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Murder For Two Rehearsal Diary: Week One

Following the first week of rehearsals for our first production of our 50th Anniversary Season, Assistant Director Chloe France shines a light on Murder For Two as it takes shape in the rehearsal room.

Murder For Two rehearsals have kicked off this week with plenty of piano, a lot of singing and a smattering of razzle dazzle. Having indulged in bank holiday goodness at the start of the week we gathered on Tuesday to begin rehearsals. First up the designer, Gabriella Slade, shared her model box with us. Along with the director, Luke Sheppard, she revealed to the cast, creative team and Watermill staff that our production of Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair’s musical will take its aesthetic inspiration from the monochrome underworld of film noir. Gabriella’s designs perfectly capture a show which the writers summarise as “Agatha Christie done by the Marx Brothers”. I cannot wait to see Gabriella’s set and costume designs realised at the tech!

After a read/sing through – which our actors Ed MacArthur and Jeremy Legat very gamely threw themselves into – we got stuck into putting the show on its feet. Murder For Two is nothing if not a workout for those on stage. Between them, Ed and Jeremy play thirteen parts across the show, as well as performing twenty-four songs. An instrumental member of the team is musical director and co-sound designer, Tom Attwood, who keeps Ed and Jeremy on the straight and narrow in the sea of allegro, rubato and calando. The beauty of the Murder For Two score is that each piece draws from multiple musical references and genres. The songs feel both excitingly novel and reassuringly familiar, and are woven beautifully into the storytelling.

With only two cast members Luke is careful to keep the structure of the day flexible: mixing up staging, musical note bashing, and consolidating as much as possible – so as not to exhaust ourselves on one activity. Battling the – ever present – elements in the Watermill rehearsal room has been a challenge this week: one we have bravely combatted with some 90s hip-hop backed warm ups and morning yoga sessions. Things took a turn up yesterday, however, when the room became a hive of activity during lunchtime. Whilst the piano was expertly tuned, a sizzlingly effective new radiator was also installed. Thus our Saturday morning rehearsal was pleasingly sub-tropical. We look forward to a productive, and toasty, commencement to proceedings next week.

Murder For Two opens on Thursday 26 January and runs until Saturday 25 February. For more information and tickets click here.