Lowestoft: Cramped Conditions and More Understudies

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I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tough week in Lowestoft. In contrast to the vast amounts of space we had at our disposal last week in Southampton, this weeks theatre was very small backstage. The wing space was so small that we even had to cut the dodgems so that we could fit the rest of the set and props in! In fact even in my digs I had a tiny bedroom as there was just enough floor space for the bed and my suitcase. It was nice and cosy although by the end of the week I was starting to feel a little bit like Harry Potter locked up in the cupboard under the stairs!

Back to the theatre and in the dressing rooms it was similar story. In my particular dressing room we had seven guys in there trying to fit into the space of an average size bedroom. The conditions were hardly ideal but thankfully we made it through week without going crazy…well mostly. In some ways it was nice to be all in the same room again as usually the only time we all see and talk to each other is when we’re on stage together.

It’s certainly been a challenge fitting into a small theatre but it certainly paid off considering the audiences we’ve had in Lowestoft. In fact we were selling so many tickets that we actually put in an extra show on the Thursday and even then we were pretty much full for every show.

This week will still had understudies on for Donna and Daisy as we had for the final show in Lowestoft, but halfway through the week David who plays Bobby also had to off. Cue mass panic throughout the company! Well not really, but it did mean we’d had more understudies on as James who plays the acoustic guitar would move up to play Bobby, and Mike (my fellow trumpeter  who covers pretty much all of the band) moved up to play the acoustic guitar. Again, everyone coped really well and Mike managed to get through his first few shows swinging in on the Bandstand without any horrible disasters!

In fact since Mike has been up on the bandstand it’s meant I’ve had to cover a few of his dances in the show which was… “interesting” to have to learn so quickly and probably quite a good laugh for the rest of the cast and crew who got to watch me attempt to ‘shake it all over’! There was also another crazy bit for me where I had to cover a Stupid Cupid then come offstage, do a quick change and then go back to my regular track to play a song on the Offstage Keyboard. I’m not going to lie, there may have been the odd occasion where I didn’t quite make it and the MD would look over to see my playing the keyboard with no shirt on!

It’s funny how you pace yourself through a show. I’ve got into a rhythm now where I know exactly how much energy I have to put into a show to make sure I don’t run out halfway through the finale. Playing my own character and also doing bit and bobs of someone else’s has thrown that out of the window so god only knows what it’s like for the people playing completely different parts. in ever case they’re all moving up to do more than they usually do and they’ve got the added stress of performing a part that they’re not as used to. I know I said it last week but I have to say it again, really well done to all the understudies who have been on this week.

In fact I don’t see why the thanks should stop at the understudies. It’s been a difficult week and while it’s been great fun I am in some ways glad it’s over. I think it’s only right that I acknowledge the hard work of everyone, the cast, crew, stage management, etc…for making it through this week and for making the show work in this venue. It’s not been easy but the hard work has paid off.

So this is certainly a shorter blog in comparison to last weeks epic story and the simple reason for that is that I’m exhausted. Thankfully I’ve had Sunday at home to regenerate some energy ready for next week in Scarborough. Let’s see what excitement we get up to there!

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