Monday, 3 October 2016

New writer's platform

I've been in Victoria all day today, rehearsing, and then performing, the National Youth Music Theatre new writer's cabaret, which took place at St James' Theatre. It was such a wonderful event. I am so grateful that the lens is finally being turned on British musical theatre writing, and tonight's concert featured new music from both sides of the Atlantic, including four songs by Jason Robert Brown, who was present in the audience - much to the great excitement of the performers. 

Hearing songs by living American and British writers on the same bill was fascinating. I'm very pleased to report that the Brits held their own. I'm pretty sure, however, that the American composers will all be seventy times wealthier than the Brits... but that's another story, and it's too late to get into that!

The evening was a total sell out. It was literally standing room only. I brought Matt with me, and we sat on the front row.

The musical line-up for the evening was strings, piano, drums, bass and guitar, and all of the composers scored for different combinations of those instrumentalists. I think I was the most decadent with my song, Em, which used pretty much all the players. It's quite a rock number, which seemed to surprise people. Ben Mabberley performed it stunningly well - singing the high notes exquisitely well. And boy are they high notes!

Laura sang my other song, Warwickshire, which was scored for slightly smaller forces. It seemed to go down incredibly well. The woman sitting next to me, who didn't know me from Adam, suddenly burst into tears about half way through. Laura herself squeezed out a little tear right at the end... so beautifully timed.

I enjoyed every song in the line-up, but particular kudos has to go to Maltby and Donnelly for their new song about Victorian algorithmic pioneer, Ada Lovelace, which charged through the venue like a glorious piece of Steam Punk, and Dougal Irvine's thrusting songs from In Touch.

All in all, a wonderful night. We came home and watched Strictly on catch up, and was incredibly saddened by Anastacia revealing that she'd torn the inner scar tissue from her mastectomy. The poor woman looked devastated. Breast cancer is a big thing in my family, and I hate to think of anyone being reminded of the pain of their experience in that manner.

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