Morphic Graffiti, Part 34 and the BIG announcement!!

Carousel1Hoorah!! It is with enormous pleasure and relief that Stewart and Luke can finally announce that the next Morphic Graffiti production will be Rodgers and Hammerstein’s CAROUSEL! Wow – all that waiting! You’d think we had been planning global domination and a revival of Cats or something!!

In all seriousness, the past few months have been a labour of love and we have been working alongside some incredible people to get the production lined up for a season at the Arcola Theatre. This beautiful venue is perfect for our ‘reimagining’ of the story of Carousel and are looking forward to a brilliant time over in Dalston with the team at the theatre!

So what can you expect from Morphic Graffiti? Well, the answer is hopefully something that is going to shed a new light on this classic story of Julie Jordan and Carousel barker, Billy Bigelow. Working with Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatricals, we have been exploring this piece ever since Stewart and I hung up our deerstalkers and smoking pipes at the end of The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes!

We have an incredible creative team with us on the show. As with the others, Stewart is designing and I am directing Carousel. We are beyond thrilled to have Lee Proud back choreographing the show which is going to be nothing short of breath-taking. Our music team includes Andrew Corcoran, orchestrations by Mark Cumberland and renowned orchestrator Larry Blank as our Musical Supervisor. Larry’s credits include orchestrating for the Olivier and Tony awards and West End productions of Singing In The Rain, as well as Catch Me If You Can and The Drowsy Chaperone on Broadway. Lighting will designed by Cat Webb (known to Morphic Graffiti followers for her gorgeous work on both Jekyll and Sherlock) and completing the team is West End/Broadway producer Kim Poster as Creative Consultant to the production. Bit of a self-pinch moment there as we both are blown away by the line up!

Casting has yet to be confirmed and auditions are imminent. Ben Newsome is on board as Casting Director and doing a brilliant job. A few people have mentioned casting to us and we would love to hear from anyone who is interested. Drop us an email at casting@morphicgraffiti.com or contact Ben directly.

So what do people make of the poster? It’s a little bit different, but then so is the production! We have been allowed to relocate the setting to 1930 amidst the start of the Great Depression after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. That’s all we’re giving away right now – just to whet your appetite a little. The poster indicates much more about the production than we are saying and there are evn more surprises to come!

The Arcola have only just changed their seating policy and tickets are now being sold for specific seats and not as a ‘general admission’ ticket. This means no queuing up by the entrance for a good seat and you can come to the Arcola and know where you are sitting. It does, however, mean you should book early to avoid any disappointment!
Tickets are available at the Arcola website online at http://www.arcolatheatre.com or over the phone on 020 7503 1646.

So there we are! That’s the news from Morphic HQ! We of course have a million and one things to work on and to share with you as we move towards casting, auditions, set construction, wardrobe fittings, rehearsals…!! The list is endless!
Thank you for your patience and we look forward to seeing you at Carousel

Luke and Stewart

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Morphic Graffiti, Part 33 and Project X is coming….we promise

Can’t believe Christmas is over! Happy New Year to all the readers of our blog! It’s the 6th January. Everyone is back at work and feeling rather full of too much Christmas cheer. It may be the most depressing day of the year, but we thought we would put a spring in your step and enlighten you on what is going on here at Morphic towers and why we have been so quiet! So if you are work feeling a bit down in the dumps, sit back for a minute and see what goes on to get our next production (that we once only dreamed of) off the ground.

Although we have various things going on at the moment, we are aware that everyone wants to know what the next, big MG production is. For now, we shall refer to it as Project X (the announcement is coming but it’s got to be just right before we announce it!!) About five months ago Stewart and I sat down to make a concrete decision about the next show to follow on from Jekyll and Sherlock. We had been thrilled with the feedback from both and the reviews and audience responses were electrifying. Project X needed to maintain our production standards, increase in scale and also be of interest to our very loyal audiences and attract new people too.

