RAISING THE CURTAIN – “So Musicals…” by Olly Fry

“Bit Pitchy, try projecting from the bottom”

So Musicals….

London Tourists, Drama Students and Lin Manuel-Miranda love them, others may hear one note from “Defying Gravity” and run for the nearest exit. Parents may associate it with singing Frozen songs on many a long car journey and some… may just not be bothered.

Whatever your stance, I can say this for sure, every year the Island puts on LOADS of these things! They draw big crowds in, they have big casts so more people audition for them, they really allow set designers and directors to go completely mad in their creative vision. In my own experiences I’ve seen an entire Jewish Temple constructed from nothing more then Scaffolding, MDF and sellotape, a huge carnivorous plant and even a flying carpet. They are designed to wow and project huge emotion and drama through Dance, Acting and in my case, attempting to mouth a tune while waving my arms a bit… maybe that’s what got me a part in Theatretrain’s production of “The Addams Family“. (coming soon April 12th/13th and 14th, tickets on sale at Medina)

They are a big deal from start to finish, often they have long rehearsal cycles, learning the songs, blocking the songs, blocking the scene, blocking where the blocks are gonna be. The amount of work that goes into making these is incredible and every company on the Isle is lucky enough to have a team of carpenters and technicians that off their own back and in their own time, create such brilliant pieces of work here on the Isle.

The on stage bit can sometimes be the easiest bit, least as long as you are prepared. So for those of you who maybe are toying with auditioning for one, how’s about a little story on what you can expect both on and off stage… and a few do’s and don’ts. I was lucky enough to be cast as Seymour in “Little Shop of Horrors“. For those of you that may know the musical, there’s a scene where my character is threatened by a very psychotic dentist and, in the confusion, the dentist accidentally dies due to overdosing on laughing gas… hmm conventional.

Seymour is supposed to have a gun where he threatens said dentist… least he would have if he hadn’t left it on the props table backstage… alongside another THREE GUNS TO CHOOSE FROM!!! (Facepalm).

“Little Shop of Horrors”… Olly (far right) with gun in hand!

Crikey then… how to bring some measure of threat into the scene? Could I break script and say I drove to the dentist in a tank? I eventually had to settle with sticking my fingers in a gun-like shape, stuff them in my jacket and in my soft nerdy NYC Bronx accent, appear to tell the rotter to leave Audrey alone!

… Rest assured the rest of the cast weren’t what I call sympathetic….. But if you put in the effort, like so many others do when putting one of these big productions together, months later as the curtain closes on your last show. You’ll turn to the crowd of people around you that once were a room of strangers and see tears, hugs and pat’s on the back galore!!

It’s a great experience to create something on such a big canvas, give it a shot and get belting out some “Supercallafragalisticexpeallydocious” … maybe not at work….

by Olly Fry


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