We’re just a week away from the start of rehearsals for #DialM for Murgatroyd.
This year Eastern Angles trip into wonderful seasonal sillyness is being guided by the masterful hands of Julian Harries and Pat Whymark – who need little or no introduction. That said my introduction to Julian was bizarrely through a book. I’d just been appointed as General Manager to EA 18 months ago and happened to be reading a book on understudying McKellen during the seemingly never ending RSC tour of Lear when I came across this..
‘Slowly getting to know more of the company. Julian Harries, a big serious looking fellow who plays Albany and understudies Kent, in his own Christmas play at some small theatre in East Anglia. At the end of each rehearsal he tears across London on a push bike to catch his train from Liverpool Street’ (1)
Some small theatre indeed! Was rather glad to find that David Weston (the understudy in question) never got on.
Anyway moving on. I grabbed a moment after a recent production meeting at the SJM to talk to Julian about Dial M for Murgatroyd….
As he mentioned joining Julian on stage are three new comers to Eastern Angles. First up is Samuel Martin who will be familiar with the style of our Christmas shows through his work with our friends at Shanty Theatre. Look out for Sam’s virtuoso violin playing!
Talking of musicality we’re spoilt for choice this year. Joining Sam and Julian in the cast are Emma Finlay and Deborah Hewitt. Emma is an actress, jazz singer and vocal coach (though I don’t fancy her chances with my tone deaf voice!) you can check out her jazz style on her my space here. Emma will be giving us her Lady Violet Fitzall!
Deborah Hewitt plays percussion, drums, piano and violin – I bet if I brought in my (unplayed) ukulele she’d play that to! A former Disney Young Musician of the Year she’s been seen in shows like Dreamboats and Petticoats, Return to the Forbidden Planet, Billy Elliot and Animal Farm.
Last but by no means least we are really excited to welcome back local actor and writer Pat Marlowe who audiences with long memories will remember from Pirates of Pin Mill. I rather enjoyed the fact that Pat’s own biog suggests his ‘most repeated TV appearance was in the crowd at Lords in 1999 when Daren Gough took a catch right in front of my friend Adrian and me’. I’ve a horrid suspicion the event he is referring to took place in 2000 but that wont stop me being suitably jealous….
‘Gough, who was fielding at third man, sped to his right and threw himself, arms thrust forward, at the ball. Marvellously, as he rolled over, he clung on before springing to his feet and giving a sort of “nope, I don’t believe it either” look to the crowd and camera. It was a stunning catch’ (2)
I for one – will be looking for Pat to emulate the Gough catch at some point in Dial M – ‘thrust forward, roll over, cling on and spring to your feet giving a sort of ‘nope I don’t believe it either’ look’ sounds like a pretty cool stage direction for a show like #dialm to me!
Dial M for Murgatroyd opens on 29th November. It runs at the Sir John Mills Theatre until Sat 12 January before transferring to the Seckford Theatre (15 Jan-26 Jan) and Peterborough Key Theatre (29 Jan-3 Feb). Miss Murgatroyd – she eats crooks for breakfast and cakes for tea! Tickets and other information from here.
(1) Covering McKellen – An Understudies Tale by David Weston pub by Rickshaw 2011
(2) Talking Cricket – Gough’s brilliant catch was the moment of the match. Written by Mark Nicholas for the Daily Telegraph. Read the full article here Wisden (by the way) put it down to a ‘stroke of luck’
Other #dialm posts
other Agathe Christie lampooning (including the wonderful Monty Python Railway Timetable sketch) – see here