Over the last few months we have had a huge amount of assistance to bring Project X to fruition and to bring a team around it that will make sure this is one of the theatre events of the year! With more meetings and emails than both Sherlock and Jekyll put together, the project is a significant step up from us and will be presented in the most perfect venue for our concept!
Right from the get go there was a title that we both adored as piece of theatre, as a story and as a perfect title to present on stage. Project X is a very well-known piece and, as such, is held in very high esteem by those who hold the rights, and rightly so (see what I did there!). Having met a very prominent figure in the world of Theatrical Rights at one of The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes! performances (who has helped us endlessly but shall remain nameless until we announce the project to avoid giving the game away!) we both got to thinking about whether we would be able to make this happen.

Several new aspects to producing have also arisen on this project that we have not really yet explored as producers but that are extremely exciting. With an increase in scale brings greater emphasis on marketing and press coverage. The venue we have chosen seats some 200 people and needs a bigger marketing campaign than we have used before. We are anticipating using an external Marketing company to assist us and also a press officer to aid them. The venue attracts the big guns when it comes to online and newspaper coverage and is essential for us to spread the word about Project X.

Undoubtedly there have been a lot of questions to us as new producers about how Project X will work and how we envisage the production happening. What we can say is that the piece will be very much as people know it, but with a definite Morphic Graffiti slant. As well as securing the rights, we have been talking to the venue, pulling together what is shaping up to be a rather extraordinary creative team, and starting to look at the marketing of the show and the production image. All this and then you add the budget which is being scrutinised on a daily basis to make sure everything is covered and paid for! It’s no mean feat.

Even though this has taken over our lives, we are still exploring a few other projects which will come to light in due course. We promise that the wait for the next announcement will be worth it and a ticket to see it will be an essential purchase in 2014!! Believe us when we say that we want to shout it from the rooftops but this extensive pre-production period is essential to get everything right. Our email account is gridlocked with very important contractual things although both Stewart and I cannot wait to get back on the creative elements of the show. Stewart is itching to get started on the set model and I cannot wait to sit down with the casting director and flesh out these wonderful and complex characters.

Last thing……in the spirit of all things Sherlock (what with our last production and with the new episodes on the BBC!) we would not be our cheeky selves if we didn’t leave you just the smallest of clues as to the title of Project X. But if you solve it, keep it quiet ;0)

Luke

Morphic Graffiti, Part 32 and the retrospective view.

Hello all! Apologies for a delayed blog entry. Hope our readers are all well and enjoying the sunshine! Please don’t think we have been sitting in the sun all summer – far from it! Things here at Morphic Graffiti are continually growing and developing. Things just take a little time before they can be properly announced!

So what have we been doing? Well, although we won’t mention projects by name (call it a superstition for us!) we have been having lots of meetings and drinking vast amount of coffee to discuss our next step as a company. Now that the dust has settled on The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes! it is the perfect time to take stock of the project and how everything went.

Working alongside the author of the piece (Leslie Bricusse) and working with him on changes was always a tremendously daunting prospect but proved a wholly rewarding experience for both Stewart and I, and hopefully everyone involved with the piece. The reviews and audience reaction were fantastic. Not only that, but the wonderful front of house team were happy to sneak in and watch the show again and again which is always a very good sign.

In retrospect, it was a huge undertaking with a set that had to fit seamlessly into a Grade 2 listed building, costumes being made from scratch, a cast of twelve with a script that had continual adjustments, puppets, magic tricks, a band of 5 and brand new orchestrations………what a list! But as we look forwards, there is definitely a sense of pushing the goalposts to what we can achieve. When we sat around and first talked about the music hall concept we had visions of Mrs Hudson being sawn in half and the puppets duelling on Reichenbach Falls. With grit, determination and team work they happened!

The puppet prologue on at Reichenbach Falls!

The puppet prologue on at Reichenbach Falls!

Since the production finished, we have sat with the different departments as is now customary, and debrief the project. What worked? More importantly, what didn’t?! For us this has been a useful tool in moving the company forwards. Bearing in mind this was our second project as a company, it is important that we learn as we develop!

