Full Circle from the Dress Circle
Posted by Stuart Brayson (Music) on 23/10/2013 @ 10:29hrs
Long time ago a cocky working class kid and would be David Bowie from Windy Nook (that's up in Geordieland), while hawking his demo around the London record companies with his band in tow, met Tim Rice outside the Piccadilly Hotel. Somehow a friendship began. Now all these years later the cocky kid has his name up in lights alongside the legendary lyricist. Who said dreams don't come true? Of course they take time. And in my case, it's been a long time a coming. A long haul. A very long haul. But I am one of the lucky ones. My name is Stuart Brayson, the unknown composer of From Here To Eternity.
Tonight as I sit in the dress circle I have to pinch myself because up on the stage of the majestic Shaftesbury Theatre a seed of a crazy idea I had in my little bedroom at my Mum's house, a musical of the James Jones classic novel, is being played out in front of my eyes in living breathing colour. I find it hard to describe my feelings to everyone who asks what it's like; must be amazing, you must be in seventh heaven etc. It is amazing, I am in seventh heaven, but most of all I feel very fortunate. Fortunate that Tim Rice stuck by me all these years and fought for me to be given this chance. I suppose it's full circle in the dress circle. And now I am just very proud to be a little part of this incredible production and would like to take this opportunity to thank every single person involved in From Here To Eternity from the bottom of my heart for working so damn hard and making my dream come true.
Yes, indeed, I am one of the lucky ones.
Keep Calm and Carry On!
Posted by Lee Menzies (Producer) on 22/10/2013 @ 09:00hrs
Last night there were some Pearl Harbor veterans watching the show. They loved and were moved by the production and are coming back on Thursday to see it again. That reaction makes it all worthwhile.
This week we welcome the family of the late James Jones, whose great novel we have adapted. Kaylie and Eyrna Jones also watched last night’s performance, James’ daughter and granddaughter respectively, who both told us how He would have massively approved of our production. We tell the story of these people, and we tell it well.
As the producer of a new show like this, part of my job is to balance the artistic and commercial demands of the creative team and my investors. It can sometimes feel like a losing battle, but you must never give up. The most useful contribution I can make is to keep calm and carry on, and make damned sure everyone else does the same.
As well as our Opening Night, another major event tomorrow is the christening of Prince George. We have a song in Eternity called The Boys of '41 so let us all send our good wishes to the boy of '13.
5, 6, 7, 8 - WAI-KI-KIIII!
Posted by Ryan Sampson (Private Angelo Maggio) on 21/10/2013 @ 12:46hrs
My eyes ping open and I flop from sleep to wake still mouthing the lyrics of our opening number. Like I did yesterday, and the day before that, and every day for the last three months now I think about it.
My name is Ryan and I am suffering from BIAMS: being in a musical syndrome. Symptoms include doing tiny dance steps while walking round Sainsbury's, singing weird bits of harmonies really loud on the way to work - people notice and pull their kids out of the way of me, I've stopped caring - and saying weird things like 'I can't tonight, I've got to look after my voice' - all in the hope that you might get it right for once and the MD won't look at you with that 'poor sod, he didn't know what he was signing up for' expression on his face.
I love this show, I really do, but by God it has kicked the living shit out of me. The other night I was so tired I mistakenly shouted one of my offstage lines in the voice of an elderly pensioner from Surrey. My character is from Brooklyn. It was an unusual moment.
However we're nearly there. It's nearly done. We've nearly got the finished product. All ill need to worry about is singing the right notes, making my salute not look like someone from Dad's Army (a particular affliction) and getting my pants off okay every night.
Only 2 more days of changes left. I settle into bed and feel myself slowly nodding off. Then, just as I fall into sleep...
5, 6, 7, 8,
* I get my bum out in this show. If that doesn't sell tickets I don't know what will. Mysteriously, they've not put it on the poster.
Collectively Hitting the Groove
Posted by Will Stuart (Associate Music Director & Keyboard) on 20/10/2013 @ 09:00hrs
Previews kick you when you’re down. At the end of a long day’s rehearsal, tired minds and bodies could really do with the comfort of performing something familiar. No such luck.
For the music department it’s often just a quick coffee, 30 minutes with the band to bring them up to speed with the day’s changes, and then off into the unknown once again: a number’s been cut, another added, a piece of underscore is twice as fast, and just as you’re expecting to settle into a rousing chorus, a new bridge begins.
