On Friday night, I headed down to Islington to see A's latest project, Once We Lived Here, at the King's Head Theatre. It's a new Australian musical that's been highly successful Down Under, and I couldn't wait to see it come to life in north London.
It was the press night, so the theatre was packed out with notebook-toting critics buzzing about the play, and was getting pretty warm. What's more, I was pleased to discover sand underfoot as I walked towards my seat. All perfect for conjuring up the arid atmosphere of the Outback.
A has been in rehearsals for weeks for the show, but had been keeping the narrative and musical content of the show largely secret from me so I could judge it for myself when I came to see it.
The musical is set in the dusty scrubland of Victoria, on an unyielding farm by the name of Emoh Ruo (yep, 'Our Home' spelled backwards!) It's a very different setting to what the average theatregoer might expect, and one which I particularly liked. The rough premise is that three siblings, close during childhood but estranged now that they're in their twenties and early thirties, reunite somewhat awkwardly on the farm after several years. Multiple relationship dramas play out through the course of the musical, which is brilliantly unified with a memorable score and some truly catchy songs. I especially liked the opening number, All Roads Lead To Home.
I also thought that the set was genius. I won't spoil the show for potential theatregoers by revealing what the designers did with it, but I just want to say that I loved the way they handled the roof scenes! It's also extremely impressive given the limited space the designers had to work with. For those unfamiliar with the King's Head Theatre, it's a tiny fringe venue at the back of a pub on Upper Street. It's probably got fewer than 100 seats (so even at capacity that's hardly enough for each show to break even) and therefore needs all the patronage it can get to stay afloat. Friday was full, but I've heard that the shows since have been patchy in terms of attendance, which is pretty saddening. If you've got a spare evening between now and the 26th, definitely go and see the show!
After the show I was lucky enough to be allowed to stay for the opening night party, filled with glasses of champagne and lots of thank yous to the company. I was able to meet the cast, all of whom were ridiculously lovely, the composer and director, and the show designers. I've done lots of work producing my own shows on the theatre scene in Cambridge, but it's quite different - and exciting - to be able to chat to professionals who actually do it for a living. (Except A, of course. He doesn't count. :P)
Well done to the entire company for a stunning show. I thought it was great, and wish you all the best of luck with the rest of the run!
And here's a couple of shots of A in full Musical Director mode looking cute. Just because. *Proud girlfriend face*
Credits for all rehearsal photographs go to Andreas Grieger and Christopher Tribble.