Jesus Christ Superstar – Louth Playgoers – Revew by Frances Brindle

 

image2

I’m absolutely delighted that even though I’m still away in the USA I am able to publish a review for this great show via a wonderful friend from Louth Playgoers (LPG), Frances Brindle, for their current production of Jesus Christ Superstar, the Rock Opera, in Riverhead Theatre, Louth from 17th to 27th May.

Frances is usually onstage for the musicals but as well as performing for LPS she’s been Assistant Director, Producer and taken Choreographer roles.  She’s also on the marketing team and is on the Board of Directors. You can also find her smiley face in the box office from time to time!!!

Frances next  LPS project is Once Upon a Time, the summer concert on August 12th where she’s Producer and choreographer.

Over to you Fran…

Having not been involved in this years musical (an odd feeling!) I thought I’d embrace being on the other side and I’d review it.

Not being a massive fan of Jesus Christ Superstar, hence not being part of the show, I can’t say I wasn’t looking forward to the show, but my reason for going was to support the cast who have worked so hard to produce it.

And a huge amount of hard work has gone into it. I’ve heard first hand that there’s literally been blood sweat and tears, and that was just building the set! Bob Booth and his crew have produced the largest construction our stage has ever seen. With giant steps, platforms, trapdoors, and multi levels, the immense presence of it is the first thing you notice when the curtains go back. It is utilised in so many different ways, which I won’t spoil, but the cast are constantly all over this giant structure making full use of the dynamics this set has to offer.

The most striking thing about this show was that everyone on that stage was fully invested in it and committed to providing a great performance. It was lovely to see so many new faces on the stage too, I hope they’ve loved it enough to join us in the forthcoming season.

The wardrobe team must be congratulated for their efforts because you could quite happily believe you were in biblical times, which is no easy feat when you have to source clothes in a modern society. They were tasteful, suited and my favourite part was that there were so many colours on that stage but they weren’t super bright and they fitted the show perfectly. The use of scarves and shawls was an excellent addition to each costume and I’m sure it aided the cast in defining their characters.

Colours for me played an important role in this show, Pilate in purple typically an “evil” colour, Herod’s glamorous gold, and Judas in Red which is essentially an angry colour and in the scene where he’s fighting his inner demons under the red lighting and wearing a red costume absolutely took the audience on a journey of his mind set.

The lighting in the whole show was very atmospheric and the use of candles to create a hazy glow in certain scenes definitely worked for me. There’s something to be said for emotional scenes portrayed in the flicker of candlelight.

The show is full of strong voices but the trio of Jesus (Jody McCutcheon) Mary Magdalene (Evie Dodds) and Judas (Rik Hardenberg) carry the show along at a pace which tells the story beautifully yet keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, literally. Their performances are brilliant and all differently so emotive that towards the end of Act two my stomach was in knots and I still felt a bit shaky after the show. It’s intense, shocking, heart wrenching and emotional whilst still having moments of upbeat, lively fun.

The fun mostly comes from the ensemble who are the heart of this show. They never stop! They are constantly climbing up and down stairs and scaffolding, on and off the stage, and it’s their commitment to this merry dance that makes the story so believable. All whilst performing perfectly placed choreography (by Sarah Hagerup) remembering harmonies, singing and still managing to breathe!! Hats off too to Keith Weston, the Musical Director, because it takes an awful lot of work to accomplish a rock opera with no spoken lines and just pure singing, and it’s a hard sing! And a hard play for the band too who absolutely rock!

The concept of this show is still one I can’t get my head around, but a lady who has, is the Director, Sue Hamilton. She has had the enormous task of bringing this vision to reality. It has been done in such a way that not only works, but flows so much that a scene disappears before your eyes before you’ve had a chance to realise it’s gone. And it happens more than once!

For a show that I don’t like, tonight I loved it! I smiled, I clapped and I cried, it moved me so much!

So if between now and Sat 27th May you want a great night out then go and see Jesus Christ Superstar, because they’re all Superstars!

image3-1

There are some tickets left and you can get them at www.louthplaygoers.com or call Box Office on 01507 600350 open 10am-1pm Monday -Saturday.

Thank you Frances for taking the time to write this great review, I’m just very disappointed that I’m unable to see this show that I know and love, and that I was part of in the Lincoln Cathedral production in both 2015 and 2016 with some of the same cast as in this particular production.

I hope that all the cast and crew have a great rest of the run, and that everyone enjoys it as much as Frances obviously did!

15179138_10158022715215413_3592442256107094007_n

Advertisements

Review – ‘Ton of Bricks’ – Stroke of Genius Community Theatre Company

img_2757

This particular show had completely passed me by until I was asked to accompany my friends, Dawn, Jeannine and Helen on a bit of a girlie road trip to The Robin Hood Theatre in Averham.  It’s a small public theatre situated in the countryside close to Newark on Trent in Nottinghamshire, seating 150, it has the reputation of producing professional, high standard entertainment and it certainly didn’t let us down last night!

The main reason for our trip was to support one of our dear friends, Cliff McArdle who we all met in the cast of the rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar in Lincoln Cathedral in 2015.  Cliff wrote all the Music and Lyrics for ‘Ton of Bricks’, with the script being Written and Directed by Carolyn Drury.  After the show, Cliff said he found the experience a really rewarding one, that was made easier by the clear directions given by Carolyn Drury; he said, “She knew exactly what she wanted from each song , and all I had to do was to write them!”  Well, what a fabulous job Cliff did with every single song; although he’s ‘dabbled’ in song-writing for many years, this particular show was his first foray into composition not specifically for children (despite it being set in a village school), having left the teaching profession a few years ago to concentrate more fully on music and song writing.

The show itself was set in a Village School, where the rich, older generation London weekend visitors were buying up all the property in the village, leaving the local young people, wanting to stay in their village, with no affordable housing.  The result of that, lead to the decline in the numbers of children attending the local school, with the stark fact that it might close within a year or two.  A fleeting thought by the Head Teacher, led to a series of well planned discussions and events, eventually saving the school from it’s sad demise.

There were some brilliant characters that were totally believable from beginning to end.  The wonderfully buoyant Head Teacher, Mrs Esther Dawson played by Sarah-Lee Taylor was so obviously drowning in ‘Paperwork’ as portrayed in a fabulous duet with her efficient school Business Manager Sarah, played by Kerri Saxby.  Despite her drive to success as Head Teacher, she was lonely, having only in the last few years been widowed.  Her school and her ‘school children’ meant everything to her so she needed to save it and them at all costs.

Mrs Dawson was plagued on a daily basis by her nasty neighbour from hell Bob, played brilliantly by David Baliol-Key earning him a very loud ‘booooo’ at the end!  He made Esther Dawson’s life a misery but it didn’t just end there; Bob’s very sad, downtrodden and very bullied wife Marilyn played by Yvonne Cockayne, showed the audience just what a mean character he was, fortunately getting his comeuppance in the end being left one lonely old grumpy man.  Sarah-Lee in pensive thought, gave a wonderful rendition of ‘If Only’, a beautiful song asking the question we might often ask ourselves, I wonder what would have happened if only…?

Two hilarious cleaners Molly and Sandra, played by Zanda Pepper and Flick Millis, doubled as ‘scene shifters’ earning special thanks in the programme from their mum, Writer and Director Carolyn Drury.  They were both wonderful, even just walking on stage, and the looks passing between them brought laughter from the audience.  Their duet ‘Get the bleach’ made me wonder whether there must have been some glue in their buckets and elastic on their mops…  (I will forever wonder!).  (I also thought I saw a slight resemblance to a couple of other ladies in the community meeting towards the end of the show… maybe some older, well-to-do great aunts also lived in the village and occupied a couple of the elusive properties…?)