So until a few days ago, the challenge for the musicians in the pit was to do the right thing at the right time; to make sure that your eye successfully navigated through the scribbles on your part telling you what to omit and what to repeat; to overrule muscle memory.
But now that the show will be the same from day to day, the challenge is different. A good show is no longer simply about making it to the end unscathed. It’s about collectively hitting the groove as soon as a number starts; it’s about being perfectly in sync with David (the conductor), so that we’re supporting the action on stage as closely as possible; it’s about making the music soar for a new audience at every performance.
As the singing starts in “G Company Blues” – the show’s opening number – the band kicks into a groove that grows and grows until the end of the song. When we get it right, heads start bouncing, we catch each other’s eyes across the pit, and you know it’s going to be a good show. The challenge, now, is to make that happen every night.
Entering the next exciting phase
Posted by Siubhan Harrison (Lorene) on 19/10/2013 @ 09:00hrs
As press night looms ever closer the pressure is on. There is a company of anxious actors, obsessively steaming, drinking soothing ginger tea, swapping stories of lack of sleep or aches and pains, girls panicking to find the perfect opening night dress, and the creative team holding us together never complaining about the stress and sleep deprivation they are under. Rehearsals continue during the day, sometimes for big number changes, at times smaller alterations, a shift of focus, a line cut, a music snip, a lyric change and these are the hardest notes to undertake. We no longer have the luxury of time, changes come in fast, occasionally in the rehearsal call, every now and then in the detailed daily 'love letters' from our director, Tamara, and we take on the responsibility of implementing them that evening. On occasion they completely transform the scene or help important moments land clearly. Now and again they don't work first time, forcing you to hide the terror flashing through your eyes in front of a full house as you have no idea how to get yourself out of the hole of missing the harmony or forgetting the new line. But you find your way out, put it behind you and focus harder in the next scene hoping that the seemingly endless red faced moment is swiftly forgotten by all. You either get 'the fear' of the changes or you embrace the evolution of the preview process and trust the fact that every audience laugh, murmur or sob has been analysed and evaluated by our creative and production team and the little tweaks we are given are to make sure we tell the best and clearest version of our story.
The other day we had a press call, where we invited goodness knows how many flashing bulbs and red lights of video cameras into our theatre to capture moments of the show for publicity. We tried our hardest to recreate these moments as truthfully as we do of an evening whilst making sure we were smiling in the right direction, holding bits in, and trying not to look too awkward. As we held army formations and hula-ed towards the faceless flashing auditorium, I felt another rush of excitement and gratitude to be involved in this show as we enter the next exciting phase.
As a way of life, it is mind-blowingly unique...
Posted by Gareth Johnson (General Manager) on 18/10/2013 @ 16:27hrs
8 years on from attending a meeting with Tim and Lee about the show when all that existed was Stuart’s fabulous music, and here we are about to open.
In the interim an entire creative team has been engaged, a cast chosen, all the various departments have been staffed, and a Theatre found. The necessary money has been raised, so now we have more than 200 people fully focussed on our opening next week.
No day is long enough in the endless handling of budget, marketing, contracts, scheduling, but the pleasure in seeing the Preview in the evening and witnessing the changes worked in and the exciting audience response. As a way of life, it is mind-blowingly unique - Previews are the most tense and exciting period but in just over a week another phase of the real work starts: the routine of eight fresh and exciting performances for audiences that could be over ten thousand each week.
Hello from lighting...
Posted by Bruno Poet (Lighting Designer) on 17/10/2013 @ 16:13hrs
In the mornings we have time to refine technical details without the cast on stage. Tamara often has notes from the night before for us to work through, and I normally have a long list of things to discuss with my team. It's normally a combination of tiny small adjustments from anywhere in the show, and more detailed work on particular scenes. We often ask the stage managers to stand in for the actors, so we can judge how the lights look - very dull for them, but it makes a huge difference - It's almost impossible to light an empty stage. (and we enjoy watching them act out scenes. The Pearl Harbor attack performed by John, George, Annique and Georgia in place of a cast of 30 is worth paying good money to see.)
Yesterday we spent all morning on "Pearl Harbor- timing lights, sound, projection and smoke with the music. Tiny changes can make a huge difference - for example extending a sound cue by 0.7 seconds connected it better to a lighting effect and action on stage. Many seemingly imperceptible changes like this add up to a tighter show. This morning we have been working through the music of a dance number bar by bar, refining how lighting shifts can connect closely to the music and punctuate the action. We work closely with Patrick, the Deputy Stage Manager to refine cue points for lighting changes. There are over 500 cues in the show, and Patrick (the voice you hear Front of House telling you to take your seats) calls every lighting and technical cue precisely to the music or the action.
In the afternoons we have the cast onstage and light over their rehearsals. Any changes to the text, music or staging has implications for lighting. And it is a good opportunity to make lighting adjustments with the real people on stage.
Each night I watch the show from different places - back of the stalls, side of the circle, back of the gods. I'm very happy with the look of most of the show, but on a show of this complexity lighting needs to focus on the action like the camera's lens on a film. I need to be sure that the people at the back of the theatre can follow the story as clearly as those at the front. It's sometimes a tricky balance to maintain the beauty of a scene while still picking up the details of performance that allow the audience to connect to the characters. At times we choose to make the lighting really stylised with big dramatic statements. At others it's about setting a look for a scene, but really focussing on main characters. Much of this is done using followspots, operated by Richard and Kirk, who are with us in rehearsals every day, and are managing their complicated plot brilliantly. Followspot operators (like stage management ) are unsung heroes of a performance, when they do their job well, nobody notices they are even there, but done badly, any moment of the show can be ruined (no pressure guys...)
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER.. LASH!
Posted by Kirby Hughes (New Congress Club Girl) on 16/10/2013 @ 10:17hrs
"Hang on in there kids, morning off tomorrow.." emails our fabulous Company Manager, Howard. Music to our ears, our first sleep-in in a while! My life at the moment is eagerly awaiting Howard's emails each evening, letting us know what we will all be doing each day. The last few days we have been rehearsing the new ending for Act One which went in the show for the first time last night. It had a lovely response but there is always a fear when you do a new change as you are thinking "is this right? Am I in the right place? What version of the song is this? Am I singing the right lyrics?" It's like first night nerves with every new change, giving you a great adrenaline rush.
In our dressing room, before we go down to the stage, we do a check list of all the new changes and notes for each number. We also check little things like reminding each other to put our jewellery on! I love the era the show is set in. I adore my dresses, make-up, wigs and shoes (especially the ones with pom poms on them!) Some of us even got new dresses last night which was lovely.
There is such a great company morale, we are one big family and I don't think I have ever laughed so much during a rehearsal/preview period. A very healthy balance of hard work and banter!
I also understudy Karen so not only do I have to keep up with my changes, I also have to watch and learn Karen's line and song changes. This can be quite tricky if you are on stage with them at the same time or you are doing a quick change whilst they are on stage performing.
We haven't started understudy rehearsals yet but I tried on my cover Karen costumes the other day and had a dialect coach session.
Everyone in the cast has had private dialect coaching sessions to make our American accents as authentic as possible. It's quite a feat as we are a multi-cultural/multi-accented cast!
What's on the call today…. filming some sections for TV and having press photos taken, then the show tonight. Better make sure nails are painted and that lashes, wigs and red lips are perfect!
A Voyage of Discovery
Posted by Jonathan Hall (Props Supervisor) on 15/10/2013 @ 09:00hrs
Previews can often be a busy time from a props point of view. It is the first time that the props and furniture get close to the strains of a normal performance week. It is not only the wear and tear they sustain on stage but the way that they need to work offstage for both storage and running purposes. Often changes are made that the audience wouldn't necessarily notice, but mean that it is either easier backstage or will extend the life of the object.
As well as taking that into account we have to keep up with changes that are happening to the show. Sometimes this can involve altering props as there use has changed, or in some cases we would have to provide completely new items if extra songs or scenes are added. Quite often, what happens is that things are cut as it becomes clear that they are not needed to tell the story. We have become immune to the fact that things can get cut, as it is not always because of what we have provided.
There is often a "problem prop" that requires lots of alteration or work in order to satisfy everybody, whether it's the actor, designer, director or choreographer. It can sometimes feel as though what ever you do someone will never be completely happy. For the most part you can often find a solution, but it can sometimes be a long and frustrating process throughout previews if it happens.... We seem to be on a voyage of discovery with a device to make an actor wee on the floor during the show. There have certainly been some funny moments and conversations during this production period, but I feel the end is in sight.
Feeling that adrenalin kick...
Posted by Matthew Wesley (Swing/Dance Captain) on 14/10/2013 @ 17:05hrs
Going into our last proper week of previews I am excited for rehearsal today as we are rehearsing a brand new number to go in tomorrow at the end of Act 1, which I feel will improve the first act and give it a proper end!
As a swing, previews can be very stressful due to the fact that you could get put on stage at any point, which happened to me last Tuesday for one of my 2nd covers! I loved going on as I get a kick from the adrenaline and it was great to become a proper member of G Company.
Swings are on the show to cover the ensemble - for instance if a boy goes off injured mid-show, is on holiday or is on covering a principal part, then us swings go in and take their part. It can be quite scary at first as most of the time everyone does different choreography and there are lots of scene changes that you need to remember if you are doing or not - the majority of the stuff you are doing on stage for the first time! When I am not performing I sit out front in the audience and note any mistakes or any ideas where things could be improved. I always have my mobile phone with me just in case anything happens mid-show and the company manager needs to get in touch with me.
Handing over ‘our’ baby
Posted by Bill Oakes (Book Writer) on 12/10/2013 @ 09:00hrs
After such a long gestation period, the idea of 'real people' coming in to watch 'our baby' every night caused me, at first, some trepidation... What on earth are all these people doing in our theatre? was my initial response, peeking out from backstage on our opening preview. Now it's entirely commonplace of course and I've got used to their presence and have come to notice - and appreciate - every little murmur and shifting in the seats. I say 'appreciate' because it is really invaluable for a writer - along with everybody else - to have this preview period. Laughter and applause are wonderful tonics but they can also give you a false sense of security. My duty, every night, is to check out what's happening in-between - the sometimes tiny shifts of tone and nuance, in the words themselves and their delivery, that can make a difference to the telling of our tale. It's gratifying to witness our audiences getting drawn into the drama - and illuminating to see where we still have some tweaks to make. Four years ago I turned in my first draft of the script to the producers, and six months later Tamara came on board to direct. She and I have been working together ever since and now, one week from today our show will be 'locked' - something that has always seemed so far off and is now just around the corner. The next seven days will be pivotal. And provocative. And pressurized. And many more p words besides. Perhaps - most of all - poignant.
The fight call
Posted by Kate Waters (Fight Director) on 11/10/2013 @ 14:02hrs
Previews can be a frantic period - changes are happening on a daily basis and the cast are having to absorb a huge amount of information.
If I am not needed in rehearsal during the day, I take the fight call, which happens at 6.30 every day. This is an official call, during which the actors run through all the fights on stage before the show. It is sometimes my only chance to see and work with the actors during previews, unless there are any major changes. It is an important twenty minutes. I use it to reconnect with the cast and to give them any notes resulting from the previous evening’s performance. It is a fine balancing act to judge - I have to ascertain the morale of the group, try not to overload them with too many notes, give them plenty of encouragement, but most importantly try to adjust things that did not quite work the previous evening, so that I do not see the same mistakes. This could be anything from: the angle of the headbutt was slightly out, the punch went too far through, more attack on those body blows, bend your knees when you deliver that stomach punch...and so on! This show has five fights and most of them are big numbers, so I always have to be prepared for the fight call and give the actors specific things to think about for the coming show. I am lucky in that the cast do respond quickly to my notes and adjustments, and are very willing to give anything a go.
One problem I have been having is to create a knap which can be heard over a fifteen piece orchestra.
A knap is a sound that is made to give the illusion that contact has been made – for example, when there is a punch to the face. Usually the actor makes the sound himself as he executes the move, by clapping or hitting parts of his body. The importance of a knap cannot be over-estimated - the audience really react to the sound. I have tried everything - knaps onstage, knaps off stage into a mic and an off-stage slapstick, which although it was the loudest sound was too thin. Tamara was not happy with it, and I was running out of ideas. So I asked our sound designer Mick if he could help. I think we may have come up with a solution - I do not want to give it away – but fingers crossed for tonight’s show!
Posted by Rebecca Thornhill (Karen) on 10/10/2013 @ 14:23hrs
I love change, I am a Gemini after all! So I haven't been disappointed in these last few months as it has been constant change. It has been a real test for the old grey matter learning and re-learning and such fun exploring new scenes, which also included a lot of tangerine throwing and word games. Bless my leading man for taking everything that was thrown at him!
Previews have been interesting finally getting that all important audience reaction and making sure to get the story across. We moved a few musical numbers last night and they seemed to fit in like an old glove. We also had a new arrangement of one of my songs that went in last night written by the amazing David White and executed beautifully by our fine orchestra. And to add, I had my parents and a few old friends in, just to keep me extra alert! But I find myself at a loss today as I have no rehearsals, so I shall be feeding my face and storing up my energy for the next few weeks ahead. Roll on tonight!
Fine tuning the show
Posted by Mick Potter (Sound Designer) on 09/10/2013 @ 14:16hrs
It's the second week of previews and we are all still very busy working on changes and fine tuning the show. Technical departments are in with Tamara from ten in the morning working on programming and technical changes without the actors. In the afternoon the actors join and we work on changes with the cast on stage in their microphones and rehearsal piano. Then just before the show in the evening we have a short call with the orchestra so they can play any new parts and David can do notes. It's only finally during the evening preview that all these changes come together in the show. So, for the sound department, the evening preview is actually the most important part of the daily rehearsal process. After a busy day it's when we get to finally put all the elements together for the first time.
Just a few uniforms and dresses...
Posted by Suz Hogg (Head of Wardrobe) on 08/10/2013 @ 14:00hrs
When I started working on From Here to Eternity I was told it would just be “a few uniforms and dresses”. In essence this is true, however as the production grew, the number of costumes grew and the realisation of maintaining this for an onstage cast of 31 turned out to be colossal.
Walking through the door in the morning I get straight into clearing up the aftermath of last night’s show. Eight loads of laundry a day need to be washed and dried ready for early afternoon when more of my troop arrive. With military precision they then have to press, steam or sort approximately 300 items of costumes every day.
The rehearsals of the show continue throughout the day and I get daily notes of changes required. Every day we need to mend and adapt the costumes to suit these changes as well as maintaining them. By 6pm the wardrobe team have managed to fix, clean and press all the costumes and have them ready and waiting for the actors. Some may think that our day ends there. The truth however is only half our job is done. My team often see the smooth running of the show backstage ensuring everybody is wearing the right thing at the right time.
Would I have taken this job if I had known I would spend my last hour of every night elbow deep in soapy water trying to get fake blood out of costumes? Of course I would! There have been ups and downs throughout this rollercoaster journey and every day brings a new challenge. I do not know what tomorrow will bring but I will be here nonetheless, ready and with a smile on my face.
Javier's thoughts on the week ahead
Posted by Javier de Frutos (Choreographer) on 07/10/2013 @ 10:52hrs
When we started the process of previews, I told the cast after the many weeks of rehearsals and preparation, that the truly un-rehearsed part of a show is the audience. Added to that, this is a world premiere of a brand new musical and I assure you that nothing prepares you for the anticipation of hearing responses night after night and change after change. I will say that when the show arrives onstage, the audience becomes part of the creative team.
For every movement, transition or sometimes a full new number, comes quite a hectic amount of very pragmatic hours, and this week for instance exchanging one number for another (the current one is fun, but the next one is better! Simple as that) means that the cast is in tech and rehearsal for the new one during the day and performing the old one in the evenings!
It is going to be a serious rollercoaster this week and I know we are heading in the right direction, but movement is much harder to learn than text... I remind that to our team and producers day after day, but sometimes they can't help them themselves and become children in the back seat of a car repeatedly asking: are we there yet?! ALMOST!
Yesterday's first two-show
Posted by John Caswell (Stage Manager) on 06/10/2013 @ 09:00hrs
Finding myself at a loose end on Saturday morning with no rehearsals, or fine tuning. I slip through stage door at 11am. It's strangely quiet, after the intense tech period, so I sneak onto stage and start my pre-show checks at my own pace. There are plenty of things to do. Checking the harnesses, which are used in 2 scenes, and the snatch lines from Pearl Harbor are just a couple. There are also some notes, from the previous night's show, that have to be investigated. This morning, it is stopping light leaks on stage.
At around midday, the show crew and remainder of stage management come in and start the main reset. Rebuilding the offstage mayhem into something more manageable. It's akin to tidying a toddler's bedroom. This finishes at 1:00 when warm up starts and our derelict set is taken over by bouncy enthusiasm. Dance, sing, fight. An hour later it's quiet again. Myself and the rest of stage management do a final bit of preset, before handing over to front of house. Two shows? Easy.
Friday night, preview 5
Posted by Andy Massey (Associate Music Director) on 05/10/2013 @ 09:00hrs
Friday night, preview 5, expectant audience and green light says 'GO'. Gulp.....
Conducting early previews on any new show creates a mixture of excitement and fear, what's round the corner is still very much a discovery. Changes being rehearsed in the day, noted to the band in short calls prior to the show need to be negotiated and muscle and musical memory of old versions ignored. Still, with a wonderful group of musicians in the pit one treads bravely forth.
Can I feel the amazing director, musical supervisor and choreographer all breathing down my neck? Yes, in a good way - full of support for everything that works and carefully noting what needs to be adjusted. The audience too seem very close indeed and it's obvious throughout that they're truly wrapped up in the story. As the show starts to find its rhythm, it's great to hear laughter at things we've grown used to and visible emotion on the front row towards the end tells us we are on the right track.
So, Saturday morning off and into the first 2 show day today. Not long at all till the green light says go....
Another day, another change...
Posted by Marc Antolin (Private Clark) on 04/10/2013 @ 14:00hrs
I don't even know what number preview we just did. The last few days have all been rolled into one and we've had so many different versions of songs, scenes, costume changes, entrances and exits thrown at us I just about know what show we're doing. Would I change the experience? No.
I love previews of a new show. You get the excitement of rehearsing in the afternoon, making changes and then sometimes putting those changes into the show that night with having rehearsed them only once...twice if you're really lucky.
On Wednesday night we had a new ending of the opening number and during the show it didn't quite go as rehearsed as we were all so nervous about it. We re-rehearsed it yesterday and in last night's preview we managed to put the new choreography, to the new orchestration, to the new timing of the ending for 'G Company Blues'. It was only a slight adjustment but when you're thinking of all your other notes and changes, that slight adjustment can feel very challenging indeed.
Us boys of 'G Company' have become like brothers and at the top of the show we have started a ritual of a group huddle on the stage. This helps us focus and check in with our comrades before we throw ourselves (sometimes literally) into this process of creating an exciting and innovative piece of theatre that no one has ever seen before.
Previews are such an interesting time...
Posted by Stephen Whitson (Associate Director) on 03/10/2013 @ 15:30hrs
We'd been holed up in a bunker in East London looking at the show in intricate detail for such a long time and then we turned the show over to the technical departments in the theatre and our work schedule was dictated by their requirements. Suddenly we have time to breathe and consider the show as a whole again and share it with people who haven't been part of our process. As changes are considered and numbers tightened up, a whole new show emerges and necessary work becomes apparent. Some extraordinary moments also begin to emerge which land with more ferociousness and clarity every night. I spend a lot of the day distributing notes to the cast and technical departments - even the smallest change in the script or a piece of staging requires me to run around the theatre telling each and every department so that we are all on the same page. In the evening I sit in the auditorium and listen to the audience, their reactions and how they relate to our intentions. I also have to take note of anything that happens that isn't in keeping with the structure or requirements of the show. A special mention must go to our composer, Stuart Brayson, who is like a kid at Christmas every night and brings a real sense of how unusual and special an event it is to bring a new musical to the West End - he keeps us all in good spirits and lifted when the tasks in front of us seem insurmountable, reminding us that nothing is impossible and identifying our successes.
Second previews are always a slightly curious experience
Posted by Tamara Harvey(Director) on 02/10/2013 @ 09:00hrs
The terror of the opening preview has subsided, to be replaced by a quiet panic that in fact it was all a fluke and the show will fall apart if you try to do it a second time. It didn't of course, because our company are amazing (actors, musicians, stage management, sound, lighting, the list goes on). So, our task this morning is to work on different possible versions of one of the final moments in the show, which has the potential to be extraordinary. If it's to work, it has to be a perfect marriage of story, song, lighting, sound and set. We just had a very exciting moment at the lighting desk when Bruno (lighting designer), Javier (choreographer) and I had an additional idea that we're going to try and rehearse in this afternoon in the hope we can see it in the show this evening. Complicated by the fact that we have the orchestra with us from 2.30pm so we have to balance the onstage needs with the musical needs but we might just manage it...