Victoria for the whole run of the UK & International Tours of Cats from the 25th Anniversary in 2006 up to the German tour in 2009.
"You always made our day when you came to see us [in Cats]" - one of the sweetest things that I've ever heard, it meant so much to me.
You can find her bouncing on her heels at the Alhambra stage door, begging Zak to come dancing next weekend. Her hair’s streaked amber and falling in curls. She’s laden down with shopping and suitcases. Red suede boots and a short denim skirt.
- from 'Rachel' in At The Stage Door
I adored Rachel's performance as Victoria; as a dancer, Rachel is just divine - she's so fluid and quick and delicate in her movements. Her interpretation of Victoria was sparky, silly, sweet, feisty, gorgeous, regal, graceful and bold and could fly through that whole spectrum in the space of a minute, and watching her perform that stunning White Cat Solo in the Invitation was honestly a privilege. So, it is surprising, perhaps, that I never got the chance to talk to Rachel until I saw the show in Nottingham - the fifth of the five venues I saw the pre-cast-change tour at. I do remember the very first time I saw Rachel offstage though; I remember it very distinctly because it was one of the first times Liz and I ever went to the stage door. Pre-show outside Stoke-on-Trent's Regent Theatre, Liz and I were nervous, giggling and excited as we ventured around the corner of the theatre and up the street to stage door; it was a gorgeous, sunny day and as the two of us came up the street towards the theatre we looked up and both gasped and stopped in our tracks because, who should be standing out on the Regent's little balcony in full Victoria costume? Rachel Ensor! She looked so stunning - in an admittedly surreal way, as it is always jarring when you see the cast dressed in full costume away from the Junkyard set! But she was leaning back on the balcony railing, laughing, and she just looked so striking and the pose she was standing in was so balletic, although she had a drink in one hand too and somehow the contrast of that was absurdly wonderful and the image really stuck with me and is often one of the first memories which comes to mind when I think of Rachel - though that's not to say there aren't many more memories to choose from, as Rachel was one of the members of the cast who stayed on for the whole run, right through to the Germany tour and is also one of the 2006 cast members who I have been lucky enough to keep up with since she left the Jellicle Tribe.
Rachel was always so sweet and so kind to us during the tour - always there with a hug and always winking and ruffling my hair in the finale as she left the stage at the end of every show. As well as being one of my onstage favourites, she quickly became and offstage favourite too - she's so sparkly and vibrant as a person and she's got a beautiful light and warmth to her that is just infectious; she effervesces and draws you in and she just utterly lovely to be around. I remember being so nervous before seeing her again in West Side Story in particular - it had been a long time since I'd seen her in Phantom of the Opera and even longer since Cats and I'd managed to convince myself she would never remember me. And then out she comes of stage door and she's this gorgeous, bubbly spirit just how I remembered her and she spots me immediately and before I can even process that she's remembered me I've been pulled into a lovely warm hug. The first thing she told me was "I was wondering if you would come here [Stoke's Regent theatre] because I remembered that you were from round here and you saw Cats here" and she was so chatty and kind, asking me how I'd been and talking about how much she had always enjoyed it when Liz and I had been in the audience at Cats, telling me how much it meant and saying that it made their day when we were in. I always had such an affection for Rachel, but the sweetness of her telling me that just made me love her even more still.
From the moment we saw her on that balcony, we loved Rachel's whole aura of just being this bubbly, bouncy, spirited person, there is just a fierceness about her that draws you to her but also draws your admiration. But with that fierceness also comes a heart of gold and she a really sparky, sparkly, sweet human being who is so much fun to chat to and - yes, this is going to sound shallow - but the natural style and grace that girl has is just breathtaking, she just always seems so put together, and even when she's not dancing you can just tell she's a dancer from the natural rhythm she moves with. Rachel is just beautiful in every way; personality, looks...and oh, that dancing! She really does draw your eye with the way she dances; as I said, even offstage there is a music to her, but onstage she is just indescribably stunning, so utterly enchanting and flowing and quick, it's magical. She is just so wonderful and so sweet and I love that she always remembers me and gives me hugs when she sees me again - we always felt like she really appreciated us being there and we appreciated her in kind. Rachel is possibly the person I incorporate into the most stories, after Dean Maynard, and sometimes I disguise her under other names or pick out one side of her character or even one particular outfit or look and make it into another character slightly different to her but still drawing on her bubbly nature, because she just fascinates and inspires me as a person as well as as a performer - she's just a sparkly human, simple as, and I find that so inspiring to write about. If you're not dazzled when you meet this girl, then clearly you're just not paying attention!