Today, I sat in our rehearsal room and watched the wonderful Matt Flint choreographing Billy Whistle, one of the songs from our show. He’s remarkably inventive and seems to have the ability to make anyone look like Fred Astaire. The lads responded incredibly well to him, and created something which was deeply moving and incredibly exciting. I flitted next door and found Sara Kestelman working with the rest of the cast on book scenes. The joy about Brass is that the male and female ensembles very rarely meet, so it’s possible to run two full rehearsals separately, which effectively doubles the potential output of a day.
There is some genuinely fabulous work going on. Most of the cast are developing really strong and robust characters, and they continue to retain an almost obscene amount of information in their young brains. The female ensemble are more unified in their sound than most West End choruses.
The upshot of all this is that I’ve decided to take a couple of days away from the mayhem. It’ll be good for me to have a few lie-ins, a few nights in a bed with a pillow that doesn’t condense like a sponge, and more crucially, a bit of time with my dear husband. I realised how devastatingly tired I was when I reached London and sat down in a cafe. I paid the man for my cup of tea and as he handed me the change, I smiled sweetly, and instead of saying thank you, I said a hugely cheery “hello”, like I was starting the transaction all over again. He looked at me like I'd gone completely insane, which, of course, I have.
Anyway, the up-side to being in London was that I got the opportunity to go to the press night of my dear friend Jim’s production of Therese Raquin. I did this with a tiny bit of trepidation as the production manager of Brass recently had a rather nasty accident in the theatre where the show was being performed.
But what a wonderful show. Psychological. Unnerving. Daring. Sexual. Wistful. Adult. Claustrophobic. Thought-provoking. Atmospheric. Like the love child of Tori Amos and Albert Camus. Craig Adams’ score was a thing of great maturity and beauty. The entire piece was more chamber opera than musical; scored for piano and string quartet. But this wasn’t twee music. It was charging. Rolling. Subtle. A lot of open fifths with very subtle dissonances in the extremities - beautifully performed by an excellent cast and a string quartet of recent graduates from the Royal Academy. Good string writing. Brilliant vocal arrangements. If you like scrunchy chords, get down to the Finsbury Park Theatre, lie back and simply let them wash over you. Bravo Jim and double bravo Craig.