SHE spent a decade playing the feisty Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders but Rita Simons has now sunk her teeth into a new role.

The 40-year-old is currently treading the boards as Paulette Bonafonte in Legally Blonde - and it's a far cry from her days on Albert Square.

Speaking to the News ahead of the show's run at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre next month, she said: "Doing something like Legally Blonde is so very different to EastEnders, filming all the crying was emotionally draining. This show is so upbeat and happy.

"It's been a year since I left now and I'm loving life. I do miss my cast mates but now I've got 26 new ones, who I adore. I'm really lucky."

The show follows Elle Woods, a Sorority sister who loves to be pampered and is passionate about pink.

But when she is dumped by her boyfriend, she puts down the credit cards, picks up her trusty pooch Bruiser and heads to Harvard Law School to try and win him back.

"The story is exactly the same as the film," Rita said.

"But I think it is almost funnier - there are a lot of funny moments."

Rita said her favourite part of the show is when she does some Irish dancing as her character tries to impress the handsome UPS delivery man.

She added: "My other favourite part is the bend and snap - it's so iconic."

The show also features some four-legged cast members, who Rita said are always on their best behaviour: "The beautiful Bruiser, the chihuahua, is with us the whole time but we have a new Rufus at each venue so we get to meet a new bulldog every time."

Although she is "loving" her time on tour, she revealed the schedule is quite demanding.

"Every Monday we start at a new theatre and go all the way through until Saturday night, then on to the next theatre.

"I've got kids, a husband and dogs at home so if we're near London, I'll go home on a Saturday night but if we're further afield, then there's no point. I don't find it tough but it is tiring.

"When we've got a 7.30pm show we do get some downtime, you can explore and walk around the city we're in but I also do my mum duties - emailing schools and making sure my husband's got the shopping."

So what does the future hold for the award-winning actress?

"There's a couple of films being discussed at the moment, which I'm hoping to start when I have finished this tour," she said.

"But I have found a new love for musical theatre so I do want to do more. I'd like to keep it varied with film, TV and theatre."

Legally Blonde also stars X Factor finalist Lucie Jones (Elle Woods) and  former Coronation Street and Emmerdale star Bill Ward (Professor Callahan). 

Tickets for the show, which will run at the Grand from November 7-11, are now on sale via or by calling 01902 429 212.