After our initial sharing we interviewed Jessica Last, a student on the musical theatre course who is also working on the TIE project and thus has a good insight into the components that will make a good show. In a whole I agreed with the majority of her opinions and I was really pleased that she enjoyed the story and characters but also that she understood the learning outcome and the educational focus of the piece and could take something away from the show as well as being entertained.
She explained how she loved the comedic elements such as the jokes and relationship between ESC and Morgan, in particularly the scene where Daytona and josh try to climb through the window. I was pleased with this as when writing the piece and the characters I wanted to establish a fun and playful feel to the show so to keep the children engaged but also so that they children would know from the beginning that they didn’t have to be afraid of Morgan and ESC as they were funny characters.
Jess also confirmed that the relationships between character were strong, which I think was important to continue to develop over the process. Harry and I had been working on trying to portray Isabella and Sherlock as best friends and I’m glad this had started to come through in our performance. Jess offered some constructive feedback and her opinion around the idea we created of Sherlock only talking around Isabella and having to switch back to ‘dog mode’ when Granny enters. She picked up on the fact we took inspiration from the famous idea of toys coming to life when no one can see them, just like in the film ‘Toy Story’ when the toys play ‘Andy’s coming’. However, she suggested that Harry looked at how he sat when Granny was in the scene and was supposed to be presenting himself as a dog, as it wasn’t always clear and distinguishable between his physicality in each situation. Despite this, she expressed that she agreed that it wad good we didn’t have Harry on his hands and knees when playing the dog as it was too cliché and also empathised with how difficult it was to find a compromise between the two states. Nevertheless, we will be sure to work on this over the next few weeks and try and develop certain character traits of Harry’s physicality of Sherlock.
She also feedback that she thought the children would really enjoy the ESC’s ‘Morgannnn’ catch phrase as it reminded her of when children get told off by their parents and the feeling when you know your about to get in trouble. She also went on to express that after a while as an audience member you began guessing when the ESC might be about to say it again and it became quite comedic. It was really nice to hear a positive response on this as I was worried that people might think it was too aggressive or come across as mean rather than funny, so this was a relief to hear! When Harry asked how she felt about the Mrs Dollysmith scene, the feedback we received was just as we expected and confirmed how vital the things we had tried working on with Leah are. Jess said that she thought Leah’s accents need to be worked on and sustained throughout the scenes as it became confusing at times to hear what she was saying and the voice became distracting. She also picked up on Harry’s lines being slightly difficult to decipher at times due to the voice he was using, and particularly noticed this on the word ‘florist’, which needed to clearer, as she originally wasn’t sure whether he was just mispronouncing ‘forest’ or not. Jess also expressed her concern that the children might not know what ‘florist’ means and suggested that we might want to choose a different occupation or at least explain what a florist is. We will be sure to take this on board and find a way of keeping Harry’s voice but make sure the audience can hear what he is actually saying, so that vital dialogue isn’t misheard, as well as taking on board the idea of explaining what a florist is (as I’d rather not change the occupation).
Jess commented on our staging a few times, saying that she thought the blocking was smooth and highlighted the part where Harry and I walk round the outside and walk down the centre isle because as an audience member she wasn’t expecting it and it added excitement and variety to what was happening.
Ultimately the majority of feedback we got from Jess was really positive and highlighted how well we had worked as a company to achieve what we have done -although obviously we will go away and work on the parts that she felt weakened our performance. I was so happy to hear that Jess thought our show was her favourite out of all of the TE groups as it was a fun and lively show that ran smoothly and she felt it was easily sellable. She admitted that she was a little apprehensive a first as it was about maths, however because of how fun and imaginative the show and characters were it became irrelevant that it was about maths, but regardless of this she acknowledged that there was a lot of information to take in and learn but in a good way that wouldn’t overwhelm the children.