Ore Oduba, but she is singing and dancing in this production.

Joanne says, "I have sung since I was a kid and my brother has as well (Kevin Clifton). I had little singing lessons and acting lessons and I was in the local operatic society in Grimsby when I was a kid, so I have been training but then I put all the effort just in to the dancing in my career and then when I stopped competing, I did Strictly and then did my singing lessons again."

When asked where she gets the energy for all that singing and dancing Joanne says, "Oh I don't know because I'm 40 this year. I mean lots of Red Bulls, lots of coffee if I'm honest. I'm the oldest girl in the cast by 12 years so I get the energy off them - they make me feel younger."

Joanne won 'Strictly Come Dancing' in 2016 Credit: Ian West/PA Archive/PA Images

When it comes to the 'burping and farting', Joanne laughs. "I've heard that a lot of the audience think that is real, that we're not doing it to sound effects. Somebody told me a dad was saying to their kids 'they must have had a lot of fizzy drinks.'

I've been doing it with Anthony, who plays Shrek, and we're just such good friends. It only takes an extra look and we do get the giggles."

Joanne has a couple of quick transformations to do as she turns into Ogre Princess Fiona.

"I have got I would say less than a minute to run off stage , I have about 5 people on me , I've got to change my wig, I've got to get the human Fiona dress off, get some padding on , then the Ogre Fiona. There's like 3 people painting me, there's the nose that needs to be stuck on and the prosthetic hands, and then I run on again."

'Princess Fiona' is a role Joanne has wanted to play for a while Credit: Shrek The Musical. Photography by Marc Brenner

When it comes to feeling pressure Joanne takes it in her stride.

"I always think to myself I'm never going to be exactly the same as the film , I'm never going to do that so I'm going to give the audience the things they know and love but I'm going to bring myself to it as well.

I have been told maybe I'm a little bit more feisty and shouty than Princess Fiona than in the film but I'm not really sure."

'Shrek The Musical' is also heading to The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton and the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne.