Having written the lyrics to “Blue Briny Sea” Chris kept on writing. The musical “Auditions” arrived in 2015 re-written as “Guardian Angels” in 2016, containing the novely YouTube hit “Holiday In Harwich”. 2017 saw an even bigger YouTube hit in “Felixstowe” and the commencement of writing of a Latin Dance Musical, “La Vida Loca”.
More seriously, 2017 was the 200th Anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, and Chris wrote “Song For Jane Austen” to mark the occasion, and celebrate the legacy Jane left in her dying months, to try and secure her literary reputation in the future. How well she succeeded is evidenced every year by the Regency Parade in Bath, and the 2017 parade provided the images for a further video.
What comes into our minds when in 2019 when we read Jane Austen’s books? Or more particularly, supposing we were a paramedic, and a singer / songwriter in a girl band? Chris imagined a new character he called ANNA, putting herself in the shoes of Charlotte Heywood in 1817. What would she make of her parents agreeing that she should spend a summer at ‘Sanditon’ in the company of eccentric property developer Tom Parker and his wife ? Should she leave her existing security for the excitement of a possible new life? This idea, echoing the Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home” became the first new song, quickly followed by “Shallow”:- Charlotte’s opinion of Sir Edward Denham.
Going through the 2014 play script, retaining the very best of the dialogue, but imagining ANNA turning the rest into songs which explore the characters and situations in greater depth, the big-stage ensemble musical “200 Years Later” Jane Austen’s ‘Sanditon’ as a pop/rock musical gradually emerged.
Of course a new musical goes through many stages of development. Much depends on ones’ ambitions for the piece, the theatre, and the cast available.
The ambition of the piece was to look at Austen’s forward looking novel and work out what we make of it ‘200 Years Later”, seeing what has changed and what has stayed the same:- but above all retaining the satirical comedic nature of the original. We were fortunate in being able to book one night in the Studio of The Other Palace in Victoria, London where the show might have a chance of ‘getting noticed’. For those who might not be able to make it on that night we would ask Aura Films from Colchester to film the performance with three cameras, and edit the results, that we might emulate the experience of the 2014 stage play DVD, that via Amazon, has sold into virtually every country in the world.
The music was always very important, to have Austen’s characters sing their way through the story and tell us more about themselves as people. Fortunately the project had the same team that made such an artistic success of ‘Guardian Angels’; Vicky Clubb as pianist and composer, Fern Teather on rhythm guitar and Sam Thurlow on percussion. The setting became the rehearsal room of ANNA’s band. But would ANNA, played by Fern, have persuaded her pop band to perform her musical based on Jane Austen’s last novel without a fight? Not everybody is a fan of Jane Austen. at least not at first! So enter ANGIE, Fern’s friend and ‘enforcer’ who persuades the band to give Fern’s musical a try.
The initial plan was for a six person actor/musician Narrated Concert version of the show, which has now grown to eleven in the cast and band. The narration has grown to include the very best bits of Austen’s dialogue, an explanation of the plot and its most likely direction, and also the story behind the story of the writing.
The first performance will be in the Studio of “The Other Palace” Theatre in Victoria on Friday 26th July at 8pm, with plans to take it back to the North Essex / South Suffolk Region for a short run.
Rebecca Huish as Charlotte Heywood
(B.A. Musical Theatre, Chichester University – Tui Entertainment)
Marcus Wood as Sidney Parker, Bass Guitar & 2nd Keyboard
(B.A. Acting 7 Stage Combat, East 15)
Angie Diggens as Clara Brereton, Susan Parker, ‘Angie’ & 2nd Keyboard
( ‘Stars In Their Eyes Finalist’, Vocalist in trio ‘Bel Canto’, www.angiediggens.com,)
William Hastings as Tom Parker
(East 15 (2015) Bury Me In Colchester Mud (2016) Corporate Videos)
Emily Bate as Letitia Beaufort, Diana Parker, Mary Parker & Lead guitar
(London School of Musical Theatre)
Elizabeth Brooks as Lady Denham
( Mrs Thatcher. ‘Handbagged’ Criterion Theatre)
Alex Terry as Mr Tracy, Jack Heywood, Arthur Parker, Sir Edward Denham
Trombonist and vocalist, playing many parts in Colchester for ‘CO2’ and ‘Mad Hatter’
Amber Cayasso as Miss Lambe
(Cambridge Performing Arts, Elementz Entertainment)
Vicky Clubb as Mrs Griffiths & 1st Keyboard
Fern Teather as ‘Fern’ & rhythm guitar
(www.fernteather.com Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer half of indie-folk duo ‘Dusky Sunday’ Albums ‘Hiding In The Dark’ (2015) ‘Gradients’ as ‘Dusky Sunday’ (2019)
Sam ‘Bongoboy’ Thurlow as ‘Sam’ & Percussion
(www.soundcloud.com/bongoboyuk Musician, the other half of indie-folk duo ‘Dusky Sunday’
Chris Brindle: Writer, Lyricist, Producer
Vicky Clubb: Composer
Angie Diggens: Director
Cameras: Aura Films, Colchester
Additional composition, David Edward Booth, Louise Byrne
SONGS TITLE SUNG BY
1) “In My Imagination” – ANNA / ANGIE the 21st Century singer/song writer in a girl band
2) “Song For Jane Austen” 21st Century ensemble
3) “Speculation” Tom Parker & Jack Heywood
4) “Opportunity” Charlotte Heywood
5) “Enough In This Place For Me?” Tom Parker, Mary Parker, Charlotte Heywood
6) “How Really Sick We Are” Diane, Arthur and Susan Parker
7) “Books” Members of the Sanditon Subscription Lending Library
8) “Shallow” Charlotte Heywood
9) “Rock Quadrille” Girls in Mrs Griffith’s Finishing School
10) “Isn’t It Obvious” Letitia Beaufort
11) “Blue Briny Sea” Charlotte Heywood & Sidney Parker
12) “Breaking Out” Clara Brereton
13) “Nouveau Riche & Parvenue” Lady Denham
14) “The Life We’re Born Into” Miss Lambe, Charlotte, Clara
15) “Addiction” Sidney Parker & Mr Tracy
16) “Dishonoured” Lady Denham, Sidney & Tom Parker
17) “I Can See The Future” 19th Century ensemble