Guys and Dolls is the greatest musical comedy ever says youth company, bringing show to Felixstowe
- Credit: Archant
Eastern Edge Theatre Company hope luck will be a lady for their run of Guys and Dolls at Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion.
Arguably the greatest musical comedy ever written, rehearsals have been fun says director and Eastern Edge Theatre Company founder Charlie Pittman.
“It’s been fantastic to work on such a masterpiece, musically it’s stunning and Niall Morris has done an exceptional job with choreography. I’ve personally enjoyed working on musical staging and choreographing some of the big numbers like Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat and Luck Be a Lady as they are such creative songs to work on and the cast get such a buzz from them.
“Working on some of the boys’ scenes has been so fun as well, they bring such a wonderful energy and crack me up every time I work with them - the show is so cleverly written.”
Last year the youth-led company sold out the New Wolsey Studio with their self-crafted musical Bridge Over Oblivion. Profits from this show, at Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion, January 26-28, will help fund their next original production which they hope to take to this year’s Edinburgh Festival.
Wanting to do a show with a large cast which would bring a lot of energy to the large Spa Pavilion stage, Guys and Dolls was the perfect fit.
“Unlike some other older classics the dialogue isn’t outdated, the humour is still fantastic and it’s one of those shows where you leave the theatre with a big grin on your face. A real feel good show.”
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Life isn’t easy for gambler Nathan Detroit. The police are making it harder for him to organize his unlicensed crap games and his long-time fiancée Miss Adelaide is pressuring him to tie the knot and go straight.
Challenging acquaintance Sky Masterson to get Sarah Brown, a sister at the Save a Soul Mission, to have dinner with him in Cuba could solve the first problem. But things get complicated.
Bringing the musical to life at the Spa was equally so.
“We have a 10-piece orchestra filled with professional musicians and local students, 24 cast members ranging from 16-22, a great set and costumes and a very ambitious show on our hands,” says Pittman.
“But we want to show Eastern Edge is not your average amateur dramatics company and we can cope with high expectations. We have to improve with each show we do and this is our biggest show to date.”
One of the biggest challenges has been the time scale, with members only rehearsing once a week. It’s helped that the whole process has been so collaborative.
“Stephen Bell, our assistant director, has done wonders with some scene work. Beth Rumbellow, our assistant director, has worked so well with Niall as always and her number Take Back Your Mink is looking great.
“Choreographing the Crapshooters Dance alongside Niall was incredibly fun as we both had so many ideas, so we are particularly proud of that song. A few surprises have sprung up such as the length of some dances; for instance Havana before the end of act one is nearly 10 minutes long so Niall has worked very hard to create a lot of content there and keep it all at such a high level - but it’s looking fantastic.”
Pittman says it’s been really great to do another show at the Spa, adding it’s just the start.
“The Spa team have been so supportive from day one and seem to be happy to have a youth company on board. We are the only youth-led theatre company in Suffolk and what we are creating is something energetic, new and full of passion. We have such a talented cast full of familiar and fresh faces you can’t miss this one.”
The company have three more shows lined up for this year and, encouragingly, the rehearsal process has seen a number of members come forward with their own ideas for shows which will help shape the company’s future.
In April they will stage Shakespearean comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona at The Avenue Theatre in Ipswich. This will be followed by musical comedy The Last Five Years at The Headgate Theatre in Colchester in May and an immersive theatrical production of Bonnie and Clyde at St Peters by the Waterfront in Ipswich in July.