Dog joins Chicago star Ali on tour
IEND up discussing dogs with actress Ali Bastian. Many will recognise her from Hollyoaks, The Bill or Strictly Come Dancing but those who follow the actress's Twitter feed will be familiar with the girl in Ali's life — Molly.
The logistics of touring with a pooch hasn't deterred this star, who heads to Chicago in Torquay this month.
There are posts online with Molly sitting well-behaved on a train, in her basket backstage at a theatre, exploring the odd beach.
I mention that I can't imagine leaving my loon-ball of a dog alone backstage — we are still working on her not destroying my car while I am paying for petrol.
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"I used to have a black lab growing up, I know what they are like," she said.
"I tour with my little dog Molly. I take her for long walks. It'll be nice to take her for some long walks when we are in Torquay.
"We do try and see the places when we tour there.
"It's fine touring with a dog. It's just a case of finding somewhere to stay where they are happy to have a dog as well.
"And because she is so quiet, you can take her into a theatre. She stays on her bed while I am on stage. She is fine.
"The cast are all brilliant with her, too. I'm very lucky that Molly is so totally chilled out.
"She's on my timetable, too. I'm fairly nocturnal at the moment because I work nights, but then Molly is, too. She will sleep late and it is all really easy.
"Everyone really loves her, she has got lots of aunties and uncles who look after her for me."
Ali is a television actress, best known for playing Becca Dean in the Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks from 2001 to 2007, and PC Sally Armstrong in long-running ITV drama series The Bill from 2007 to 2009.
She has also been a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing with Brian Fortuna but more recently found her feet in some great theatre productions.
"I've gone off on a tangent, but I am so happy," she said.
"I can't believe that I have been given these opportunities. I did six years in Hollyoaks and then a long stretch on The Bill. It is great playing the same character for a long time and I loved all those jobs. You get to work with incredible people.
"But when it finished, I wanted something that was as varied as possible and I've managed to do that. I love it. You can't really beat the buzz of live performance."
Touring non-stop around the country can mean it is hard to tie a relationship down and catch up with family and friends.
"You have to have understanding people around you," she said.
"Luckily, most of my closest people are friends from school and people I have grown up with.
"They know me so well and they know that I go underground with my work and occasionally come up for air. I really appreciate it, I am very lucky. My family are very understanding. I can go home and collapse on my mum's sofa for two days, then off I go again.
"You end up asking a lot of the people around you to be that understanding.
"Work is so consuming but then again it is all or nothing. You're either 100 miles an hour or rattling around at home."
Ali is playing Roxie in Chicago, which plays the Princess Theatre form July 23 to 28.
"Roxie knows how to use her womanly ways to get what she wants.
"She is headstrong and a powerful woman but also an incredible survivor. She knows what she needs to do to get her to where she wants to be. There is so much to her, there is so much to play with.
"For me, I kind of fell in love with the little girl within her. There are moments in the show where she gets to let rip. I have such a ball.
"I feel that there is this little girl that just wants to be loved and liked.
"There is quite a dark side to the plot as well, she's a murderer. She is so hungry for the limelight too.
"That's my way in to fall in love with her — which I think you kind of have to."
Ali said the Torquay date is special for the crew but also means a chance for her to catch up with family.
"The moment the music starts people are buzzing. We can't wait to get out there.
"For us, Torquay will be a bit of a holiday. We can't wait for some sea air. As a company, we have the best weeks at holiday destinations.
"I can't wait until I come down. We have such a good time. My Auntie is down in Salcombe.
"I was going out of my mind trying to find digs to stay. I always stay there when I'm in Plymouth, I didn't know how close it was to Torquay.
"I'll sort that out then, I will be staying with my family. Tell Auntie Sara I'm on my way."