My latest project is a series of one- or two-hander mini-musicals, each one telling someone’s personal story. A receptionist’s first ever singing lesson; a blogger whose life-coaching has unexpected consequences; a hotel guest who’s checked in with no plans to check out again … every character has a tale to tell, and all those tales are linked, somehow, to the others. The first selfie introduces us to Melody Smart, who finds her encounter with a singing teacher unexpectedly traumatic. ‘Melody’ played to full houses at the Old Fire Station’s Crisis Café, the Jam Factory and the Jericho Tavern in Oxford, before hopping over to Ross-on-Wye’s Phoenix Theatre for another sell-out show, and rounding off our local tour with a performance at the unique Unicorn Theatre in Abingdon . Here’s some of the audience feedback from those shows:
‘Brilliantly written and superbly executed’ ‘Moving, funny, fascinating, absorbing’ ‘Flawlessly performed’ ‘Poignant, funny, painful, uplifting and deeply human’ ‘Amazing story-telling’
—and a review by arts writer Nicola Lisle on her blog Oxfordshire Classical Music.
Melody’s London debut at the Phoenix Arts Club, and her week at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, have been postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, watch this space for news of Online@theSpaceUK’s virtual fringe festival in August. Among 80 video shows, the festival will feature four contributions from Three Chairs and a Hat, including an extract from MELODY, and an introduction to YouTube life-coach Lady M, next in line for the Selfies.
Oxford audiences have met poor Verity, and soon she’ll travel to Edinburgh in my musical about her life after being jilted at the altar. Now prepare to meet the groom who changed his mind, in DEXTER—the prequel that gives us his version of events. New characters such as Grace, seeking a good home for her arms-dealing legacy, and Moira Day, whiskey-drinking entrepreneur, join some familiar faces as we discover a few answers and a lot more questions about the man who did her wrong … Details to follow!
Blue Skye Thinking is a charity set up in the name of Skye Hall by his parents, Sally and Andrew. Skye was a lively, lovely boy who died as the result of the radical treatment received for an aggressive brain tumour, and the charity raises funds for research into more appropriate treatment for children with cancer. Sally, Andrew and Skye’s little brother Jesse have worked with astounding courage and energy to promote their campaign Loom to the Moon, inspired by Skye’s curiosity about the number of loom bands it would take to reach the moon. In collaboration with his favourite magician, Simon Says, I’ve written a magical musical based on the campaign, which will tour children’s hospital wards to entertain the patients and draw attention to the charity’s work. Loom to the Moon, the musical, tells the story of Skye’s visit to Simon’s magic shop, and how he finds a way to visit his mum on the moon—with songs, puppets and jaw-dropping magic tricks along the way. Here’s one of the songs from the show, performed by children from Dr Radcliffe’s CE primary school (conducted by Guy Brigg), with me on piano, Dave Hadland on drums and sound recordist Oli Whitworth on bass guitar: