Hobbling after a minor mishap on stage two nights earlier, actor Rachael Beck seems distracted.
    Taking a seat in the sun, she's quick to put her injured foot up on a chair.
    But the Singin' in the Rain star's worried look remains -- and physical pain isn't the cause.
    The actor is mulling on the words of a Reiki practitioner she visited to help heal her.
    Ankle injuries, the practitioner told her, signify a problem with moving forward in your career.
    Beck simply can't figure out how the advice applies to her own happy life.
    Time spent meditating on the problem at a yoga class just before our interview has failed to throw up an answer.
    "I'm not sure, not sure," Beck says.
    From the outside, the actor's career path seems to stretch happily ahead.
    And with a new husband, hip St Kilda apartment, and plans for a Fiji holiday -- could life get any better?
    "Well, it's not all roses," the former Hey Dad actor says.  "But it is pretty good."
    A waitress hovers waiting to take our late lunch order, but Beck passes.
    "It's hard to time your meals to fit in with the show," says Beck, who's due on stage in about five hours.
    The singer and dancer is annoyed by friends who think the eight performances a week leave her with oodles of free time.
    "It's like saying an athlete only runs for 10 seconds ... but they spend all week focusing for that moment," she says.  "There are times I am so tired vocally I can't meet friends for coffee."
    In earlier days, Beck recalls being so protective of her voice she wrote notes to people and wouldn't speak off stage for three days running.
    She's found balance these days, but still warbles in the shower first thing each morning to check her voice.
    The trained dancer is thrilled to be combining dancing and music on stage for Singin' in the Rain.
    "I haven't danced for so long.  I wanted to tap again, and let my body move before I get too old," she says.
    Beck, 29, first watched the classic movie for the first time just days before the auditions.
    She was so impressed she accepted the role before reading the script.
    Beck started her dancing career as a four-year-old at a Lismore academy.
    "I remember it all.  For my first performance I had to wear an old green tutu and it was really floppy.  I was jealous because my friend had a new one," she says.
    A love of the stage was in Beck's blood thanks to her father, who was a school head of drama.
    "I was always doing shows and things at home.  I was always dressing friends up and bossing them around," she says.
    The country girl left home at 16 to move to Melbourne for a role in hit musical Cats.
    Most people remember her for her three-year stint on popular television show Hey Dad.
    "It's amazing, people recognise me all the time," Beck says.
    "I'm hoping they'll still say that when I'm 40."
    Despite all her experience, it is only now, Beck says, she feels truly confident on stage.
    "For so long I was more striving to be what someone wanted me to be, whether it was director, producer, or fellow actors," she says.
    Once voted among Australia's sexiest women, Beck admits her super-confident attitude is part-fuelled by Stingers actor husband Ian Stenlake.
    Married in January, the pair met years ago on a crowded dance floor at a fundraiser.
    Beck doesn't remember much except his aura.  "There was just this bright light coming out of his head and body," she says.
    Smitten, she gave him her phone number and left the party -- but promptly made her friend turn the car around.
    The romantic tale almost had a sorry end when she broke up with him after two months over work pressures.
    Years went by, with Beck travelling overseas and "going wild" -- dancing on tabletops in Spain, and throwing her undies away in an Italian garden.
    "Don't ask about that.  Enough said," she laughs.
    When she finally returned sparks flew again between the pair, and they married.
    The son of a Uniting Church minister has helped Beck realise life is more important than work.
    The actor already has an active life offstage, with eclectic interests including horse riding, Egyptology and leadlighting.
    She also loves tending her vegies at St Kilda's community gardens.
    If her passion for acting dries up, the keen traveller is toying with the idea of being a tour leader, or perhaps hosting a television travel show.
    Singin' in the Rain has months of Australian touring to go, and a possible Asian stint to follow.
    "If they want me to go, I'll have to decide what I want to do.  Ian might want to do the LA thing and we'll have to reassess."
    So perhaps the Reiki practitioner was right, and the injury points to impending career decisions.
    "Maybe," she says, rubbing her ankle before gingerly walking away.


Left: Rachael and her Singin' in the Rain co-stars.  Right: Rachael (right) and the cast of Hey Dad.