The snooty Councillor/land owner Edward Montague played by Tony Smith, seemed initially to be the baddy, but with the help and money from the charming suave and sophisticated building entrepreneur Tony Marshall played by Ian Carr, eventually saved the day in more ways than one!

A gorgeous duet by Ian and Sarah-Lee, ‘What do I like?’ showed us that even with our personal differences and preferences, love can still prevail…  after all, we all like a bit of the ‘bright lights’ sometimes!

The wonderfully portrayed ‘posh’ head boy and girl were stunning in their performances, looking down their noses at the lesser beings in the playground, otherwise known as ‘Year 7’s’; Giles played by Kane Stone, was clear and articulate as well as showing a kind brave side, winning the heart of the unexpected girl by breaking up a fight.  Tara, the head girl, played by Hannah Roe, showed more than a hint of ‘Miranda Hart’ (Sorry Hannah I had to say it!).  She showed a brilliant sense of comedic timing and an altogether hilarious performance; their duet ‘I want to go where the action is’ was both enthusiastic and passionate.

fullsizeoutput_b7af
Kane Stone in rehearsal
fullsizeoutput_b7c3
Hannah Roe in rehearsal

The other 3 teenagers played by Lewis Wilby, Jo Anna Geary and Toby Lobmeister, despite looking and acting like the sort of teenagers you don’t want anything to do with, were obviously misunderstood, and their song, ‘Pride’, a mix of solo and trio, was very touching…

“…Yes, we’re often skint,

but we’re rich in the important things,

the importance a family brings

fills us up with pride…”

The Year 7’s really got involved in the whole show, both singing, acting, speaking and choreography;  I was impressed by their passion and obvious enjoyment throughout the performance.

One of my favourite numbers, apart from ‘Pride’and ‘If Only’ (there were many favourites!), was the solo ‘Sunday, Sunday’, sang again by Ian (despite my friend Jeannine speculating in advance Sarah-Lee would join Ian in her dressing gown before the end of the scene!).  The humorous reference to building Mr Trump’s wall in Mexico was a delightful addition to the script making it very current!

Since I left school back in 1982, I haven’t had much to do with teachers or schooling apart from through my son’s education, until I joined the Jesus Christ Superstar ensemble in 2015, where I met Cliff and a lot of other either current or past teachers…  being part of a community with a lot of people with a teaching background, you pick up a lot of vibes about the state of schools today, including the fact that record numbers of teachers are leaving the profession.  This production highlighted perfectly for me some of the key issues facing both schools, teachers and students in our world today with both hilarity and extreme sadness with hints of bullying, theft, overwork and long term sickness amongst the teaching staff (the lazy jobsworth caretaker Frank played by John Dodd a typical example).  The script was delightfully funny yet emotional and each song, and the unique, elusive harmonies, were performed with a sense of confidence and assurance.  It was also great to see Cliff supporting the male harmonies whilst playing the keyboard during a few numbers!

Jeannine said about the show:

“Cliff…. I can’t tell you how proud we ALL were of you… the show was fantastic… very refreshing to be honest…
We had no idea what we were coming to…I just thought that we were kind of coming to support you in this fantastic venture… which was ok in itself anyway… You’re our friend and we wanted to support you…
We had no idea that it would be such a brilliant show…
Interesting script… Amazing songs and harmonies… some wonderful performances from the youngest on stage to the older ones… I liked the choreography, it went perfectly with the songs…
It was funny yet at times rather moving…
I just loved it Darlin’ ….. Well worth coming over for……THANK YOU…”

Helen said:

“What a great show!  Funny in places, poignant in others. Very strong cast who were fully into their characters. Loved the score with themes running through it for the characters. Clever lyrics and I really enjoyed all the songs entwined in the final song. I had no idea what Jeannine and gang were taking me to, down the dark country lane, but what a great night. Well done you and your team x”

Dawn said:

“Well, I thought it was incredibly well observed, a modern tale with totally believable characters and songs that just, well, fit in perfectly with clever and moving lyrics.  I went from laughing out loud to holding back the tears”

fullsizeoutput_b7bf
Helen Kent, Jeannine Ridha and Dawn Wilson waiting for the show to begin

I don’t know what more to add other than what has been said already above, except congratulations to all the cast and the Production Team, especially Carolyn, Cliff, the Choreographer Rebecca Ladds, the musicians, Stage Manager, Jean Baliol-Key, the sound, lighting, set design and construction and all others involved.  You’ve done a brilliant job and I really hope it’s not the last we see of the writers of this – this show needs to be seen again and again.

