I was never far away…

…but now I’m back for a long overdue update!

It’s been a busy few months, though I’ve taken a (well earned, I like to think) rest from performing over the summer.

June saw me working with the wonderful Ian Talbot (OBE no less, and one-time artistic director of The Open Air Theatre in Regents Park) with a GSA production of Moll Flanders.  It featured a cast of MA Musical Theatre students, choreography from the ever delightful Rachael Kerridge and my own orchestrations for me on piano, a string trio plus woodwind.

Moll Flanders was quickly followed by a gala concert performance of Steven Luke Walker‘s musical version of Little Women.  Goodness, what a star-studded cast!  Gina Beck, Lisa-Anne Wood, Helenha Blackman, Nikki Davis-Jones, Sarah Lark and Shona Lindsay were our beautiful ladies. Jon Robyns, Norman Bowman and Daniel Boys were the strapping men.  And all these backed by an ensemble formed of GSA soon-to-be graduates and featuring Maeve Byrne in the finale song. Mark Shenton, theatre critic and passionate supporter of new musical theatre writing, hosted the evening.  What a team!  And all supported by my orchestrations of me on piano, a drummer and a string quintet including a real live double bass! (Again with the strings?!)

Things I learned: I am too old to do all-nighters!  I didn’t even stay for a wee wine at the end….!

I seem to do a lot of piano+string arrangements. Maybe it’s time for a change. Who fancies Sound of Music with a recorder choir? Or Sweeney Todd with penny whistle, didgeridoo and viola da gamba? Get in touch if you do…..!

So, then came the summer of my (dis)content!  I had to turn down a number of gigs, concerts and shows just so I could recharge my batteries and reacquaint myself with my loved ones!  During all this, of course, plots were hatching.  The most significant of all was the forming of the Guildford Fringe Theatre Company with long time friend and colleague Nick Wyschna. Our not-very-original idea was to bring the London fashion of using a room above a pub to the already bustling theatre scene of Guildford.  And it seems to have worked.  Our first production, Jason Robert Brown’s “The Last Five Years“, was seen by packed houses every night and we had some great reviews:

“In this snug, atmospheric space, a small but packed audience was treated to an intriguing first production from this new company, that has promised great things for the Guildford theatre scene.” (Guildford Dragon)

The Last Five Years

We even managed a cheeky appearance in the “Scene Around” pages in The Stage!

Our next production is being announced today (don’t tell Nick I’ve spilled the beans early!). It’s the debut play of young playwright Tom Wells: “Me, As A Penguin”. It was introduced to me by young actor Joseph Richardson who performed a monologue from it at an audition.  Well, it’s thoroughly charming – but not without a bite. I’m delighted to be producing it with our new company. Click here to go to our website.
We have major plans for 2013 (doesn’t everyone).  Get following the company through their e-newsletter by clicking here.
Well, dear reader (if you are still reading), that’s it for now.  Though I have so much more to tell you!!

 

Pop back soon.

 

N