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Spanking new West End role for Belfast actress Rachel Tucker

By Claire McNeilly

Stage star Rachel Tucker is ditching her Belfast brogue in favour of a Cockney accent as she treads the boards in a new West End play.

The 33-year-old actress and singer has returned to London to head the cast in Alan Ayckbourn's 1994 comic thriller Communicating Doors, which opens tonight.

Her role - as a dominatrix called Poopay - follows her Broadway debut in rock star Sting's ill-fated and short-lived The Last Ship.

Rachel, who found fame in the 2008 BBC talent show I'd Do Anything, revealed that she spoke to a real Miss Whiplash in preparation for the role.

"I did speak to an actual dominatrix called Miss Josephine, which was quite eye-opening, and it was fascinating to see the extent to which this world really does exist, but quite privately and quietly. Each to their own, I suppose," she told US entertainment website Broadway.com.

"I was struck by the fact that she's got standards and that even in this world there are standards.

"She sees herself as quite a high-class dominatrix - for one thing, she wears leather, and good leather, not PVC."

The time-travel play, directed by Lindsay Posner, is about a dominatrix who flees for her life through a hotel suite's connecting door only to find herself 20 years in the past.

Stalked by a psychopath in the present and the past, the opportunity to alter time for the better puts the lives of three women at stake.

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