We have also had the complex task of returning all the props that we used, sorting out the set in our workshop and cleaning the costumes ready for storage. It took around five hours to do the ‘get out’ from the venue and restoring it to its previous state, and then many more hours to send/drive/clean/dismantle/dust/repaint/store everything from the smallest top hat on the Moriarty puppet to the giant ‘SH’ Sherlock Holmes crest at the top of our purpose built proscenium arch.

So what are we looking at doing next? Well, it will definitely be something theatrical we can say that! We have been in talks about two very contrasting musicals and even a play (a Morphic Graffiti first!) Emails, proposals and site visits are all happening as we have the tricky task of finding the right piece and the right venue that can happen at the same time!. Both Stewart and I agree that all Morphic Graffiti projects must fit the brief that we set ourselves when we created the company. However, as with Jekyll and Sherlock, it must be something that keep our creative juices flowing.

We will keep you posted. All you need know is – it will be worth the wait!!!

Morphic Graffiti, Part 31 and the last Sherlock tonight!

So here we are, lunchtime on the 10th May. The last performance of The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes! at Hoxton Hall and the end of Morpic Graffiti’s second show. Wow! It seems rather incredible to think that the journey to this point has happened so quickly!

Apologies for lack of blogs, every waking moment has been spent on marketing the show, sending emails and chasing various bits and bobs that generally take up ones life during the running of a show!

The past few weeks have been incredibly busy, working on maintaining the show and ‘general managing’ it as the producers. Having been involved in the creative elements, the upkeep of the show has been paramount. Xye and the team (Chris, Ema, Jorja) have been back stage every show, dressing cast members into costumes and wigs and repairing the seemingly endless costumes that in such a fast paced, vibrant show will come under a lot of wear and tear. Even some of the cast have picked up a needle and thread to sew a hem or replace a button, so thank you all!

Xye and Stewart mending Signora Moriarty's big sleeves!

Xye and Stewart mending Signora Moriarty’s big sleeves!

The day to day running of the show is handed over to the cast, band and stage management team who have done an incredible job. Gemma and Camille have run the show like a dream, dealing with prop breakages, stroppy smoke machines and even a LED lamp that decided to not do as it was told and instead flicker like an 80’s disco light in lurid red, blue and green light!

Nathan and the band have performed brilliantly at every show. The occasional ‘dep’ (another musician who covers for one of the band) has come in and blended in with the sound beautifully so that even a perfectionist like me could not tell that someone was playing the show after such a tiny amount of rehearsal time. Thank you band for being brilliant and for improving your “oh dear” shout outs!!!

Whether large, or small, our audiences have been laughing and enjoying themselves over the past month and the feedback from them has been electrifying. Be it the magic, the puppets, the comedy, the band or the choreography, every component part of the production has been praised by audiences and critics alike. We had no idea some 8 months ago if the piece or the concept we had would work, so to see it brought to life has been incredibly rewarding.

Our beloved 'Mary' the skeleton from the brilliiant 'morgue' scene

Our beloved ‘Mary’ the skeleton from the brilliiant ‘morgue’ scene

Tonight is the final performance and then the infamous ‘get out’ where the set, props and costumes all get cleared from the venue. It is a horrible job as whenever you reach a last night, you know that the production, at that venue, will never be performed in the same way again. But, theatre evolves and we have had a fab time at Hoxton Hall and could think of no better venue in the country that we could set this particular version of The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes! (Must give a quick shout out to Michael, Rob and the entire Front of House team at Hoxton who have been amazing!!!)

On a personal note, it has been an amazing journey thus far. I cannot believe how fortunate I am to have worked with and met some incredible people these past 8 months of this project. Not least working with the show’s author, Leslie Bricusse, has been incredible and a relationship Stewart and I hope to continue as Morphic Graffiti expands. I must also say a huge thank you to our sensational creative team and to our cast and band, for embracing the crazy world of Music Hall and letting Morphic Graffiti do something just that little bit different!

Stewart's original set model now realised at Hoxton Hall!

Stewart’s original set model now realised at Hoxton Hall!

As with Jekyll and Hyde, the question I am asked more than ever at the moment is ‘What’s next?’. The answer is definitely ‘something!!’ so watch this space. Morphic Graffiti is a labour of love and Stewart and I want to learn and grow from every production we do. We have already de-briefed with our Technical Manager Sharon and will do the same with all departments to make sure we absorb everything we can from this experience. They say you only learn by doing, and believe me we have learnt so much!

One more tonight then!

sherlb

Luke x

Morphic Graffiti, Part 30 and the Review Round Up and first Production Photos!

sherlock2sherlock4The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes! has opened! Hoorah! After a jam packed rehearsal period and a long and exhausting technical rehearsal process, the show opened (albeit 45 minutes late!) last Wednesday evening and press have been attending since Friday night’s press night. The audience response has been nothing short of fantastic and the critics appear to share the same opinion. We have brought all the current reviews together in our ‘Review Round Up’ which is below.

Apologies to our faithful blog readers for the lack of blog updates during rehearsals. The workload for everyone has been immense and everyone has barely had time to rest their eyes let alone open the laptop and type!

Both Stewart and I can only begin to thank the hard work, determination and sheer grit that everyone involved in the project has invested in the production. It is quite incredible to think that just five weeks ago we all met up for the first day of rehearsals with a bizarre idea of taking an existing piece and setting it in the world of Victorian Music Hall.

I will blog more details about the work that has gone on, but for now, please enjoy our reviews and a sneak peak at the production photos. Book your tickets now! You are not going to want to miss this!

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Here’s what the critics have said so far:

WHATSONSTAGE ****
“Treachery, turmoil, tweed!” a mantra sounded on your average night out in east London and a perfect epigram to Morphic Graffiti’s The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes!

It’s a story that Arthur Conan Doyle would appreciate, crammed full of intrigue, innuendo and irony all adding up to an appropriately wry homage to the Holmes writer. Andrea Miller playing the dame somehow manages to channel both Miranda Richardson’s Queen Elizabeth and June Brown’s Dot Branning.

These songs are certainly unique … A hilarious duet in a morgue followed by the singularly best cockney rhyming slang themed song I have ever heard intoxicate the audience and are surely a much better use of the musical form than many West End shows seem to manage.

The company certainly does not seem to need the budget of such shows either. The costumes cannot be faulted and have been clearly put together with much craft. They are paraded upon a wonderful set with plenty of appropriate trap doors and the play is eminently enhanced by working around such a ramshackle and distinctly Victorian stage.

Reviving the old music hall without simply parodying the 19th century content it once held is no mean feat, but for such a loud and proud cast, enjoying themselves and their sources, it is certainly elementary, my dear readers.

THE PUBLIC REVIEWS *****
It begins from the moment you step through the doors into the old music hall…an absolutely stunning piece of musical theatre.

There are many things that make this musical worth every penny of admission and more. Not least the fantastic detailing in both the words and music, but in the set and costumes by Stewart Charlesworth as well.

The original songs and music by one of the most well regarded theatrical composer of the last few decades, Leslie Bricusse, are just perfect and when combined with the choreography of Lee Proud bring the Victorian music hall setting to true and vibrant life.

On a more serious note, the historical authenticity of this music hall style will delight any aficionados of the form. The work itself is a near perfect transposition of the Opera buffa style into a music hall setting, something referenced with a very neat joke in the performance itself.

This is theatre that relies on surprises (of which there are many) and, of course, mystery so telling any more just wouldn’t be fair.

There are so many other reasons to recommend this show, far too many to mention. Suffice to say, Morphic Graffiti (the same company who gave us the hit Jekyll and Hyde last year), have created a stunner. It is sad to think that there may be some unfortunate people who will not get a chance to see this show before it closes.

