The oddest thing is happening right now. I am sitting in the Union Theatre bar, it is afternoon and Jekyll and Hyde is officially open!
This past week has been an emotional rollercoaster and a breath taking amount of work has got us to this point. As I hear the vocal harmonies of ‘Alive’ ring through the theatre wall, it makes me smile and feel a little bit fuzzy inside.
But we cannot pretend that this week went by like a gentle breeze!
The tornado began Saturday evening as we unloaded the set in the Union, straight after the get-out for Babes in Arms had finished (thank you for letting us do that Sasha!) Then, first thing Sunday morning, the set went up, Cat arrived to rig lights and Ben rigged the projector. The director, meanwhile, drove around south London picking up everything from lights to magnets!
Throughout the day on Sunday, the band rehearsed through the entire show, ironing out musical issues and reprinting arrangements. As we worked on the stage, the sounds coming from upstairs were incredible. Add the cast at 6pm for their sitzprobe (when full band and cast meet up for the first time) and something very special happened!
All the while the band played, Cat and Ben worked tirelessly on focussing the projections and lights. Stewart and his team put the set up and everyone ploughted through the initial ‘get-in’. Only a slight mix up with an innocent computer mouse dampened the spirits for a short while, but by Sunday night, the world of Jekyll and Hyde was very much in place!
Monday and Tuesday were long tech days. Staging had to be finalised, lights and cues marked in the script, props sought and placed, costumes altered. Then once that was done (usually by 10pm both nights!) Stewart and his band of incredible helpers (Sharon, Gareth – thank you!!) painted, sawed and generally shaped the set to what is currently next door as I type! It is a work of art!
Wednesday then, and after a shaky morning of trying to sort some technical bits, we took a short lunch break and ploughed into a dress rehearsal. Sharing the moment with us and capturing images of the show, were Tigz (Tigz Rice Studios) and Katherine (Katherine James Photography). To everyone’s delight, the show ran (with glitches but nonetheless it ran!) and after copious notes and jiggling we opened as planned at 7.30pm.
The audience response was fantastic and for everyone, the applause and subsequent comments made us all feel that we had achieved something quite special. There was definite room to grow and refine, but the show worked and that was a huge psychological hurdle for all involved.
Fast forward through more tech rehearsals and another preview on Thursday evening (2 sold out previews) with a few minor tweaks, we had our press night on Friday with a crammed theatre. Audience reactions have been incredibly positive and reviews are starting to come out which appear to be very favourable! The first of which we have created a link to:
We will leave you with the first couple of production shots from the show. Enjoy.
More will be on the website shortly.