It was a welcome return to the Riverhead Theatre of the annual King Edward’s musical production. Unlike previous outings the school has put together a new production team “Really Not Bad Productions” which consists of Mrs Marritt; Mr Amey and Mr Lascelles.
Together the team brainstormed ideas for a show built around the Bugsy Malone 1930s Speakeasy concept. Mrs Marritt explained “we spent the end of the summer term discussing ideas, names for the show, characters, the stage set and looking for songs which we could then build a story around”. The team were united around a personal distaste of the word “review” or “cabaret” and wanted to create something unique. Mr Amey explained “once we had the songs it was then eaiser to begin to see a story flowing from them and the challenge was to write a script around them and to then orchestrate and write the score for the musicians in the band”. A huge amount of time and energy went into the orchestration and writing of the individual parts as well as the time spent by Mrs Marritt writing and amending the script; which continued to acquire additions right up until the first performance.
Deciding on the name was pretty crucial and there was much discussion about this with a variety of different ideas floating around initially. Mr Lascelles explained that “we kept coming back to Speakeasy and Slim Eddie there was just something about the name and the character that instantly brought the concept to life”. Working behind the scenes the production element required collaborating with the team at the Riverhead Theatre to get a set and lighting designed along with King Edward’s first outing using microphones to amplify the singers. Mr Lascelles pointed out that “without the passion, skills and enthusiasm of the team at the Riverhead the show wouldn’t have had that professional look and feel”.
Of course central to the entire show were the spectacular performances of the cast. Slim Eddie played by Max Henderson was the owner of the club and gave a flawless performance as a man torn between an old flame and the possibility of a future romance with Jonesy his partner and stage manager. Played by Izzy Bunten Jonesy is left to manage the audition process, get all of the acts on stage and deal with Eddie’s former flame Miss Fleur, played by Tilly Varrall, who arrives at the Speakeasy to audition for the lead spot and for Eddie’s heart. All three students gave not only a fantastic performance but perhaps more importantly showed strong leadership of the show and the cast as a whole.
Traditionally the King Edward’s musical has been a middle school and sixth form affair but this year Mrs Marritt was adamant that the show should showcase the breadth of talent and potential across the school: boy was she right! From the different acts, the dancers and performers, down to the bar staff and the on stage audience the children did themselves, their parents and the school proud. Finally, no show would be complete without a villain or villains and Silas Hand and Maddie McGlone did a brilliant job of playing a low key role and pulling of the trick of not dominating the scenes or the show thus providing the element of surprise in the final scenes as their criminal activities are exposed.
So onward to the next show…………now…..Les Miserables? Phantom? Jesus Christ Superstar anyone???