TIME OUT
If you’re going to pay homage to Victorian music hall culture in 2013, how better to do so than with someone as popular now as he was back then? That’s precisely what young theatre company Morphic Graffiti has done in this follow up to its well received 2012 debut ‘Jekyll and Hyde’.
The joy of Luke Fredericks’s production is in the detail, from the audience banter to the puppetry, magic tricks, purpose-built proscenium arch and cardboard cut-out scenery. Played across every level of the atmospheric, authentically Victorian Hoxton Hall, it beautifully evokes entertainment from a different era.

….there’s much to enjoy, from Amanda Goldthorpe-Hall’s brilliantly hammy opera singer to a hilarious Stephen Leask ad-libbing effortlessly as the hapless Inspector Lestrade.


ONE STOP ARTS *****
Victorian venue Hoxton Hall marks 150 years with an absurdly enjoyable production of Leslie Bricusse’s Holmes musical: Morphic Graffiti, following up 2012′s Jekyll & Hyde, hit paydirt with this welcome revival into which a talented and exhaustingly energetic cast fling themselves with gusto. Slap on your deerstalker and string up your disbelief for this all-singing, all-dancing caper through the greatest Holmes case that never was.

….the joy of this show is that it’s done with exactly the right mixture of affection and irreverence to please hardcore Holmesians and ordinary punters alike.

Bricusse’s lyrics are witty, complex and sharp where they need to be, sweet when the song demands; his melodies are catchy, hummable and varied enough to retain musical interest, and his book boasts some great gags, characterful, credible dialogue and a cracker of a plot.

Luke Fredericks’s peppy, beguiling production pays homage to its venue’s history by incorporating elements of music-hall into the show, and this stylistic choice works brilliantly…

John Cusworth (Dr Watson) also has bags of charm and presence, yet despite looking like John Barrowman’s sexier older brother, he’s not just a pretty face: his cheerful, gung-ho Watson lights up the stage and garners some of the biggest laughs in songs like “Halcyon Days”, a morgue-set duet which recalls the farcical absurdism of a Mel Brooks movie.

…with Stewart Charlesworth’s kaleidoscopic period costumes and ingenious set, and the contagious air of loving every damn second exuded by the cast, it would be churlish to give this show less than five stars.

It’s rare to find a musical even non-musical-fans can love, but with its panto panache, boundless energy, toe-tapping tunes and mischievous sense of fun, The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes is it.

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FRONT ROW DRESS *****
After Leslie Bricusse (Doctor Dolittle, Willy Wonka, Victor Victoria) caught and approved of sharp new production team Morphic Graffiti’s contemporary updating of his Jekyll and Hyde at the Union last year, he suggested that they have a stab at his 1989 Sherlock Holmes musical. Director Luke Fredericks and designer Stewart Charlesworth came up with the ingenious idea of transforming the show into a music hall romp, hence the perfect marriage of material to performance space.

None of that brief synopsis does remote justice to the unalloyed joy that emanates from every pore of every member of the superb cast. Dressed in beautiful bright period costumes on cartoon-like sets they deliver Bricusse’s perky score full of tuneful ensemble numbers.

The witty cockney rhyming slang of Apples n Pears is raucously staged and choreographed by the ingenious Lee Proud and some soul-searching ballads bring pathos to Andrea Miller’s superficially blousy crowd-pleasing Mrs Hudson and Leonie Heath’s revenge hungry Bella Spellgrove.

Sherlock himself is brought sharply to life by tousle haired Colin Firth lookalike Tim Walton, always one step ahead of all around him. Walton is another of those West End stars-in-waiting with oodles of charisma and a calm centred presence when all around is artful chaos.

With a sense of history permeating the proceedings onstage and the building itself, it is impossible not to get caught up in the melodrama and fun, with even the darker moments played for laughs (yes the drug habit gets a mention, but not enough to scare the kids). Peppered throughout with classic illusions and with an interval singalong to encourage stragglers back from the bar, this is top notch entertainment for all the family, take your granny or your grandchild and I guarantee that they will love every moment. Take a date or a mate and you won’t be disappointed.

