Tuesday, May 06, 2014

First Night Reflections - Pirates of Penzance with Eastbourne G&S

Tonight is the opening night of Eastbourne G&S’s Pirates of Penzance, and I shall be playing Mabel – the leading lady. I joined the cast after someone else dropped out, only a month or so ago, and have crammed like mad to learn the part. It’s been 20 years since I performed in a show (not counting the odd concert or wedding) and I find it hard to believe where the time has gone. In those years (since Die Fledermaus with EODS in 1994), a lot has happened. I’ve been to university, had four different partners and married one of them, moved to London, Brighton and back to Eastbourne again, I’ve worked in bookshops, publishing, social media and beauty, lost two close contemporaries to cancer, become an auntie, bought a flat and now a house, and travelled to dozens of countries. But amongst all that, I have missed singing. I should say, I’ve never actually stopped singing – to myself around the house, in the car, while out shopping, and jamming with friends – but there’s nothing like the thrill of a paying/willing audience to reward one’s efforts.


As I warm up my rusty vocal cords this afternoon, I'm doing my best to channel Ben and Rose - my great-grandparents – who met as opera singers in the D’Oyly Carte. Thanks to them I have grown up with a love of Gilbert & Sullivan - having the hits sung to me by my mum, and learning many arias myself to perform in festivals and concerts. With all that familial sway, it amazes me that I have reached my thirties before actually performing in a full-blown G&S show. But here I am, limbering up for a week of piratical adventures, complete with tongue twisting lyrics and breath-defying cadenzas. I’m excited and nervous in equal measure, but wasn't that always the case?

Ben & Rose Williams
If you’d like to witness my theatrical comeback, tickets are on sale from Eastbourne Theatres and we are performing from tonight until Saturday, with matinees on Weds and Sat. You can sneak a little preview by watching the video above, of a promotional sing the cast did in Eastbourne town centre last weekend.