Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Director's wife's blog - Merchant of Vembley

Director’s wife’s blog:

Today I visited the Cockpit Theatre in Gateforth Street down Marylebone-ish way to hang out with my (new) director husband, the actors, and around half of the creative team behind Merchant of Vembley, the brave, funny and thought-provoking new play hitting town NEXT WEEK!

I was there today to watch a run-through of MoV for the first time – exciting! And imbibe the theatrical vibe (although some might argue that I'm theatrical enough. No comment). I soon found myself getting stuck in, in my very specific and specialised role of Sort-Of-Production-Type-Person.

Anyway first thing was first and after my brisk walk from St John's Wood (it was a beautiful, sunny day and wanted some exercise) during which I paused only to marvel at the absurd sight of tourists causing tailbacks by posing in the middle of the Beatle's zebra crossing on Abbey Road.  It was important to pick up the Director’s lunch (and more importantly actually my coffee) from the fab and very cheap Lebanese takeaway around the corner.

When I got to the theatre, the photographer was in full flow shooting evocative stills outside, against a surprisingly pleasing brick wall. It was windy so it was good I was there to straighten outfits, smooth fringes and make helpful suggestions about heads on chests for young lovers and hands on hips for fierce teens (no, nothing to do with Real Housewives). 

I also did a pretty good job of helping Layla with her Hijab. I did consider going back to the Lebanese place to ask the nice lady who was waiting for a chicken kofta sandwich if she could come and help with this particular job but in the end we managed with the help of youtube and a selection of bobby and safety pins. I don’t want to say too much about costumes as I don’t want to give spoiler alerts!

The show is looking really very good and for me having been there with Ajay when he was auditioning, and having sat in on early readings, it is utterly fascinating to see, months later, how he has nurtured his talented cast and how, together, they are capturing us with the contemporary London story of Merchant of Vembley (based on Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice) and making the effervescent language in Shishir Kurup’s funny, fiery and many-layered script fizz and crackle on stage.

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