THE STAGE
Director and designer team Luke Fredericks and Stewart Charlesworth have collaborated with author Leslie Bricusse for this production and re-worked the problematic musical as a fantasia on Victorian Music Hall.

This conceit succeeds to a greater extent and the incorporation of vigorous choreography, magic tricks and stock characters instantly recognisible from the halls, go some way to reconciling the musical’s difficulties. Charlesworth’s inventive set features some charming touches.

The ensemble works extremely hard recreating the flavour of the music hall experience and there are some great moments, especially from Stephen Leask’s melodramatic Inspector Lestrade, Amanda Goldthorpe-Hall’s mysterious Signora Moriarty and Andrea Miller proves a firm favourite with the audience as a garrulous Mrs Hudson.

Tim Walton hits just about the right note as a musical Holmes, channelling a Boys’ Own enthusiasm to bring lighter touches to the notoriously sombre detective and his relationship with John Cusworth’s Dr Watson develops as a recognisable double act of sorts. Holmes’ unfulfilled romance with Leonie Heath’s playful Bella certainly benefits from a broader handling of the material and its conclusion is far more satisfying in this mould.

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REVIEWSGATE
A musical delight in a Palace of Varieties

Ramshackle, spirited and frequently very funny Luke Frederick’s staging of this old Leslie Bricusse musical suggests that it really is worth a second look.

Bricusse’s score is sparkling, his lyrics genuinely witty – there is a terrific rhyming slang Apples and Pears number – and on the face of it the show deserves a revival. It also benefits from a good cast with Tim Walton making a very dashing Sherlock, more ladies man than the usual desiccated bachelor, and Leonie Heath a delightful Bella trying to decide whether to kill or marry the man. Andrea Miller – clearly the Hoxton Hall’s resident harridan star – almost stops the show as Mrs Hudson who is presented as a man mad widow rather than a provider of comfort to two bachelor boys.


A YOUNGER THEATRETransported back to the late 1800s, the audience was treated to an intimate, hilarious performance of a play which tells the story of Sherlock Holmes’s return from the Reichenbach falls, and his readjustment to a boring society without his arch nemesis, Professor Moriarty.

Introduced by the brilliant Dr. Watson – played here by John Cusworth – we are led through an adventure with chases through London, which takes on the high spirits of the music hall era with a somewhat frenetic pace that is held together by the fantastic band which accompanies the cast – and what a cast this is. With a pedigree which names at least six West-End musicals, the cast has an impressive history – and it shows in their performances. Holmes, played by Tim Walton, is especially fantastic, encapsulating the traditional, sharp demeanour of the detective, whilst also revealing his softer side as he faces the beautiful Bella Spellgrove (Leonie Heath). Soon finding himself in deep water, however, it’s up to Dr. Watson, Inspector Lestrade and the Baker Street Irregulars to save the day.
Luke Fredericks and Nathan Jarvis, as Director and Musical Director respectively, have done a wonderful job to fill the small space of Hoxton Hall with laughter and song, perfectly balancing a comic self-awareness with the sincere desire to see a job well done.

In an age where Sherlock Holmes is in almost every direction you look, it’s somewhat nice to see a return to the stories in their original Victorian setting, with corsets, petticoats and top hats. Though the production needs polishing, which will likely come further into the run, for such a fresh idea – to adapt the play to the space, rather than attempting the opposite – The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes is a hugely exciting piece.

PLAYS TO SEE
There is one very good reason to see this Hoxton Hall revival of Leslie Brisusse’s 1988 show, The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes: Lee Proud’s choreography is the finest I’ve seen this year outside the West End, and is drilled with military precision into a more than capable ensemble.

And what of the show? Well, there are laughs aplenty in Morphic Graffiti(the producer)’s re-setting of the show as a ‘Music Hall Entertainment’, and the venerable setting of the 150 year old Hoxton Hall becomes as much a star as any single member of the cast.

