Queenstown’s got talent

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An unemployed virgin spinster from the other side of the world has handed Queenstown musical Les Miserables a surprise boost.

Unlikely new singing sensation Susan Boyle (left), 47, from Scotland, has shot to world fame following her amazing rendition of the Les Mis ballad I Dreamed a Dream on reality TV show Britain’s Got Talent.

Queenstowner Rachael Gerard will belt out the same song in front of bumper crowds at the Memorial Hall next month, playing tragic stage character Fantine.

And she says interest in the local production has soared after video clips of Boyle’s version attracted a staggering 
100 million views on YouTube in less than two weeks.

“Friends, cast members and work colleagues started sending me all these text messages saying I had to see this incredible wee Scottish woman singing the song I’ll be doing in Les Mis,” Gerard, 42, says.

“Everybody is suddenly talking about it and we have Susan Boyle to thank for that. She has a great voice.”

Frumpy church volunteer Boyle, from Blackburn near Edinburgh, is an unusual star.

She doesn’t have a job, lives alone with her cat Pebbles and says she’s never been kissed.

Gerard’s life couldn’t be more different.

The dental assistant is married to husband Dan and has two teenage sons, Rob and Tom.

“I’ve only kissed a man twice and my boys are proof of that,” she jokes. “I don’t have a cat either but Benson, my pet springer spaniel, likes listening to me singing in the shower.”

Gerard praises Boyle’s achievements.

“When I’m singing I Dreamed a Dream I’ll have a costume and a character to hide behind,” she says. “Susan showed some bottle to do it as herself on TV, especially as people were sniggering at her before she’d even opened her mouth.”

Gerard adds: “When I start the song at the Memorial Hall, some people who don’t know it’s from Les Miserables will likely nudge each other and say ‘here, that’s the number by that Scottish woman’.”