Tash’s ‘Threepenny Opera’ Blog 5 – “Life is so perplexing, that is why we find it tough!” (Song of Inadequecy)
Following a gloriously triumphant start to ‘The Threepenny Opera’ tour at the Nottingham Playhouse, this week saw us arriving at venue 2 of our travels…The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich. Hats off to our fabulous crew who finished the epic ‘get out’ in Nottingham at 4am on Sunday morning and packed all the gear off so that come Tuesday morning when the rest of us arrived we were ready to begin our second technical rehearsal of the tour.
With the two theatres differing so vastly it was intriguing to see how the show would adapt to this lovely and intimate space…well it did and it was great! Tuesday morning began with a sound check which ran incredibly smoothly…apart from TJ (Smith) not managing to sound check his 3 notes in ‘The Barbara Song’ on his clarinet! (We’ll do that first next time!) Following an instrumental theme, Sophie (Dolly) then provided us with a fantastic involuntary squeak in ‘Pirate Jenny’ only to blame it on the utterly innocent Sonia (Maisie)…Those crazy clarinets!! Thank goodness Ben (Jake) was on hand with his custom made ‘Threepenny Opera’ M&M’s to dissipate the situation!
With Tuesday’s technical rehearsals out of the way, we were ready for two shows the next day…and what a warm welcome from the Ipswich crowd! So, by the time Press Night rolled around on Thursday we were well into the swing of things…despite Stephen (Ned) managing to kick Joe (Bob) in the particulars during a rehearsal earlier that same day…ouch! The show, it has to be said, was fabulous with an electric energy from the company and a glorious reception from the audience at the end…probably spurred by Ben ‘photo bombing’ Graeae friend and patron Richard Wilson in the foyer during the pre show! So in true Wolsey style, we slung on our glad rags and trotted off to the theatre bar for a lovely feed and then on to ‘Arlington’s’ for a cheeky little party!
Saturday matinee was preceded by the first ‘touch tour’ of the run where visually impaired and blind audience members were able to meet a few of the cast and stage management and have some of the vital and more outrageous props and costumes audio described and have a feel. This included CiCi’s (Polly’s) wedding dress (the one with the death trap train!), Macheath’s cane and my (Lucy’s) baby bump.
For our first week in Ipswich, there was no shortage of ‘alternative show drama’. This began with ‘Schimmel’ the show horse acquiring her own Facebook account…followed by the cast birthdays of Garry (Mr Peachum) and Barbara (Betty) respectively…and these were marked in spectacular style by the culinary skills of Drew (Sound Dep) who began a love affair with the ‘AGA’ in his digs and produced two sensational birthday cakes…you can keep those coming! There was less good news for Martin (other half of the Sound Dep) however when Victoria (Mrs Peachum) ‘accidentally’ ate his lunch…thank goodness there were M&M’s and cake! On another food related note, Stacey (Nellie) and Barbara completed their highly disciplined detox and, come Press Night, were ready to celebrate in style! This is obviously what inspired John (Narrator) and Pickles (Matt) to seek out the ‘haute cuisine’ that was a ‘tray of meat’ for £4.50 at a local kebab shop…yum!
With a show of this magnitude I am constantly in awe of just how impressive it is. However, the experience is always enhanced by the on stage unforced ‘funnies’ that sometimes occur…and of course I do have a few to report. Firstly, on opening night, Jude was greeted with a sneaky little surprise in the whore house when a lamp shade flew in and rested on her head. This was aided by an exchange of dialogue between TJ (Walt) and Milton (Macheath) where the latter corrected the former on the pronunciation of ‘Faberge’ with the identical pronunciation that needed correcting in the first place…like this…Walt: “Faber-gay” Macheath: “Faber-gay”…great stuff! Meanwhile, Pickles managed to punch himself in the face with his gun, John decided to ‘cheer up’ the extremely solemn ‘Epitaph’ with an improvisatory bit of bell ringing, TJ (Smith) discovered a distinct femininity to his policeman and Stacey found a new resting place for her trumpet in the form of the Green Room! The chart topping blooper of the week however was from John who managed to relocate the ‘Coronation Procession’ to ‘Coronation Street’ which spurred Sophie to paint on her placard of protest ‘Ken Barlow for PM’…ingenious!
The week was rounded off perfectly by two tremendous shows on Saturday followed by a company trip to the sea side in Southwold on Sunday where Victoria managed to knock Amelia (Jenny) and CiCi off a stationary cannon! While some of the company were sunning themselves on the beach and splashing about in the sea, John was lazing in his hotel room donning his lime green mankini and having an absolute ball!
With that perfect image, I bid you farewell…until next week…Bye!
Natasha Lewis…aka…Lucy Brown.