Last week I had the privilege of going back to my old school, Hurstpierpoint College, to lead their production of Cabaret. I always have a fantastic time going back into the pit to play for them, seeing the music staff and freaking out at how all the younger kids I knew while I was there are now 6ft tall, grown adults! I wanted to briefly reflect on this production.
It was certainly ambitious on the costume front, having to make this racy musical appropriate for younger audiences and of course parents, but Hurst pulled it off with style as they always do!
This cast was, in all, pretty fantastic. My personal favourites were the disinterested ‘working girls’ who did pretty much the whole show, every dance routine and song, with little more than a grimace on their face. This worked very well comedically and added to the overall atmosphere of the play in a big way.
It was a delight to see Peter Firth playing The Emcee. A flamboyant, over the top, hysterical character. He played it differently and perhaps even more enthusiastically every night and there were many laugh out loud moments including the brilliant ‘Two Ladies’ and ‘If you could see her through my eyes’ numbers.
Of course, there were many other charming performances from pupils who I’ve known a long time and who I’ve even played opposite in previous productions myself. Also some great work from pupils I don’t know at all. However, it is such a joy watching every one of them enjoy the experience. You can tell from their offstage giggling and the general high energy that, although they are under a lot of pressure with academics and exams, they are still there because they WANT to be, because they love it!
Special thanks to Nicholas Beeby (Director) and Neil Matthews (MD) for collaborating so seamlessly again for their 10th year! The massive challenge these musicals present wouldn’t be anywhere near so slick without their endless dedication, patience and wisdom. Thank you for having me back once again, I feel very lucky to be asked back and have a huge amount of gratitude to the staff at this school who inspired me and encouraged me to follow the path I wanted to take and told me not to be scared of the industry. If you work hard enough you will get results and they certainly taught me that.
Take care everyone