Lenny Henry goes public with new love Lisa... who looks like a younger (slimmer) version of ex-wife Dawn French

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By Kimberley Dadds and Holly Thomas

Taking the relationship to a new level: Lenny Henry and his producer girlfriend Lisa Makin attended the Singin' in the Rain press night at the Palace Theatre together yesterday

Most people will admit to having a type. Lenny Henry and his girlfriend, producer Lisa Makin, are ready to take a more public approach to their relationship.

The actor stepped out with his new love - who bears more than a passing resemblance to his ex-wife Dawn French- for the Singin' in the Rain press night at the Palace Theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue last night.

The pair were affectionate as they showed up for the event, not leaving each others' side on the red carpet and maintaining physical contact at all times.

Lenny's wide grin certainly implied that his new romance is going well.

The Mail revealed in December that Lenny had found new love following the break-up of his marriage to Dawn French.

Henry, 53, has been seeing Lisa, 45, a high-profile figure in the theatre industry for several months.

The dark-haired Miss Makin is very similar-looking to Miss French – particularly now the comic actress has dramatically lost weight.

A close friend of Henry told the Mail: ‘Lenny and Lisa have been dating for several months. They are very happy together.’ The couple are said to have met through mutual friends.

The pair were seen out together at the acclaimed revival of Michael Frayn’s farce Noises Off at the Old Vic in December.

A fellow theatre-goer said: ‘I saw Lenny when he was leaving the auditorium with a woman and, for a moment, I thought it was the new slimmed-down Dawn French.'

Moved on: The Daily Mail revealed that Lenny had found a new love in December, when he and Miss Makin were spotted at the theatre together

'Lisa was touchy feely with him. She was standing close to him and touching his arm a lot.’

Miss Makin was named as one of the 20 most powerful women in British theatre by Harper’s Bazaar magazine in 2009.

Henry met his ex-wife Miss French in 1980 while working with the Comic Strip team. They married in 1984, and separated in October 2009. Their divorce was finalised a year later.

Meanwhile Hollyoaks star Summer Strallen was the belle of the ball last night as she turned out in a ravishing floorlength turquoise gown.

Old relationship: Lenny and Dawn, pictured in 2006, have both lost a great deal of weight since their break-up

Brightening up the winter red carpet she brought her own summer glow as she bared her cleavage in the strapless dress to see sibling Scarlett Strallen treading the boards.

The 26-year-old matched her pretty ensemble with cute accessories including a silver necklace and bracelet.

And her brunette hair was scraped back into an up-do.

She was there to support her older sister Scarlett, who plays Kathy Selden in the stage production, at London's Palace Theatre.

Sibling support: Hollyoaks star Summer Strallen turned up to London's Palace Theatre on Wednesday night to support her sister Scarlett in Singin' in the Rain

In force: Scarlett Strallen's godfather Christopher Biggins was among the star guests on the press night in the West End

And she wasn't the only loved one who turned out to watch the 29-year-old sing her heart out on stage.

Her godfather Christopher Biggins was also on hand at the event, who was seen cuddling up to Summer as they posed for pictures.

Looking jolly in his flamboyant style, Christopher wore a red scarf to match his red belt with spectacles and a suit.

Scarlett Strallen previously appeared in the show at the Chichester Festival, before it was transferred to the West End.

Jonathan Church's production, about the transition in Hollywood in the Twenties, was a clear hit in Chichester last year.

East to West End: EastEnders stars Tamzin Outhwaite and John Partridge walked the red carpet before the show

Strallen has been described as the undisputed star of the show thanks to her likeness to Debbie Reynolds in the original movie.

Described as having 'a voice like mountain spring water and shapely dancing pins to match', she looks set to impress during the run in London.

And it is particularly poignant that the production is taking place at the Palace Theatre.

Scarlett recently discovered her first appearance at the theatre was as a three-month-old hidden beneath her mother's dressing table.

No rain here: Tamzin and Barbara dressed to impress before they took their seats

Her actress mother, Cherida Strallen, sneaked her backstage at the venue when she was a baby while she performed in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance.

And she knew nothing about the connection until it was announced the show would move there.

She told the Evening Standard earlier this year: 'It does feel really special. It feels as if I've come home.'

Other stars who turned up to the press night included Barbara Windsor, who went for an all black get-up as she watched Adam Cooper and Daniel Crossley also starring the show.

And another EastEnder - Tamzin Outhwaite also showed up alongside John Partridge.
Tamzin, who has herself appeared in West End play Sweet Charity, donned black trousers and jacket.

Fans: Carol Kirkwood and Glynis Barber were also on hand to enjoy the production, which has transferred from Chichester

But she brightened her look up with a vibrant pink patterned scarf, beige bag and high heels.

Scottish weather presenter Carol Kirkwood showed up in her own mac to fit the Singin' in the Rain theme, but it was a bit much with the bright yellow colour.

And actress Glynis Barber was also a star guest, wearing a lacy black dress and bolero to the event.

Star of the show: Scarlett Strallen plays Kathy Selden in the show alongside Adam Cooper as Don Lockwood and Daniel Crossley as Cosmo Brown

Wowing the crowds: The star guests were treated to a wet finale during the evening