To the William Loveless Hall! [where else?] …briefly on Sunday afternoon for a quick catch up with the Wivenhoe Pantomime Group as they prepare for the Wednesday opening of Monsters Rock.
An army of backstage hands has been busy since Thursday transforming the ‘challenging performance space’ into something that wouldn’t look out of place just off Shaftsbury Avenue.
Lights! Camera! Action!
…it’s all there.
The setting for Sunday was the technical rehearsal. We all know that the lovely Luvvies of the Pantomime Group are all geared up for the worldwide premier of Monsters Rock on Wednesday evening. But what of the button pushers and plonky plonky musical folk?
We were about to find out.
Y’see the thing about the ‘incredibly challenging performance space’ of the Congregational Hall is that it rather limits the staging of a mini-music festival in mid-town Wivenhoe. Up the stakes to the Willie H and you can whack the amps up to 11.
It was a pivotal moment in hyperlocal folklore, on par with Dylan going electric at the Manchester Free Trade Hall back in ’68.
“I don’t believe you,”
Just wait until SHOWTIME on Wednesday evening, Comrades.
And so on Sunday afternoon the pretty picturesque wintery postcard scene of Wivenhoe had a welcome addition: Dracula prancing around the stage with 1000W being beamed at him and the soundtrack of Monster Mash being played out to perfection by a live band.
Add in the superb scenery backdrop via Sarah Smith and hey! I think they’ve got themselves a show.
It has been uplifting – and incredibly kind and trusting – to see the transformation of this production behind the scenes. It started off during the fag end of the summer at the Congregational Hall. And here we are as we enter Wivenhoe Pantomime Week with a show that wouldn’t look out of a place on the semi-pro circuit.
I’m still sticking with the strict (ish) costume embargo until the dress rehearsal this Tuesday. The make up embargo however was never mentioned…
The rehearsal itself had a few little stop / start moments. This was all about the tech side of the show and how the many helping hands can translate their skills into the wider Willie H setting.
The cast were in incredibly fine form; from the primary schools kids of Wivenhoe through to those that perhaps make a weekly trip to the Post Office on a Wednesday morning to have their pension books rubber-stamped.
There was a genuine sense of excitement that something quite special has been created in the community. Backstage was buzzing, all except Frankie Frankenstein, sitting in character, deep in thought and pondering his part.
You’ll be ACE, fella.
And so [deep breath...] the musos, the script readers, the prompters, stage manager, sound guys, lighting crew, front of house lovely folk and catering [oh yes] – the tech rehearsal on Sunday was all about making sure that Monsters Rock receives the production skills that it deserves.
A polite reminder that if you are perhaps fitting of the demographic that makes a weekly trip to the Post Office on a Wednesday morning, you are very kindly invited to enjoy for FREE the dress rehearsal on Tuesday evening at 7:30pm.
And then the Wivenhoe Pantomime Group hits the heights with Monsters Rock running from Wednesday through until Saturday evening. Tickets are still available for Wednesday and Thursday at both Post Offices and Crossways.
You won’t see anything like this anywhere else.
Nope – YOU REALLY WON’T SEE ANYTHING LIKE THIS ANYWHERE ELSE.
It is a unique Made in Wivenhoe production that is unlike any other panto production. Catch it at the Willie H before the Shaftsbury Avenue runs comes-a-begging.