A REDDITCH mum is set for a starring role in the rock musical Rent - and it couldn't be further removed from her own life.

Taking to the stage as one of the central characters - control-freak lesbian lawyer and activist, Joanne Jefferson - is Gabby Thompson from Headless Cross.

The PA and busy mum to her three young children has been with The Arcadians Musical Theatre Company for 12 years and has played several lead roles (most recently Maria in The Sound of Music) but this is a role unlike any other she has played before.

Gabby, an active member of her children's school PTA who loves to bake in her spare time, said that she is relishing the experience of playing someone so unlike herself.

“I love my part in Rent," she said.

"It is so different from anything I have played before. I love the challenge of the different style of music and my character is so interesting to play.

"It’s been very liberating.”

Loosely based on Puccini’s La bohème, Rent follows a year in the life of a group of struggling young artists and musicians seeking love and fulfilment under the shadow of AIDS.

With an energetic, and often moving, score featuring the songs such as Seasons of Love, Out Tonight and Without You, it brings a message of love and hope amidst the despair of death.

Gabby joins a cast of about 30 who have been rehearsing hard since December.

The production runs from Tuesday, May 13 until Saturday, May 17 at the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham.

Tickets for the show, which includes a 2.30pm Saturday matinee, are priced from £13 to £16.

To book or for more information, visit arcadians.net or call the box office on 0121 643 5858.