On his way to London for more rehearsals, Neil tells all about Bournemouth and Liverpool.
That’s week one of Liverpool finished and currently I am on a train down to London to meet our new children who have just started rehearsals…
For the last couple of venues we have been really spoilt with massive stages and facilities in Birmingham and Plymouth, and then at the other end of the spectrum is Bournemouth. The Pavilion is a really lovely building and beautifully looked after, but putting The Sound of Music in was a real challenge. The stage was on the first floor of the building and accessed by quite a small lift, so small that most of our set wouldn’t fit into it – and so nearly everything had to come through the front doors of the theatre instead, which on a Sunday in the middle of a wedding fair was quite a challenge.
Instead of the usual three days to get the show ready we had four, and it took all that time with our crew working round the clock. The Sound of Music was the biggest show ever to play the Pavilion
The show did open on time and, as ever with Rob Jones’ brilliantly designed set, it looked amazing – and again the reaction from the audience was lovely.
The dressing rooms in Bournemouth were cosy to say the least – Chris Barton’s was so small that he couldn’t actually put his boots on in the room and the poor kids were really crammed in (but at least they had a window). Most of the company were in just two rooms, but being at the seaside everyone was in quite a holiday mood and we managed to get through the run without anyone killing each other!
Bournemouth also marked the end of Kirsty Malpass’ run as Maria before Dame Fisher returned from honeymoon.
After a lovely week off (which as ever went too quickly) the show arrived in Liverpool, which is a complete contrast to Bournemouth. The auditorium is absolutely enormous and is the widest in Europe, the stage is vast and there are plenty of dressing rooms, although most of them are upstairs – and the lift is dodgy so it is back to the stair fitness plan for my nuns again.
Connie also returned to the show after a fantastic seven weeks off – so backstage peace was shattered with her continual singing!
As I mentioned earlier I am on my way down to London for the start of our new Children’s rehearsals – I can’t believe we are into cast change mode again and in seven weeks time we will have 18 new children on the show. The children are such a major part of the show and the company and we are sure the new guys will be just as brilliant as the children we have at the moment.
Tomorrow we have the Press Launch for our Christmas run at the New Theatre in Oxford – so we have Connie, Michael and the Von Trapps on a day trip and hopefully we will make it back in time for the show …!
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