Here are the notes we received from Birgitta (singing tutor) who was invited by our director, Lynn, to come and watch our first stumble through as a way of getting an outside eyes opinion on how the story fits together and how the show is shaping up all round.
Notes on Stumble Run Through
- Loads of really good work within the sections: well done. Overall, find every opportunity to let the audience know how the sections relate to the theme. The balance of the two halves musically is very biased towards act One, and there are huge dialogues in Act Two which are out of kilter with the much more fragmented script of act one. Can you move some musical numbers to later and some dialogue into act one without spoiling the threads? Thread-wise the lesbian scenario is underserved, with only 2 appearances that I could see.
- I would reiterate the need for the performers onstage who are not involved with the performance piece, to help the audience know where to look.
- Experiment with using the introduction of the musical numbers as underscore under the dialogues.
- Posh boys need to be really posh.
- Opening Emma: pitching needs work (singing in tune). Jack: clearer diction/ explore and maintain character. Wandering feet! More physical energy will help with the top notes.
- Sian…lead-in to song needs clarification (Lynn: we’re on the case, don’t worry.) Use speech quality for lower notes: enjoy voice flip over break. Nice vocal delivery overall.
- Charlie’s Angels – make sure you all really characterise.
- Chloe: clear opening: very charming, but is that the point? It remained charming where there is scope for HUGE enjoyment of the evilness, both in character and the way you use your voice. You flit around the stage a lot: experiment with a more anchored characterisation, more deliberate, and make more of the jokes in the lyrics.
- Jess solo…needs a better lead-in. (Lynn: this is being solved so don’t worry) Great choice of song, beautifully delivered. Take care with pitch in rising passages, and relax jaw…sing in a mirror to see where your mouth is wider open than it really needs to be. Clearer diction.
- Sophia..this will be fine with a track. Well done.
- Hannah’s Monologue: I loved this. Terrific diction and vocal colours/ calibration.
- Bring On The Men…needs work! The opening bit doesn’t need all to be sung. It’s fragmented: find a way to speak it while delivering it with truckloads of character. “play” with the posh boys…caress, fiddle with ties, and then when you sing “So let’s bring on the men” reject the boys… I don’t understand who is singing what, and why they are singing it. This should be a knockout raucous number, and it’s weak wioth so many solos. Everyone – dancers included – should sing the chorus. The bridge (just before “the perfume and the prick”) can be pairs or a small group. “Prick” needs to be coarse and offensive.
- For me, the whole thing is too cute and playful. Use the choreography to bring a raunchy, girl-power strength to the number. Think big and bold. And SING WITH THE BACKING TRACK LOADS>..the timings are quite tricky.
- I really felt there was way too much spoken stuff in comparison with Act One. Can you move some stuff backwards? Is it appropriate to have a bit of background music occasionally behind dialogue to keep the nightclub atmosphere?
- Swan Lake was lovely but I didn’t get the sinner-saint connection. (Don’t worry, as we know the costume will help with this – plus we’ll write an intro that will help)
- Rehearsal note: Beth please hold your focus on the stage. It’s really unnerving for an observer to keep having you catch their eye.
- Duologue about E’s…ended a bit bizarrely. Clearly delivered (wasn’t sure about the meaning of Rules till much later in the piece: a bit earlier would have been clearer). Nice characterisation.
- “phone” recording…great characterisation all around. Diction not always very clear from the interviewer until she started to work with Douglas. What was the line about “Box Office Deaf”?
- Tom/Beth. Tom, project the more delicate parts. This was a superb bit of Acting Through Song from both of you.
- Beata Maria: great singing. I felt it needed to gradually emerge from the scene, rather than Scott just standing up and singing (maybe subtle lighting change so posh boys don’t have to leave). I feel that Scott needs to be more entranced/ more compelled by his Sinner Side. (Again, we’ll be smoothing the entrance/exit to the number with clearer Jimmy intro)
- Sophia/ Jess…great choice of song, voices match well. Sophia really really learn harmony. Or switch with Jess. Jess, beautiful descant. More staging? (We’ve since talked about this in the meeting )
- I wondered if the finale could feature characters who have been involved with each other relating to each other more, and referring to their past/ present situations. Although it’s fine staged chorally like this, I wonder if that would give the audience a chance to look back and remember some moments and characters from the show. (Again, we talked about this in the afternoon meeting didn’t we.) Harmonies…good start but need much more refining.
Hope it all goes really well! Such a lot of hard work has gone into it…