Congratulations!

fullsizeoutput_b7be
Cleaner’s break time!

 

Photo’s taken during show rehearsals…

Jekyll & Hyde – TICKETS ON SALE NOW

I can’t believe the day is nearly here, 14th February, when we’ll be able to buy tickets for the eagerly anticipated show ‘Jekyll & Hyde: the musical’ to be performed in Lincoln Cathedral in August 2017.  August seems like a long way away, but rehearsals with the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company and it’s typically large community cast […]

new-j-h-logo-906x245

We’re here, 14th February, when tickets are on sale for the eagerly anticipated show ‘Jekyll & Hyde: the musical’ to be performed in Lincoln Cathedral in August 2017.  August seems like a long way away, but rehearsals with the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company and it’s typically large community cast have been underway since September 2016 and are set to ramp up over the next few weeks now the lead roles have been cast.  (Watch this space over the coming weeks to get more information about who is starring in the cast!)

I had the pleasure of taking some photos in one of the rehearsals at the Assembly Rooms in Lincoln just before Christmas, where the group had it’s first run through…  I was spellbound – although I’ve listened to the soundtrack for the past 5 months in preparation, nothing could have prepared me for the tension, the seriousness, the comedy and the horror that is brought to life by the lead roles going through the motions with their lines and bringing their own individual characterisations to the script and score…  To be honest, if that’s how I felt in the first run through, I can’t imagine what I’ll feel and what the show will look like when I see it for real in August; I can’t wait!

dsc_0588

 

 

 

 

If the past 2 years productions are anything to go by, tickets won’t last long.

ALL tickets for ALL performances were sold out within 5 hours in February 2016 for the 2nd years production of Jesus Christ Superstar and I’m convinced that if tickets don’t sell even quicker this time, I’d be very surprised!

dsc_0756dsc_0680

Lincoln Cathedral’s Website said:

Lincoln Cathedral will open its doors once more in August 2017 to entertain, delight and dazzle audiences with the Broadway bestseller ‘Jekyll and Hyde: the musical’.

Tickets will be available to purchase from Tuesday 14 February 2017 from 10am.

We anticipate there will be a high demand for tickets so recommend you book early to avoid disappointment.

A link to enable you to purchase your tickets will appear on this page at 10am on Tuesday 14 February.

This hit show was written for the stage by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse and is based on the classic novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The musical was written in the 1980s and has been performed worldwide to great critical acclaim. The musical is a much lighter take than the original gothic horror and explores the epic struggle of man between good and evil.

The powerful pop rock music charts the struggle of a Doctor attempting to find a cure for his father’s mental illness, which goes drastically wrong and creates an alter ego who soon wreaks havoc on the streets of Victorian London. So many of the shows themes are universal; love, honour, family, life, death and illness. Thought provoking and moving – this will rock Lincoln’s theatre world!

The performances will run from Tuesday 22 August to Friday 1 September (please note that there will be no performance on Sunday 27 August). The Theatre in the Nave project involves over 250 members of the local community in its cast and crew.

Tickets will be available to purchase from Tuesday 14 February 2017. The best way to purchase your tickets will be through this website. The Cathedral Shop will not have a pre-allocation of tickets for sale, they will simply be able to assist you in purchasing tickets online through Eventbrite.

Accessible seating will be available to purchase by phone only on 01522 504394.

Click the Lincoln Cathedral link on 14th February for tickets!

