Weekly Ramble #16

The show I wrote is looking exceptional. All projects go through that uncertain phase where you dont really know if the whole deal is going to work.

Last night for me came that feeling where everything has come together. I can compare it to that moment when you reach the 50,000 word milestone in a first draft, also known as the moment you realise you’ve got a book and it works.

Yesterday saw that moment I knew we have a show and this whole deal is going to work. Having written books, blogs, a one act play and now a full length pantomine I think this project is the one I am most proud of. Writing is normally a solitary lonely task, but for this project: Beauty and the Beast; the story is being told by a wonderfully gifted cast, stage crew, set builders, artists, front of house team, choreographers and Directors all of which are working together to put my words into something much more. I have zero credentials in selling a thing. I couldnt sell shit to the flies but the people I stand with in telling this story are doing that for me and together we’re gonna tell one hell of a story that will immerse, entertain, inspire and captivate. The symptom of that will be proving that I am a capable story teller and this is my dream…

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5 Years in IHDC : My story

5 Years in IHDC : My story

On the 21st of July 2010 I began my on stage journey. Back then I only had thoughts of seeing myself in lights. But after watching that year’s Iver Heath Drama Club production Bugsy Malone I envisioned myself being able to stand alongside some of those performers .

Back then I was different and so was the world. David Cameron and Nick Clegg had recently gone into Downing Street and everybody had blackberries.

There I stood in a village hall about to join a diverse group whom have now changed dramatically over the last half decade. Mostly for the better but there are still some faces who have gone in which I believe still have a place on stage and they will be missed.

From a largely youthful group (it still is in many ways) I instantly realized these younger people all had their own little groups within. Some even rivaled to each other. There was a somewhat negative vibe surrounding certain groups and a lack of long term cohesion. But this is something which has definitely changed for the better over my time there.

“People either see what you’re doing and follow or walk away.”

Today at Iver Heath Drama Club I firmly believe the group is the closest and most hard working ever seen down there, by me at least. Not to take anything away or tread on any toes of the past but I call it as I see it.

Back to year one, three weeks passed and it was audition time for the next show. That being Snow White. Being someone who always bites more than I chew. I went for a main part. On that day, I turned 21 and had also been given my first ever main role. I was cast as the man in the mirror!

 

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silver tights from my first ever role, take it in ladies

“There have been good successful shows and some bad, that’s the art of performance.”

In my first few years in IHDC a miniature revolution took place. A small influx of adult performers paired with our hardworking attitude shifted the gears in terms of standards. Shows got better, the performances got better, the production value increased and audience members spiked. They still improve today and without any arrogance, one thing I would like to say I contributed to is the hard working attitude that this crowd now have. It’s their core value.

“To make it in IHDC you need to have the right team working attributes and attitude for hard work. Fitting in and talent are two things that aren’t a necessity but they help. Overall if you are seen to be putting in a shift, the top parts will come your way. Trust me, I’ve been there.”  

Yes I have had high points, playing hamlet is one of my personal favorites and requires no introduction. Bringing our first ever Shakespeare production to life was challenging, the dialogue is something that present day people are not used to and gave everyone involved a bigger scope. Plus who doesn’t love wearing a shirt like meatloaf.

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Playing Hamlet alongside Richard Gittens as Horatio was one of my finest moments

But being granted the role of Robin Hood in an IHDC pantomine will always be my favorite achievement to date. The various promotional appearances and newspaper articles I made will always be a great memory for me. But it was hard work, being a name that people know carries an expectation, one that I hope did Robin Hood justice. That production in particular convinced me that things have changed for the better in IHDC, there’s a certain work ethic about the place now.

Even though I am kind of tired from Robin Hood I am still more than ready to take on another challenge.

Thank you to everyone who has had some level of involvement to IHDC over the years. It’s been a ride and one that will continue for me.

Next year my writing will come to life on stage when I bring my one act murder mystery farce Hotel Doom to IHDC. Performing with this diverse wonderful group has brought me confidence to write, to blog and to continue in all of my performance rated endeavors.

“The people I have met are my friends for life and what we have at IHDC is a family of ragtag sometimes dysfunctional queens, but they are my queens and we do well together.”

 

Here’s to many more years and below are some of the fond memories…

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Into the Woods : Wicked : My musical weekend

From the very beginning many of us knew that this year was gonna be all about movies, considering I have pretty much one sentence to report on all things trying to get published I will do that now.

I have sent my manuscript out to agents again and now I’m editing my second book again.

Now that’s done lets get to it but wait, didn’t I say that this week’s offering would resume on a Tuesday? I lied, the world is full of liars including me.

My musical weekend began on Friday…….

Friday : Into the woods

After walking into the foyer of my local empire cinema I could see that we may have trouble finding 7 seats for the group I was with. It was opening night after all and the last time I saw this cinema that packed was when Les Miserables came out. Just like that experience we were forced to sit near the front.

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So to the film, well here we see a rather stellar cast, I am talking Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, James Corden (Peeps from US will soon know who he is) Johnny Depp ( more of a cameo from him) Emily Blunt, Chris Pine who played the rugged yet charming prince charming and many more. It seemed that nearly every character big or small was a face I had seen before. This gave me much faith in what Disney had to offer.

We were introduced by the way of song to the many central characters and the sort of modified fairy tales in which they belonged. Jack and the beanstalk, Little red riding hood and Cinderella were amongst them.

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Meryl Streep and James Corden carried this film which saw him on a scavenger hunt into the woods. I wont give that much away as I feel it is worth watching but to me the final quarter of the film did lack a certain level of story and plot. Which is a shame because the cast all pull together and almost make this an anti Disney film with cliché at every turn. My favourite line of the film came from prince charming “I was raised to be charming not sincere” and he did turn out to be quite the sleaze bag. Seeing him and another prince singing a duet on a waterfall and trying to out prince each other was fun to watch.

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I lol’d at this guy

 

Go see it and tell me your thoughts.

If your still here this is part two of my musical weekend and that was to take my better half into central London to the very art deco Victoria Apollo theatre.

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Saturday : Wicked

As you take your seat there is already a visual spectacle  to take in. The safety curtain is a map of OZ with emerald city glowing in the centre. Around the stage is various ladders, walkways and cogs of the machine that makes Wicked turn. High above a dragon facing the spectators who were ready and restless on this busy Saturday afternoon.   (This dragon did move from time to time)

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Here we see the story of Elphalba (the wicked witch of the west) and how she came to meet herfate.  Again I won’t give anything away and just tell you this show was somewhat awesome.  Many people think that musicals are not for me (maybe because I am so manly, tough exterior etc.) but this show was great. The act 1 close of defying gravity did exactly that and really expressed the powerful vocal skills of the performers. Flying monkeys, munchkins and brilliant stage visuals gave the whole show had a magical element. I would strongly recommend you see it. We were sat in the dress circle looking down on the stage, but where ever you sit is a good view in the Apollo.

 

Final thought 

Some of you may know that for five years I have pursued a career in amateur drama. Having been a member of the Iver Heath Drama Club for that time I can happily announce that I will be the lead in their next show. This January I will be putting the tights on to be Robin Hood, the worlds most famous outlaw! Come and see me, tickets are available to purchase online for a reasonable rate, just click here.

Show your support for a good thing in the community!

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