The cast do sterling work with what they have been given and under the sure and witty directorial hand of Luke Fredericks make the evening an entertaining one.

Tim Walton as Sherlock Holmes is splendidly versatile in what is a physically quite demanding role. John Cusworth plays Dr Watson for laughs, but as we are watching a ‘show within a show’ this seems entirely appropriate. His eyebrows alone should be up for an Offie. Amanda Goldthorpe-Hall, dressed unnervingly like an ENO Queen of the Night by costume designer Stewart Charlesworth, brings operatic gravitas to her role as Signora Moriarty, able assisted by a charmingly ingénue-ish performance from Leonie Heath as Bella Spellgrove. Andrea Miller, in the role of sexually frustrated housekeeper, Mrs Hudson, is every bit the predatory cougar, and the principles are rounded off by a suitably plod-like Stephen Leask as Inspector Lestrade.

Praise should be heaped, however, on ‘The Baker Street Irregulars’- effectively the boys and girls of the chorus. Ryan Pidgen, Adam Pendrich, Benjamin Bond, Rachel Ensor, Nicola Martin, and Melanie Brown are the sticking tape holding this show together.

Morphic Graffiti, Part 29 and an appearance by a seagull.

So it’s nearly bed time on Monday of our second week of rehearsals and ….wait! what!! Week 2?! Where on earth did week one go? Time is flying by here in Sherlock land. But everyone is working at a pace and pushing themselves in every way possible to get the show ready for our opening night on April 10th!

Where to begin with the workload! Well, let’s start with all things design based. Costume fittings are becoming a daily thing with some stunning work being built from scratch. I’ll admit I was surprised to see Nicola in an entirely cream ensemble, and was then told this was the basis for the costume to make it fit before the actual fabric was cut and stitched! Makes complete sense now I know but for a second it seemed that Stewart had missed his own design brief of ‘colourful and vibrant’.

I was very lucky to pop down and see Stewart, Mike and Gareth at our workshop and, yes, I even picked up a paintbrush and aided in some scenic painting! The set is looking beautiful. Some extremely clever touches going in (I would like to note that I painted the sign to 221b and no it wasn’t on the Baker Street front door!!) and Chrissie, Lizzie, Nik and all the team working on it are truly talented individuals. My favourite bit so far is the seagull (Sherlock, Mystery, London, Seagull ????????)

Meanwhile, back at Hoxton Hall, not even a day away at a different venue, to allow Downton Abbey to film, has stopped the incredible amount of work being done. Lee, Anthony and Nicola have been drilling the dance steps with some quite astonishing results. I don’t think our cast knew quite what they had let themselves in for before we started! The music, the choreography and the cast are really starting to have fun with this crazy ‘Music Hall’ setting and this will grow and grow! Our aim is to have a very rough stagger through by the middle of rehearsals. Oh crikey that’s next week!!!!! AArrgghhhhhh!!

A special mention to Caris and Ina our Stage Management team who have been running an extremely tight ship. They are both exceptional at what they do and, like everyone, have thrown themselves into the project head first. Last week we asked to start looking into Moriarty’s sword stick so that we could find one in time for the show. Less than twenty four hours later we have a replica of the one used by Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter as a ‘rehearsal prop’ and not only that, but a fully operational violin for when we get to it!! I wish I could get that organised.

We are loving being at Hoxton Hall for rehearsals. I find myself popping into the theatre for a minute or two on a break just to work out something or imagine a moment. Anyone who does not know the venue, it is simply stunning and the second you step inside, you really feel something unique and heart warming. I’m not going to lie that the time we have for the ‘get in’ (when all the technical bits and set arrive and get put up) is probably going to raise my blood pressure a little as everything comes to fruition, but we aim to be as ready as possible when we leave the rehearsal room in three weeks time (gulp!!)

Talking of rehearsals, here’s a few pics from week 1 at Hoxton Hall:

A bit of musical note bashing!

A bit of musical note bashing!

Now what do these two have to do with Sherlock Holmes?!

Now what do these two have to do with Sherlock Holmes?!

Yes that will be our Sherlock and Watson and yes it will be a very..serious..piece ?!?

Yes that will be our Sherlock and Watson and yes it will be a very..serious..piece ?!?

There is something so fascinating about taking on a piece that is not ‘set’ out with beautifully arranged scores and scripts all ready to just ‘stage’. Even now, things are being tweaked, reworked and crafted. Be it a costume design, a staged moment, a character’s thought or even the logistics of how a huge bit of set is meant to clear in four seconds, there is never a dull moment. With everyone working the find the best in every moment on stage and to make this show the best it can be, it is an incredibly exciting time and with that I shall say bon nuit!

P.S (As I drift off to the land of nod, don’t forget to book your tickets early to avoid disappointment!) x

Morphic Graffiti, Part 28 and the team gets ever bigger!

It has been a month long process and an intricate puzzle that we have had to try and put together piece by piece but we have our cast! They are collectively an extremely talented bunch who blew us away in auditions and will bring this crazy music hall world and Sherlock Holmes tale to life!

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Leading man, Tim Walton, will be playing the title role. Tim is a leading West End actor with credits that include Matilda, Love Never Dies, Wicked and most recently Kiss Me Kate at the Old Vic. Joining him will be John Cusworth (Mamma Mia, Blood Brothers) as his sidekick Dr. Watson, Amanda Goldthorpe-Hall (The Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music) as the villainous Mrs Moriarty, Leonie Heath (Scrooge, Babes in Arms) as Bella Spellgrove, Andrea Miller (Jekyll and Hyde, Gays the Word) as the ill-suffering Mrs Hudson and Stephen Leask (The Secret Garden, Potted Panto) as Inspector Lestrade.

The cast also includes Benjamin Bond (Mamma Mia), Melanie Brown (Jesus Christ Superstar), Rachel Ensor (Cats, Dirty Dancing), Nicola Martin (Boy Meets Boy), Adam Pendrich (Jubilee) and Ryan Pidgen (Billy Elliot, Lend Me a Tenor).

As with Jekyll and Hyde, Luke and Stewart take on the same roles as Director and Designer respectively. While we are announcing everything, the full creative team includes Huw Evans (Musical Director), Stewart Charlesworth (Set & Costume Designer), Lee Proud (Choreographer) and Michael England (Orchestrator). Illusions are by Thomas Moore with puppets by Billy Achilleos. Catherine Webb is lighting designer (after her stunning work on Jekyll) and we have been priveliged to work with Anne Vosser who has helped us bring together such an incredible cast!

Phew! The list is endless with some incredible work behind the scenes. Billie and her puppet team are working hard to build beautiful life-like creations for the show – even moulding and sculpting faces to mirror those of certain cast members!! Our Wardrobe Supervisor, Xye Appleton and her team of costumiers have been measuring, cutting and planning the costumes. With in excess of fifty costumes that is no mean feat!!

Not just that, but the set is in full swing and being constructed and painted at our workshop. Nik Carroll, a stunning scenic artist and designer in his own right, and Lizzie Lodge, another equally beautiful artiste, have been working on the Dore inspired set pieces:

NIKPAINTING

Our marketing team are having regular meetings. Lauren McGee (our Marketing Manager extraordinaire) continues to impress with her research and ideas. Steve Coats-Dennis is pulling together our online presence and keeping the social media growing and developing. Expect a lot more as we head towards rehearsals on the 11th March!! A big shout out to Mike Fraga too who is doing everything and more to make sure our artwork, posters and website are not only up to date, but are the right size and look amazing for all our marketing and online needs.

The workload is crazy and continues to grow. It’s only when typing it out you realise the enormity of the undertaking and the incredible team that is working to make this production the best it can possibly be! Thank you everyone!

If you are thinking of booking tickets, I would urge you to start to choose a date! Tickets are starting to go and it’s still only February!!