 

maxresdefault-2

NOTE:  Although I’ve been rehearsing for the past 4-5 months with the cast, I’ve decided not to continue as a member of the cast this year.  I’m trying to ramp up my own business and may have the opportunity to travel  fairly extensively early in the summer, so I’m continuing to review shows within this blog, as well as write more about Jekyll & Hyde as it progresses over the coming months, including interviews with cast members and some of the lead performers, musicians and back stage crew.  As one of my hobbies is photography, I’ll be able to share some insights into the rehearsals, although don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers – you’ll have to buy your own ticket to see the show when they go on sale in 10 days time!

799db6b23507ecfa90c23ec74e0731

Jekyll & Hyde – only 10 Days to go!

clxzet6wqaa1ipc

new-j-h-logo-906x245

I can’t believe the day is nearly here, 14th February, when we’ll be able to buy tickets for the eagerly anticipated show ‘Jekyll & Hyde: the musical’ to be performed in Lincoln Cathedral in August 2017.  August seems like a long way away, but rehearsals with the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company and it’s typically large community cast have been underway since September 2016 and are set to ramp up over the next few weeks now the lead roles have been cast.  (Watch this space over the coming weeks to get more information about who is starring in the cast!)

I had the pleasure of taking some photos in one of the rehearsals at the Assembly Rooms in Lincoln just before Christmas, where the group had it’s first run through…  I was spellbound – although I’ve listened to the soundtrack for the past 5 months in preparation, nothing could have prepared me for the tension, the seriousness, the comedy and the horror that is brought to life by the lead roles going through the motions with their lines and bringing their own individual characterisations to the script and score…  To be honest, if that’s how I felt in the first run through, I can’t imagine what I’ll feel and what the show will look like when I see it for real in August; I can’t wait!

If the past 2 years productions are anything to go by, tickets won’t last long when the box office opens at 10am on Tuesday 14th February.  ALL tickets for ALL performances were sold out within 5 hours in February 2016 for the 2nd years production of Jesus Christ Superstar and I’m convinced that if tickets don’t sell even quicker this time, I’d be very surprised!

 

dsc_0756dsc_0680

Lincoln Cathedral’s Website says:

Lincoln Cathedral will open its doors once more in August 2017 to entertain, delight and dazzle audiences with the Broadway bestseller ‘Jekyll and Hyde: the musical’.

Tickets will be available to purchase from Tuesday 14 February 2017 from 10am.

We anticipate there will be a high demand for tickets so recommend you book early to avoid disappointment.

A link to enable you to purchase your tickets will appear on this page at 10am on Tuesday 14 February.

This hit show was written for the stage by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse and is based on the classic novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The musical was written in the 1980s and has been performed worldwide to great critical acclaim. The musical is a much lighter take than the original gothic horror and explores the epic struggle of man between good and evil.

The powerful pop rock music charts the struggle of a Doctor attempting to find a cure for his father’s mental illness, which goes drastically wrong and creates an alter ego who soon wreaks havoc on the streets of Victorian London. So many of the shows themes are universal; love, honour, family, life, death and illness. Thought provoking and moving – this will rock Lincoln’s theatre world!

The performances will run from Tuesday 22 August to Friday 1 September (please note that there will be no performance on Sunday 27 August). The Theatre in the Nave project involves over 250 members of the local community in its cast and crew.

Tickets will be available to purchase from Tuesday 14 February 2017. The best way to purchase your tickets will be through this website. The Cathedral Shop will not have a pre-allocation of tickets for sale, they will simply be able to assist you in purchasing tickets online through Eventbrite.

Accessible seating will be available to purchase by phone only on 01522 504394.

Click the Lincoln Cathedral link on 14th February for tickets!

