Hello you gorgeous lot you!
Over the next six weeks I will endeavor to bring you a sneaky peek of what’s happening in rehearsals and introduce the cast and crew of Spamalot. Our fearless Herd Leaders, Alex Hinton and Lisa Lowarch have high expectations and we intend to meet them, in what will be an amazing production of Spamalot!
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Rehearsals are now up to three days a week. The songs have been learnt, the five-part harmonies are sounding beautiful and the dance routines set. So now we are on ‘clean up’.
I can honestly say I’ve never worked with a group of people who are all so focused and caring. Rehearsals are hard work, but getting to see it all come together is so satisfying.
This week seems to have sped by.
Monday saw us put through our paces and gave me a few chuckles during our vocal warm up with Chris Lewis.
If you can picture us all split into our vocal ranges sitting in a semi-circle our eyes trained on Chris. It’s serious, we’re making our words sharper, the harmonies stronger and then…
Matt: Can I have a “woo” after that bit?
Heads swing in Matt’s direction. The room is silent…we all glance back to Chris.
Chris: You personally?
The room erupts in laughter before we carry on.
After repeating the same lyrics Chris wants us to focus on one word, make it sharper. So he has us practice it, the only problem being that we all kept carrying on. Each time we did it again a few would still forget to stop.
Chris: So who’s going to carry on?
He looked at each of us, his eyebrows raised, hands resting on the keyboard. We all shook our heads…it’s just one word. We can do this.
Chris counts us in and we sing the one word…and stop as Matt carries on singing: “A Royal…” We are all tittering amongst ourselves as Chris looks at Matt and say’s “Woo?”
The whole rooms breaks into laughter and is called into order so that we can get through the next song.
Wednesday’s rehearsal was spent on Knights of the round table. So myself Laura, Ellie and Chloe went to rehearse our bits in the only space left…the ladies bathroom. One issue that arose was that Laura cannot shimmy. After a few goes it was clear that Laura’s hips and shoulders could only wiggle at the same time. We needed a more hands on approach.
I wrapped my arms around Laura’s waist and gripped her hips. Chloe and Ellie took a shoulder each and we began to make her shimmy, slowly.
At this point I can say I am very relieved that no one walked in during this. And though it helped, Laura still kept using her hips. At this point I didn’t know what else to do so I…slapped her backside (I was gentle) each time her hips wiggled. It’s not something I’d normally recommend, but it worked. Laura can now shimmy, Yay! It’s been brought to my attention that another cast member, Theo, is also struggling with the shimmy…I wonder if the same approach will work for him?
Friday night was a special night, with a special person – A Master Class with Graham Newell, who is a West End performer and Spamalot cast Member.
We met at the Theatre Severn Dance studio and were put through our paces. It was an amazing night. We performed and Graham gave us valuable feedback on every aspect of the performance, followed by a fab Q&A session afterwards. I know that the cast are very thankful to Alex and Lisa for arranging this fantastic experience and for Graham who was just down right brilliant.
Meet the Cast!
Up first is Ryan Brown. (My husband.)
He is playing the part of Patsy in Spamalot.
“And now for something completely different…” Following the sold out run of Hairspray, itself a sharp change of tone for Mad Cow, the decision to perform Spamalot as their next musical was met by epic joy….and a domestic.
You see, I had already agreed with my wife (also the amazing author of this blog) that I would not take any part in the next one, giving her the opportunity to get back onstage and strut her funky stuff.
Then they announced Spamalot.
So, we flew Ban Ki Moon in to mediate peace talks and, with the help of UN Peace Keeping Forces (AKA babysitters), we figured out a way we could do it together.
This is just a small example of the huge amount of blood, sweat and tears that goes into a Mad Cow show, so come along, bring your friends and be prepared to watch something spectacular!
Next up is the wonderful Sian Archer!
I am one of the Laker Girls (dancer) in Spamalot and have been given the name of Leader Laker by our lovely Lady of the Lake Natalie. As well as being a dancer I have choreographed a few numbers for Spamalot including tap dancing knights and can can girls.
I have been dancing since the age of three, starting with ballet and continued to dance as a child in after school classes and weekend classes. Then at 16 when I finished school I went to Kate Simmons Dance Ltd in Warrington. Then I found tap shoes! Whilst at college I gained my dance teaching qualifications with the ISTD (Imperial Society of Teacher of Dancing). The aim was to become a professional dancer in the West End/ Cruise ship but after endless amounts of auditions I decided to go into dance teaching and I have never looked back.
I teach Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary and Tap to all ages and abilities, even adults (including a number of the Spamalot cast who join me for a tap class once a week). I teach classes at Topaz in Shrewsbury.
I have many favourite moments and there are probably many more to come, but my favourite moment is during a rehearsal for ‘His Name is Lancelot’ and being the only female in the room at the time with about 10 males all dancing extremely camply and really enjoying it #awkward but extremely funny.
The stunning Ellie Giblin!
This is my second show with Mad Cow after I joined for Hairspray last year. Having never seen Spamalot (or any Monty Python for that matter), I was not quite sure what to expect but as soon as we started rehearsing, it was obvious that the show is unlike anything I have been involved with before. There are so many laugh out loud moments, it will be very hard to keep a straight face on stage.
A favourite moment for me is number ‘How to Succeed on Broadway’ when I get to dance the infamous Jewish bottle dance (whilst balancing a holy grail on my head) and generally prance about being silly.
Outside of Mad Cow, I am currently training for Strictly 9 to 5, a Strictly Come Dancing style completion where legal professionals train with a professional dancer and then compete against each other for the infamous glitter ball trophy. Being a massive fan of all things dance and all things strictly, I jumped at the chance to be involved and am thoroughly enjoying learning the style that I have been given, the Rumba. The night is compered by Anton Du Beke from the BBC show which makes it all the more exciting, watch this space for selfies with Anton!
And last but not least for this week….Theo Millward!
Playing: Historian, Not Dead Fred, First Minstrel, Prince Herbert
Member of MCP: 4 years, 5 productions.
Bit about me: 30 years old, living in Shrewsbury. Loves animals, especially Chickens (not like that), food, music and of course, Theatre.
Favourite Moments of Spamalot: The show is genuinely hilarious from start to finish but as someone who loves classic broadway shows, my personal favourite moment is ‘Knights of the Round Table’. It is a brilliant, big broadway number. It’s fantastic.
Favourite Moment of Rehearsal: One of my characters, Prince Herbert, is a little bit camp. Just a bit. During one of his scenes, Director Alex Hinton, had to tell a fellow cast member playing opposite me that I did in fact have a girlfriend and he shouldn’t be concerned with the extent of my campness. I consider this nothing short of a personal victory and one I shall treasure forever.
A huge thank you to our wonderful Sponsors!
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Thank you for taking the time to have a read and supporting us, hope to see you soon!