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Natasha Barnes: I'm worried about Sheridan Smith

ShowbizBy Sunday World
Natasha Barnes: I'm worried about Sheridan Smith

Natasha Barnes is worried about Sheridan Smith's wellbeing and is missing her friend since she took a break from 'Funny Girl'.

The 26-year-old actress is Sheridan's understudy in the

the West End production and has taken over the part of Fanny Brice while the 'Cilla' star - whose beloved father Colin was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year - takes a break due to "exhaustion and stress".

Although Natasha is proud to have the trust of the production team to lead the show she admits her concern for Sheridan has taken the gloss off her achievement.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph newspaper, Natasha said: "This is absolutely the pinnacle of my career. Because for eight years I've been losing out to people who had bigger profiles than me and to be here now, and getting standing ovations is amazing.

"But because Sheridan's a friend and we're a family, it's never going to feel whole without her here. When I'm on stage I don't have time to consider it but backstage before and after the show there is this absence. I miss her and worry about her and I hope that she's alright."

Natasha also revealed Sheridan, 34, has offered lots of encouragement and career advice, and says there are strong similarities between the pair, which is why they have developed such a strong friendship.

Sheridan also gave Natasha her blessing to take on the part of Fanny and make it her own.

She explained: "We're actually very alike even though we're from opposite sides of the country and she's got eight years on me.

"Neither of us had formal training and we're both people - but most importantly we have the same heart and the same soul.

"Sheridan's been so supportive of me. 'You give this a go and it will do good things for you', she told me. 'But be brave and make the part your own. "

Meanwhile, Natasha also confessed that she too, has found her role in 'Funny Girl' to be tiring.

She said: "It's physically and emotionally exhausting. Every time I reach the end of a performance I wonder whether I can do it again the next day."

Natasha admitted that part of the problems stems from the fact she relies on her everyday emotions to inspire her on-stage performances.

She explained: "Because once you get into the habit of using your own heart for work, you can very quickly forget how to act without it, and then you exhaust yourself."