 

maxresdefault-2

NOTE:  Although I’ve been rehearsing for the past 4-5 months with the cast, I’ve decided not to continue as a member of the cast this year.  I’m trying to ramp up my own business and may have the opportunity to travel  fairly extensively early in the summer, so I’m continuing to review shows within this blog, as well as write more about Jekyll & Hyde as it progresses over the coming months, including interviews with cast members and some of the lead performers, musicians and back stage crew.  As one of my hobbies is photography, I’ll be able to share some insights into the rehearsals, although don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers – you’ll have to buy your own ticket to see the show when they go on sale in 10 days time!

799db6b23507ecfa90c23ec74e0731

Preview – ‘Songs from Stage & Screen’

14938229_1239456096077737_7576228357360095758_n

I was delighted to read an advert that Peter Merrick, who played the fabulous part of Pilate in Lincoln Cathedral’s Production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2015 and 2016, posted on Facebook a few days ago.  Peter is going to be performing with Kate Fenn, to raise awareness and much needed funds for the Ethan Maull ‘Up Yours to Cancer’ Foundation.  He’ll be singing with Kate Fenn, a selection of songs from musicals and Christmas at The Friendship Inn, Laughterton on 9th December at 7.30pm.

Peter commented:

“We can start Christmas off early, have some fun and a jar or two. Hope to see you there”.

 

15181314_1257253317631348_6560459031806323795_n

 

photo-36

The Ethan Maull Foundation commented:

“I’m delighted to share this fabulous event with you – what better way to welcome the Christmas season? Come along and join in as Peter Merrick & Kate Fenn entertain you with songs from the musicals and Christmas songs in the warmth of the fabulous Friendship Inn at Laughterton.

It’s going to be a cracking Christmas night – it’s free entry and everyone is welcome so make a note in your diary and keep the date free 

About the Ethan Maull “Up Yours to Cancer” Foundation

Helping Young Children With Cancer

When a family friend was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Ethan Maull, at just 6 years old, helped his father Darren raise over £4,000 for Cancer Research. Darren and his friends, first took on the Yorkshire Peaks and a short time later completed the National 3 Peaks. On the last climb, Ethan joined his father making the final ascent to the top of Snowden, an amazing fete for a small boy!

Just 2½ years later in 2012, Christmas brought a devastating blow to the Maull family when Ethan, at just 8 years old was diagnosed with a rare form of Osteosarcoma, a children’s bone cancer.

In reading about the really tough battle Ethan went through in his young life I would urge anyone who can make this event to make an effort and join Peter and Kate in Laughterton and raise funds for this great cause.

 

Review ‘White Christmas’ -BOS Musical Theatre Group

whitechristmas

Local performers from the BOS Musical Theatre Group are performing “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin between Saturday 19th to Saturday 26th November at 7.30pm, including a matinee performance on Saturday 26th at 2pm .  The musical is based on the well-known film, and features some of Berlin’s best known songs including “Blue Skies”, “Snow”, “Count your Blessings” and of course “White Christmas”.  Without giving too much away, if you’re not familiar with the story, it is set in 1944 just behind the lines where the American troops are waiting to go into battle. They are being entertained by one of the Captains, and it’s nearly Christmas.  The years roll on, there’s love for some, and not so much love for others, but in the end, in true Hollywood style, everything works out beautifully, just in time for a ‘White Christmas’.

I attended the opening night performance on Saturday 19th November with a couple of friends; we’ve seen another production by the BOS group previously (‘9 to 5’ back in April 2016) so were eagerly anticipating the music and fun the evening was going to bring.  One of the performers, Christian Slingsby (playing Phil Davis), is a good friend of ours, having performed with my 2 friends and I in the Lincoln Cathedral production of Jesus Christ Superstar back in 2015.  We were expecting great things having seen him play Franklin Hart Jnr in ‘9-5’ earlier this year and once again we weren’t disappointed, especially the uniform (and lack of it at certain moments!)

white-christmas-dress-1-9381

There were stand-out performances from some of the cast, in particular 10 year old Alice Parkin (playing Susan Waverly), who thrilled the audience from the moment she came on stage.

