Tasha’s 3p Opera Blog No 3 – “Here comes Macheath, a lethal kind of charmer….” (Song of Sexual Imperative)
“It screams belligerence and does so with glee” said The Stage…”A visual & musical feast” said Musical Theatre Review…5 Stars and “A show conceived with magnificence” said The Big Issue…that’s right folks, Tuesday night was Press Night and it was an exhilarating evening on all counts! From ‘Pre-Show’ to finale the atmosphere was electric and the audience response was delightful. I think that ‘Team Threepenny’ more than did justice to the piece, so inevitably a well- deserved ‘do’ was to follow! Having spent the previous 3 hours clad as whores and beggars it was glorious to see everyone don their glad rags and let their hair down to celebrate. (I would like to say that it was a tee total/early night affair but I would be fibbing….and we definitely didn’t end up in the Casino!!!)
In order to get to this point we did have a few comedic interludes to overcome. Our Tuesday morning notes session revealed that Moby (Company Manager) was so fond of the scaffolding set piece that he refused to let go of it when Joe Vetch and Stephen Collins (Policemen) tried to bring it on the stage…cue: awkward struggle…result: hysterical laughter in notes session (with tears) when this was announced from John Kelly (Narrator). Pete’s (co-director) response to this was “I’ll try to get him to play more nicely!” Gorgeous! This was teamed with the conundrum of how to begin ‘The Threepenny Opera’ following the Pre Show…after much deliberation the best system seemed to be…Moby (CSM) cues Stuart (DSM) who sends a green light to Joey (MD) who cues Sophie (Dolly) to tell John (Narrator) to get off stage and retrieve his jacket from Stacey (Nellie) who cues Barbara (Betty) to begin the drum roll which starts the show….wow, that was exhausting! You will be pleased to learn that we did find a simpler way!
Wednesday evening saw our first ‘post show discussion’ of the tour led by Giles Croft (Artistic Director of the Nottingham Playhouse) and it was a fascinating insight into the audience’s perception of our madness! It was wonderful to learn that our show was making people think in a different way and also sparked a riveting debate regarding our current social and economic climate…eloquently summed up by our sign interpreter Jude Mahon with “hang the bankers!!”…all in a Brechtian context of course!!! We did also welcome a new member of the clan, Vya who has joined our Access Team….wonderful to have you on board!
On a more serious note, Thursday morning saw many of the cast joining the Playhouse staff at the Nottinghamshire County Hall for a protest against the appalling 100% cut in funding for the theatre. This is a cause very close to our hearts with the Playhouse being a fabulous producing house that pioneers some incredible work. In true anarchic fashion, the company managed to keep the point strong but cheery with various musical jaunts, my personal favourite being a reworking of ‘Mack the Knife’ which incorporated the lyrics…”But you won’t see council funding, once they’ve slashed it, then it’s dead!” Inspired! So much so that Sophie Byrne (Dolly) broke her ‘Save the Playhouse’ placard with enthusiasm!
In other news, this week has been a treat for us in the sense of humorous mishaps which is one of the fantastic aspects of doing a long running show…Wed evening saw Milton Lopes (Macheath) sing his incredibly intense ‘Epitaph’ with a rogue piece of paper stuck to his foot while Stacey Ghent (Nellie) managed to ‘break music’ in the super slushy ‘Liebeslied’! Joe Vetch demonstrated a fine ‘RSC’ style bow in the Curtain Call…sadly it was wasted as it wasn’t his turn yet and Joey Hickman (Rev Kimball) managed to paraphrase his only line to perfection! On the theme of creative wording, Milton wins the prize for his alternative lyrics to the above mentioned ‘Epitaph’ with “I’ll follow you and I will follow you! CiCi Howells (Polly) closely followed suit with “Promise you’ll never look at another man…” Interesting, Shakespeare, watch your back! The weekend was one of sheer calamity when Pickles (Matthew) found himself colliding with Ben Goffe (Jake) in the ‘discreet exit’ and spectacularly stacking it on the floor…I must note that the execution of his recovery was something to behold! This was eagerly followed by me (Lucy) falling off a chair, tripping over my own heels (Bambi style) and then hitting myself in the head with a drum stick…must have been a full moon over Soho!
So it’s been a fabulous week with a fantastic sense of achievement laced with a cheeky dose of mischief…while Garry Robson (Mr Peachum) was having a whale of a time riding the trams of Nottingham, one Mr Ben Goffe was putting his IT skills to good use as he managed to break into my Facebook account and change my birthday from 18th August to 27th February…you can imagine my bewilderment when I had a barrage of ‘Many Happy Returns’ 6 months prior to my ‘21st’ celebrations!!?! Ben…revenge is nigh! (Thank you however to the company for a beautifully harmonious ‘Happy Bday’ in the vocal warm up…very funny!)
I have to say that I have learnt many things this week…the BSL sign for my home country ‘Guyana’ (courtesy of Stephen Collins), the meaning behind the ‘Hemline Economy’…”Women’s skirt lengths are correspondent to the economic climate” (courtesy of Joe Vetch) and “You have to leave some space in your face to act” (sound advice again from Joe Vetch!)…feeling enlightened, I thank you all! It’s been a sensational 7 days of fabulous shows and ridiculous mayhem and I hope you’ll tune in next week for more fun and games from ‘The Threepenny Opera’ Crew! Bye!!
Natasha Lewis…aka…Lucy Brown.