Preview – Fresher: The Musical
‘There’s also often a certain core group who come to shows in Durham, and we really want to break away from that with Fresher. Absolutely anyone can come along, have a drink from Kingsgate, and enjoy an hour or so of a really funny show’
So Doug, why did you choose Fresher the musical?
We'd seen the show at the Edinburgh Fringe, where it was on for the last two years, and thought it was great. It got loads of five star reviews, editors' picks, sell out awards – name the prize, it got one. It's also got a lot of comedy, which is something I've done a lot of as an actor, but not as a director. Chris Guard (the Musical Director) and I have a special love for small cast musicals. And when something is called 'Fresher: The Musical', how could we possibly resist?
Has it been difficult to direct?
Any musical is difficult to direct, because you have to constantly flip between dialogue and music, and each one requires different styles of direction. We have an absolutely fantastic cast, though, which has made the whole thing a lot easier. I haven't had to worry too much about coaching them on their individual characters – they've just got on and done it – leaving me to focus on blocking and specific moments in scenes. Emma Cave, a choreographer, came in and lent a hand for some bits too, which was a huge help.
Can you briefly summarise the story?
Ally, Basil, Hayley, Rupert and Tuc all arrive for their first day of uni, and introduce themselves to one another. Ally is spoilt and pushy, but isn't really a bad person. Basil is geeky and quiet, but has a secret to hide. Hayley is a shy Northern girl who feels intimidated by Ally. Rupert is a wealthy day schooler who thinks he's quite gangsta. And Tuc is a bit of a lad from the East End. Their freshers week gets off to a good start, with drinking games and flirting all around (mostly between Ally and Tuc). As the week goes on, though, they start to get on each others' nerves and their tempers start to fray. It's the story of most peoples' freshers' week.
Why have you chosen to stage it in the DSU?
It's a show about uni life, and we wanted to make it accessible to everyone. There's no more appropriate place for a show about freshers than the Students Union. There's also often a certain core group who come to shows in Durham, and we really want to break away from that with Fresher. Absolutely anyone can come along, have a drink from Kingsgate, and enjoy an hour or so of a really funny show.
What does the show offer to our current freshers?
I wouldn't say it offers more to freshers than to anyone else, but perhaps they will be reliving their freshers' weeks more vividly when they watch the show. Working on it has certainly taken me back a long way. At its most basic, it's a really funny show with some great music.
Do you have a philosophy of acting and directing you could summarise for us?
I think the important thing with student theatre is to enjoy yourself while doing it, although, as the cast would tell you, that doesn't mean I step off the gas in rehearsals. If the cast are having a great time, it usually translates into a great show as well. Luckily, with a show like this, where the music is so energetic, and there are so many laughs, it's quite easy to love every minute of it.
Where can we find more information about the show?
See the links to the FB page (with video diaries from the freshers):
And the FB event:
Venue: DSU, Fonteyn Ballroom
Performances: 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th February, 8pm
Tickets: £6 (FULL), £5.50 (Conc.), £5 (DST)