This week the latest chapter in the incredible journey of Bury-born actor Layton Williams began when he took to the stage in London’s West End as the Emcee in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club.

Layton will be in the show for four months starring alongside Rhea Norwood who will play Sally Bowles.

As if that wasn’t enough, Layton will be reuniting with his Strictly professional dance partner Nikita Kuzmin for two special shows, Layton & Nikita Live at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and the Drury Lane Theatre in London.

“Everything has got big and loud at the moment that’s for sure,” laughed Layton. “I am someone who does like to play hard and work hard but when the work comes around it has my full attention.

“I do love organised play. Immediately after Strictly finished I went off to Lanzarote but then it was back to work with the live tour. I try to get the rest when I can but when I’m going, I very much going.”

His role in Cabaret marks a return to musical theatre for Layton, who first came to attention in the musical There’s Something About Jamie.

“Musical theatre really is home,” he said. “I have been really fortunate to be doing some amazing things over the past two or three years; I’ve been on telly doing Bad Education, I did Strictly and the subsequent tour and stuff but now I feel like I’m coming back home, back to the West End.”

Layton is just relieved to finally get in front of an audience in Cabaret. He has effectively rehearsing on his own for the past few weeks preparing for the role.

“What I need now is an audience,” he laughed. “There are only so many times you can do Wilkommen, a 10-minute plus number by yourself in a studio with no other actors.

“It was only a week or so ago that I started getting the other cast in to rehearse with me; they have eight shows a week to do as well as rehearsing with a new cast member.

“So I’d say about 75 per cent of the time in rehearsal I’ve been solo doing the whole thing, but that’s what happens when you step into a show that’s up and running. I think I’m going to thrive off the audience reactions.”

Layton is the latest in a series of high profile performers to play the Emcee at the Kit Kat Club - a specially-created venue which has transformed the Playhouse Theatre into club in pre-war Berlin.

“I’d seen the show two or three times before as a fan,” he said. “I saw Eddie Redmayne as the Emcee and my friend John McCrea in the role.

“But the other week I went thinking ‘OK I’ve got to go and do this’.

“You’re always a little bit apprehensive when you step into roles; you never really know how it’s going to go. But the team behind this show are so smart.

“What would be the point in recasting someone in it for four month if they are not going to bring their own vibe to it?

“They have been so generous and it’s been one of the best creative processes I’ve ever had. Every MC has been so different and they really have let us run with the character and encouraged us to go with our strengths. Of course you have a responsibility to tell the story and treat the role with respect.

“I feel very lucky and most of the parts I’ve played I’ve got to say have been like that. It’s not the norm in musical theatre so I guess I’ve just done the right shows. But I’m really excited to get going.”

A high profile role in a West End show would be enough for most people. But that’s not Layton.

So in between his nightly appearances at the Kit Kat Club he will be rehearsing for his two special shows with Nikita with whom he reached the final of Strictly Come Dancing.

“We have been working on making it happen for such a long time” he said. “In an ideal world it would have probably happened before I started my West End run but Nikita had other plans and decided to go into the Big Brother house (he finished runner-up in Celebrity Big Brother). These things happen and we work around each others’ schedules.

“I’ve been on a Zoom call with him probably every other day talking through the show and set lists and what vibe want to bring. It is so exciting creating a show from scratch. I’ve never had the opportunity to do that before.

“I feel it’s the perfect time to celebrate everything that we achieved and basically a big thank you to all our fans for supporting us throughout the entire Strictly journey.

“We were super proud to get to the final. Now it’s our rules. We’re just going to do it for us.”

Anyone expecting a show filled with the pair’s routines from Strictly will be surprised.

“There may be a few hints to Strictly but it’s going to be brand new numbers and a chance for people to see us dance together possibly for the last time, who knows?

“I just felt that we needed to celebrate that great bond we have.”

As part of the Strictly Live tour Layton and Nikita were judged winners on the night by audiences around the country more than any other couple.

“The live buzz was such a different feel to doing TV show,” he said. “We brought the house down every night. I felt like a pop star.”

Clearly the two shows in Manchester and London are special moments for Layton and Nikita but Layton is very much focussed on his career.

“I’ve had a lot of fun and doing Strictly was a great experience but now I want to home in and show people ‘this is what I do’.

“Since Strictly the hardest part has been making the right choices. The ‘no’s’ come constantly while the ‘yes’s’ are rare. I had a ‘no’ for a part the other day and felt sorry for myself for about an hour but you just get on with it. It’s important now for me to do things which are right for me artistically.

“Every time I get a little bit nervous I’m like ‘Layton, this is what you do’. Strictly is not what I did, hosting red carpets is not necessarily what I did, this is my bread and butter, this is what I do. This is what brought me into this industry. Musical theatre really is home.”

As he prepared to head off for rehearsal, Layton had a message to the folk of his home town.

“I genuinely do want to give a big shout out to everyone in Bury and around the area for showing me so much love. I get back home as much as I can to see my mum and at the end of my run in Cabaret I’m planning on taking her away so we can spend some time together.

“But people’s support really has meant so much in everything I’ve done.”

Layton Williams stars as The Emcee in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club until September 21. Details from Layton & Nikita Live! is at Manchester Bridgewater Hall on June 30 and Theatre Royal Drury Lane London on July 16. Tickets: