This week has been a week that I will not forget in a long time.
I’m still buzzing 24 hours after the final curtain.
For 8 years I have played the piano for Twyford C of E High School’s production. This year was the first year (of many to come, I hope) working with the new director Louise Adams and new musical director Jason Orringe and choreographer Faith Afriyie.
They certainly made their mark with this show. By the end of the performances the audiences were on their feet applauding and cheering to an extent I rarely see, and this clearly showed just how successful 9 months of hard work from the three of them had paid off.
Louise’s direction made me believe that the story was real life, which for me is the most important thing in a play, to believe that everything they do was not directed, but looked like real life, and there was moments I had tears in my eyes at the right point every night, because I believed that the story was real and to make me believe that every time takes real skill in directing.
Jason worked tirelessly with the cast and the band to produce the perfect sound, and there were moments that the harmonies were so tight that they sent shivers down my spine and this was integral to the show, and the reaction certainly showed that.
Faith’s choreography was astounding. I had my favourites dances as I’m sure many people did, but I must say after playing the piano for the choreography rehearsals, (which any rehearsal accompanist will tell you is not an easy job) I was so pleased to see how they looked from the front on stage. The effect of these dances was electrifying, and was the icing on the cake for the performance.
There’s so many things I could mention here that was astounding about this week, so I’ll try and briefly summarise.
Firstly the cast. I have been at many of the rehearsals leading up to this show and to see what they all did on the stage showed an incredible progression of each and every one of their talents. Every lead role had me watching and enjoying their performances every night in a variety of ways. I really hope they all continue on the stage throughout their lives, because they all have so much potential.
Secondly, the band. Almost all of these musicians, I have had the pleasure to play alongside in previous shows, but this year showed just how much musical talent is in that school, from staff, students and visiting ex-students, and how much they progress with their instruments year after year. The sound produced was note perfect and was the best accompaniment for the cast and playing alongside them made this week the fun that it was. (As a side note, on the last rehearsal when the band went home and I had to play a song alone, it was amazing just how lonely it felt and how bare the sound was with solo piano. Having a band/orchestra definitely adds another layer to the performance, but you don’t realise the extent of that layer until it’s stripped back after having it)
Thirdly, the behind the scenes people. The girls and guys we didn’t see on stage, but spent countless hours building the set, rigging the lights, ordering the array of colourful costumes, managing the sound and many more tasks, too many to name, these people made this show what actors and musicians alone couldn’t. So I have to give a huge shout out to all of the people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help make this show the success that it was.
I cannot wait to hear what show they choose for next year, but I advise every single one of you to come and see it. It’ll be worth the trip.
Thank you Louise and Jason 🙂