Easing on down the road

After the show finally came to its tumultuous conclusion on Saturday night amid standing ovations, tears, speeches, hugs and kisses etc the party started.  And what a party.  First at The Church Hill for a quick drink then down to the Trinity Rugby Club until 2 or so.  But the real fun started in the rehearsal rooms.  Between 50 and 100 of us Mums, Dads, juniors (but only if their parents were there) young and old alike.  Gradually the hard core emerged and this Youtube clip is of the song of the night.  At first I thought this FCT anthem was awful but after hearing it ten times, dancing on the chairs in the face of an incessant smoke machine and whooping and hollering it became a firm favourite.

Witnessing the kids screaming Lu-do-vic at poor old Vic as he danced on the chairs was a monumental laugh too.

As the sun split the sky at 9.30 am we headed away to Clairty’s to continue the party, dancing our way down Craighall Road singing “Ease on down the Road”  by now we were down to the last 20 or so.  Apparently we serenaded poor old Marcella and her man through her letterbox.

Then after another drink or two we staggered into Porto and Fi for breakfast before visiting Newhaven Harbour.

I was met by my sister’s fella at 2pm and taken to Corstorphine Hill where I became the subject of a bit of egg rolling…

Of course I fell asleep at Jane’s and was subjected to ritual humiliation.


Now, I know I have a party animal reputation but this way beyond my experience.  But a night of pure joy following a week of the same was, for me at least a valid reward.

And now… the verdict!

What, only five starts from the Evening News?  Now, I have to say I’m getting fed up of being called old.  First ‘pops’ then an advertising veteran and now an actor ‘no longer in the first flushes of youth.’  Is it a conspiracy?

Last night was an immense experience culminating in a standing ovation.  Really, you had to be there…  And you know what?  We’re sold out (apart from a few tickets left for Saturday afternoon).


FCT: Ya Beauty *****, Churchill Theatre

KIDS get short shrift these days. It’s almost as if the rest of society wants them to loiter in bus shelters, just so they are to able to say those immortal words, ‘I told you so’ whenever things go wrong.
If today’s teenagers are often singled out as being lazier, less educated and ruder than any generation that came before them, anyone sitting in the Churchill Theatre last night may beg to differ on the evidence presented by the Forth Children’s Theatre as they staged their 30th anniversary show.

For any criticism of modern youngsters would be to pay the hard work, tenacity and talent of the kids in the FCT a complete disservice, particularly when some of their choral numbers could only be described as West End worthy.

To celebrate three decades of song, dance and youthful enthusiasm, the FCT have brought together a 70-strong cast, made up of children and music from every generation of the company, to perform an assortment of their favourite show tunes.

While some of the original children, such as Mark Gorman, son of late FCT founder Peter Gorman, and Geraldine DePonio may no longer be in the first flush of youth, they certainly made up for their relative decrepitude with a host of nostalgic on stage antics.

Sadly, however, the age and experience of a misspent adulthood proved no match for youth and exuberance though, and the group’s teenage members left many of their elders in the dust.

While seasoned actors Greg Sinclair, as an adorably geeky Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors, and Kerry-Ann Rae, as Annie’s devious Miss Hannigan, showed the young upstarts how a few years of further education will help develop a gift; It was the 10 to 20 age group that really dazzled on the stage.

Displaying a worrying lack of first-night nerves, the cast launched into a diverse blend of big numbers only minutes into the first act.

Covering some of musical theatre’s most challenging and popular songs they deftly worked their way through Jekyll and Hyde’s Façade, The Boyfriend’s Never Too Late and Oh! What a Lovely War’s emotive and moving Keep The Home Fires Burning.

Ensemble piece, The Ballad of Sweeny Todd, showcased superbly the ability of the group to utilise the vocal and acting ability of adult cast members while enticing excellent performances from the younger players in the chorus.

With a large female cast, many of the set pieces were designed specifically for several outstanding young sopranos.

Not to be outdone, the boys surprised with mature and expressive performances, Matthew Smith and Ronan Radin standing out.

An honourable mention must also go to Andrew Dyer’s Lucio from Romeo and Juliet. His was a lesson in introducing Shakespeare that many English teachers might wish to take note of.

A directorial team, taking turns in directing and choreographing each sequence, kept the segments of the show flowing effortlessly into one and other, although an obvious lack of rehearsal time in the auditorium meant that the some of the opportunities to use the space more effectively were lost.

Let’s just hope that none of these kids get their big break too soon, thus depriving Edinburgh’s amateur theatre of some wonderful up and coming talent.

And so the time time has come and now i face the primal curtain…


The day has arrived.

We took ownership, however briefly, of the Church Hill Theatre tonight and had our first run, in the studio theatre.  Tomorrow we do our technical run at 10.30.  Dress at 2.30 and open at 7.30.  We’re ready.  The rehearsals on Sunday, last night and tonight have all built on each other and started from a good place.  It’s getting pretty tight all round I have to say.  (Although one of my numbers – Get me to the Church on Time from My Fair Lady happily calls for rumbustuousness and a lack of overall discipline!)

The show with the exception of the Sat Mat is, to all intent and purpose, sold out.  As I predicted. And the Saturday matinee is half sold and will no doubt fill up quickly now as the latecomers realise that when we said we thought the nights would sell out it wasn’t just us making it up.

If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket (and believe me you will count yourself lucky) you are in for a spellbinding evening’s entertainment.

I count myself blessed and privileged beyond belief to be part of this.  Felix McLaughlin who just came up from Cardiff on Sunday to join the final rehearsals was dumbstruck by the depth and quality of talent on show.  I’m not talking about me and my generation here I’m talking about the current and just ‘graduated’ cast who have talent in extreme.  And the directing team, choreographer and musical direction team have to be seen to be believed.

The impact this show has had on me will never be repeated in my life.  I feel sure of that because it is truly a one off, truly a labour of extraordinary love.

My father would not only have got ‘the tingles’ as he called it.  He would have been swept away in a tidal wave of emotion which is exactly what will happen to our audiences because, on the whole, their lives have been so positively influencd by the wonderful work of FCT and this is, after all, the best of FCT.

I keep coming back to the greatest thing of all;  membership is a mere £3 – for the year – which includes the opportunity of being in a 10 night run on the Fringe PLUS a show like this and we’ve never had even so much as a penny of public sector funding.

FCT is immense and this  joyous photo from the rehearsals sums it all up for me.

This is FCT!


On stage from tomorrow night

We go into the theatre tonight and one of the highlights of the show is our version of Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim.

I hope it’s better than this pish.  But you can be the judge of that if you’re coming to see it.

Big thanks to Geraldine for sourcing this vid.

Mind you, this is pish too and it’s what I used initially to learn it.  It’s a pure feckin’ howler man.