Desk by day. Jazz hands by night.I love musical theatre. I always have. Anyone who knows me can vouch for this fact. As a 16 year old, I decided a career in the spotlight wasn’t for me and left it behind with a step, heel-click and a shuffle.
Back in October, I established that singing in the shower wasn’t cutting it anymore and I pined to be back on a stage… That’s when I found Southey Musical Theatre Company.
After mulling it over for a few weeks, I decided to sign myself up for two rehearsals a week on top of my usual workload here at MK – as if I didn’t have enough on, right?
The production is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a musical I thoroughly enjoyed back in my journo days when I caught it at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre in 2015. The story of two con artists who’re trying to con the beautiful, if a little ditsy, Christine Colgate when she holidays to Beaumont-Sur-Mer – a picturesque town on the French Riviera. It’s rude, crude, spontaneous and a wonderfully glamourous homage to the golden age of musicals. Think big numbers, lots of glitz and plenty of twists and turns.
Honestly? I expected to be put in the ensemble, right at the back with just a taps-and-snaps only rule applied to me. How wrong I was. Southey is a family, it’s Sheffield’s longest running am-dram group and some members have been involved for decades and when anyone steps through the door to rehearsals each week, it’s a wave of greetings, jokes and laughs.
That’s what I love most about the theatre community; it isn’t that we’re a bunch of adults who play warm up games (though that comes a close second), it isn’t the applause from the audience after each number – it’s the friends you make when you’re part of such a close-knit group. They rapidly become friends you count on, friends you see outside of rehearsals and friends for life…and I love that.
Southey, incidentally, is where I met Ben [pictured above…no, they aren’t his real ears] – we were both newbies at their annual Meet & Greet in November and became total pals right away. A perfect example of the amazing ways in which theatre has the power to bring folks together – now he’s my mate date whenever I need a pint and a quiz at Bungalows & Bears or a maccies after work.
It’s hard work; I won’t lie. Working a full time job and attending two to three late rehearsals a week is tiring but the exhilarating feeling when we all hit the correct harmony is amazing and makes it all worthwhile.
It’s well-worth seeing, in my honest opinion…aside from the fact I’m in it. We perform at the Montgomery Theatre from the 10th to the 13th of May. If you’re interested then head over to the Southey MTC website for more info.