white-christmas-dress-1-9295

Her comedic timing, from someone so young was impeccable, and that, added to her American accent, her singing voice in ‘Let me sing and I’m happy’ and her dancing ability certainly gives us all a name to look out for in the future; definitely a star in the making!

white-christmas-dress-1-9486

Rob Callaby (playing Bob Wallace) had a beautiful voice following in the footsteps of the legend, Bing Crosby, and Andrea Townshend (playing Betty Haynes) really made the audience sit up and take notice of the beautiful ‘Love you didn’t do right by me’ in which she duetted with Rob at the same time singing ‘How deep is the ocean’.

 

white-christmas-dress-1-9539

Despite it being a Saturday night (and me missing my weekly fix of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing), we were entertained with a variety of dancing;  the cast mixed it up with tap and several different ballroom styles with a very intricate routine from Christian and Lucy Allen (who played Judy Haynes).

white-christmas-dress-1-9460

I have to mention 2 other cast members that were memorable for completely different and individual reasons.   I could have easily mistaken Ray Featherby (playing General Henry Waverly) as an American, rather than an Englishman playing an American, his accent was astounding (I read in the programme that he’d tested out his American accent on his sister who has lived in the USA for 40 years, she too was impressed!)

white-christmas-dress-1-9391

And Kim Sands (playing Martha Watson); I’d seen her previously in ‘9 to 5’ and she impressed me then, but in this show, the part of Martha was perfectly suited to Kim’s comedy style and personality.

white-christmas-dress-1-9488white-christmas-dress-1-9490white-christmas-dress-1-9526

Thank you to Stuart Bull, Director, Katy Tabor and John Sabberton, both Assistant Co-Director/Producers, Anthony E Grunwell, Musical Director and Abi Kingsley-Parker, Choreographer for their hard work in bringing this production to the Blackfriars Theatre, as well as everyone else involved, backstage, lighting, crew and musicians.

Prior to coming to see the show, I got in touch with Rob Barclay, Chairman and Director of BOS Musical Theatre Group to ask for his help in finding out a bit more about the cast of White Christmas;  here’s what I found out:

Andrea Townshend tells us about playing Betty Haynes and her previous experiences in theatre:

white-christmas-dress-1-9329

  1. How long have you been involved in theatre and how did you get started? 

I started dancing at 4 years old with local dance school Allen School of Dance and I had my first onstage leading role in one of their shows when I was about 8 years old. At the age of 16 I went to The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London and got a 3 year performing arts degree. I returned to Boston and took part in several shows in the 1990’s including the lead role of Sally Bowles in Cabaret. I then emigrated to New Zealand where I performed as Rumpleteaser in CATS at the Civic Theatre in Auckland. Since returning to the UK and having children I have taken on numerous roles both in the chorus and as a lead with BOS. 

  1. What has been the show that you’ve most enjoyed being part of?

My favorite BOS role of recent times has to be Calamity Jane. Although Sally Bowles was also an amazing role, as was Charity Hope Valentine in Sweet Charity. 

  1. What is your favourite part/song from this show?

I have several favourites songs in this show – if I had to pick just one it would be ‘Love you didn’t do right by me’. My children would probably choose ‘Count your Blessings instead of Sheep’ which is their current favourite bedtime song.

  1. If you could work with any actor or actress, from past or present, who would it be and why?

Barbara Streisand – she has been my inspiration for many years. 

  1. What is the one theatrical character you’d love to play and why?

Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, I have always loved the movie and recently saw Sheridan Smith play the part at the Savoy Theatre in London….. Amazing! 

Rob Callaby tells us a bit more about himself and his views on theatre, and this production in particular:

white-christmas-dress-1-9288

 

  1. How long have you been involved in theatre and how did you get started?

I really started doing shows in my last year of college after a friend encouraged me to get involved so that makes it about 18 years now. 

  1. What has been the show that you’ve most enjoyed being part of?

I have done a lot of amazing shows over the years but I can probably narrow it down to 3.   The Edinburgh Fringe was my first show with the Cambridge colleges called ‘Closer than Ever’ which was an amazing experience. The other two are more recent playing Seymour in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ in Spalding and around the same time I had the great pleasure of playing Judas in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ in Boston with BOS MTG.

  1. What, for you, makes a great performance?

Obviously as a performer you want to nail every part of your performance but from my point of view it’s a great performance if the audience enjoy the show and leave with a buzz

  1. What do you do to prepare yourself for your performance and to get into character?

I personally try to arrive at the theatre early so everything is organised and in place which gives me time to relax and focus in on my character. I think if you can get a good feel for the motivations and emotions of your character and relate that to your own experiences that really helps.

  1. What is your favourite part/song from this show?

I feel really lucky to have some beautiful songs in the show but I would say that the song ‘How deep is the Ocean’ which is intertwined with Betty singing ‘Love You didn’t do right by me’ is stunningly beautiful and emotional

  1. If you could work with any actor or actress, from past or present, who would it be and why?

There are lots of actors and actresses I admire and would love to work with, however from a Musical Theatre point of view I would have to say Frank Sinatra. I just loved his style and how effortless everything he did looked

  1. What is the one theatrical character you’d love to play and why?

My absolute favourite musical is ‘Rent’ which is a very modern musical, and I would love to play Roger. The music is more rocky where my roots tend to lie and Roger goes on such an emotional journey I would love to explore that.

Christian Slingsby now tells us about himself and his acting experience:

white-christmas-dress-1-9293

 

  1. How long have you been involved in theatre and how did you get started?

I got started back at school in the 80’s but really got the bug when I was about 20.  I went along to my then local theatre and did my first show Romeo & Juliet where I was given the job of running the lighting board for the whole show.  Been involved with theatre one way or another ever since.

  1. What has been the show that you’ve most enjoyed being part of?

That’s a difficult question because they all have their special moments.  The show that will always be special to me as I had the most memorable moment within a show would be Return to the Forbidden Planet where I played Ariel the Robot.  My first ever standing ovation

  1. What, for you, makes a great performance?

Seeing and hearing that the Audience has enjoyed themselves.  Hopefully along the way we all have a great time and enjoy ourselves BUT it’s the audience that makes a great performance

  1. What do you do to prepare yourself for your performance and to get into character?

I always like to get to the theatre about 90 minutes before a performance starts.  I like to check my props and costumes are all there and in place ready and then I like to turn off to the outside world.  There’s then time to sit and relax with your fellow actors before the real routine starts like doing a vocal warm up, getting into makeup, opening costumes and just running through the show in my mind to prepare for the nights performance.

  1. What is your favourite part/song from this show?

There’s 2 I’m afraid.  SNOW and White Christmas because with so many of us on the stage and all being involved it feels like a big Christmas Family.  Cheesy I know 😀

  1. What is the one theatrical character you’d love to play and why?

Tom Collins from RENT.  I was lucky enough to see this show on Broadway and fell in love with the show.  It’s hard to describe how the show makes me feel with the whole emotional rollercoaster that takes place between the characters during the show but the story and the way it’s told with the music and lyrics just seems to hit a soft spot with me and it is by far THE ONE show that I would love to be a part of.  Saying that I do also have quite a few others on the list that I would one day like to be in.

You might like to take a look at the BOS Musical Theatre Group’s ‘Mannequin Challenge’ by clicking here

Thank you to Neil Watson Photography for use of his photographs in this blog post.

 

About BOS Musical Theatre Group:

BOS Musical Theatre Group is based in the town of Boston in Lincolnshire, England. Founded in 1964 (as Boston Operatic Society), we have gained an enviable reputation for the high quality musical productions which we stage twice yearly at Blackfriars Arts Centre, Spain Lane, Boston. All productions are entirely produced, cast and staged using local people, and we are always keen to meet anyone who would like to become involved with us, whether backstage or treading the boards.