Towards the Darkness
Since my last update, I've said goodbye to The Addams Family twice. We finished the UK Tour with a 100% total sell-out run in Dartford, with people even purchasing standing room only tickets! The autumn was a punishing schedule of weekly touring doubled-up with rehearsals for the Singapore leg, but ultimately a LOT of fun.
We said our goodbyes to the three cast members and seven musicians who left the show at that point, and then I had a few days away from the show before my flight left for Singapore. I squeezed in a couple more visits to Matilda as I continue to prep for rehearsals, learning all about how the show was put together and seeing how the show runs from a conducting perspective.
For Addams Family Singapore, there were quite a few unknowns facing us on our arrival. How different would the new set be? How would the in-house lighting and sound systems provided differ from what our technical teams had been used to? What would the typical audience reaction be? And, for me, how would my new band of seven local musicians fare with a very involved musical score?
This was my second visit to Singapore. Exactly ten years before, I had been there with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for a six-week run. For that, though, we had shipped all the equipment and used a mostly UK band. On my arrival this time, I had a couple of days to acclimatise before the technical rehearsals began, so I had a look around to see what familiar sights I could find... the answer was: not many! The skyline has dramatically changed and Marina Bay had risen out of the sea, upon which they had built an extravagant hotel and gardens. I did, however, find my old theatre, the Esplanade, which thankfully hadn't appeared to have changed one bit.
This time around we were playing the MES Theatre @ Mediacorp, a Silicon Valley-style area about 20 minutes drive from the Central Business District. It's not really a touristy or residential area and, as the theatre had only been open for a year and was hosting its first musical with The Addams Family, they were banking on the show to build a fanbase for the venue. The stage was so big they had ordered a replica set to be built to bigger specifications! Once the automated flying system began to behave, the show settled in nicely and looked gorgeous in that theatre.
The new band massively stepped up to the challenge of readying themselves for the show after just three days' rehearsal. I had sent across a recording of the previous tour for them to prep from, which they did (rather extravagantly in some ways, even picking up on certain ad libs and interspersing them into their own playing), and the hard work totally paid off. Everyone who came to see the show commented on how extraordinarily good it sounded, and overall the planets aligned to make the three-week run a fantastic honeymoon send-off for a brilliant tour.
Away from the show, there was much more freedom than in previous weeks to enjoy my time. The band knew all the best eateries and drinkeries, introducing me to some fantastic cultural delicacies and finding me the best Murtabak (an indian dish of stuffed prata that I ate extensively ten years back) in the land. I revisited the Zoo & Night Safari, also checking out the newly opened River Safari. We were given a travel card that worked across the country, and I loved getting buses and trains to different parts of Singapore to have an explore. And, of course, I spent the sunnier days relaxing by the hotel pool!
The Addams Family played its last performance on Sunday 3rd December and most of us flew back the following night. Some have stayed out in the Far East to continue travelling and exploring. I, however, needed to get back ready to begin the next adventure. Yes, it's time to get into Matilda Mode! I've decided to slowly nudge my body clock back to UK time, which meant I woke up around 4am today, but means I have plenty of morning hours to sort my life out and finish my prep on the Matilda score ready for Monday's opening rehearsals. This month we concentrate on the children's roles. It won't surprise anyone to know they have a LOT to learn, so they have a three-week head start on the adults.
Aside from that, there is of course Christmas to get ready for. I'll once again be joining my parents in their Cheshire abode and this is the first year that I won't be performing a show over the festive period, which gives me a little more time to celebrate with them. I also have quite a list of unwatched West End shows to get through. I already have tickets booked for Hamilton next week, but my plan is to tick a few more off before I leave for Leicester in February.
As the finale number of The Addams Family indicates, that show has now Moved Towards The Darkness and I will miss my kooky clan terribly. But the Miracle that is Matilda awaits and I cannot wait to get started! Have a wonderful December and will speak again at the start of 2018.