Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Speciality acts required

We've spent a couple of highly entertaining days in a cottage in Wales going through notes, books and music in preparation for auditions in October. One thing that has become evident is that we'd dearly love to include at least a couple of 'speciality acts' - besides all our singers or monologue performers, any of the skills below would be very useful:

Magic / illusions

For example, Albert Rebla (it's a palindrome) can be found demonstrating his skill here:

We'll continue to source ideas for songs and monologues, well known and completely obscure, so obviously you don't need to have one of these more unusual skills to take part; but if you can do any of these things, don't hide your light under a bushel!

We don't think we're likely to include Zampi the one-legged gymnast or The Baldwin Cat - Renowned Parachutist (both genuine acts at the Argyle Music Hall, Birkenhead, in the 1880s); but at the Barn, anything could happen...

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Thoughts for auditionees

Having had a few enquiries about the show, we've had some more thoughts and wanted to explain ourselves a bit better.

We need to know from the auditions whether you are a good music-hall style performer. This might mean a good singer, good character actor, good comedian, or even a speciality act.

While the numbers you'll be asked to perform in the show will need to be in the period we've specified - 1880 to WW1 - there's no reason why you can't audition using an item which is out of that period, as long as you know that we won't get you to perform it in the finished article. Likewise, you may know a 1920s or 1930s number which will show us what you can do in this style - which is all we need!

For example, the works of Flanders & Swann have a lot in common with this tradition, although their work is all 1950s and later. I've personally performed Have Some Madeira, M'Dear on many occasions, and it sounds for all the world as though it might have come from the halls at the turn of the century; but it's in fact some 50 years later. Likewise, the splendid Marrow Song ('Oh, What A Beauty') is also 1950s, but is often found in modern music hall recreations. And how about things like Flash, Bang Wallop from the musical Half A Sixpence? Pure Edwardian entertainment.

Our point is that if you already know such songs and have the music, don't sweat finding a song of the right era for audition purposes. Use what you know if it will demonstrate your performance skills appropriately. Of course, if you find a number, and a character, which is of the right era, then you may well end up doing it in the show anyway!

Don't forget to check out our YouTube playlist of suggestions - and equally, to use the 'suggested links' that will appear of songs and performances in the same style. And give us a shout to ask if we have the music for a number that takes your fancy.

We hope to see you at audition!