Director Lucy Stewart and star Ellie Birch chat to us about The Pajama Game
In the lead up to the opening of PPA's The Pajama Game , we had a chat with Director Lucy Stewart and graduating actor Ellie Birch (Katherine 'Babe' Williams) as they prepare to whisk us back ot the golden age of musical theatre...
What are you looking forward to the most about bringing The Pajama Game to the Yvonne Arnaud?
Lucy: I think it’s the first time the company are going to a big professional theatre all together so that’s quite exciting and the kind of show that it is, it’s quite exuberant, bright, quite thrilling and funny. So I’m looking forward to bringing that.
Ellie: For me this is the first show we’ve done this year where it’s the entire year group, which for me is just so exciting. Some people I haven’t worked with since the first or second year of training properly, it’s so nice to work with them all together. As Lucy was saying, it’s just like a family which makes it so special.
Have you had much involvement with the Yvonne Arnaud before?
Lucy: Yes! In fact, a couple of years ago I was there with Sweet Charity. I was still involved for quite a few years off and on with them and certainly performed in it many years ago. I like to pop in for the occasional play or a show, or just for a coffee because it’s such a lovely theatre.
Ellie: I’ve been living in Guildford for the last four years. I worked here on last year’s show, ‘The Producers’, as the wardrobe mistress. So I’ve done work there and I also saw Sweet Charity, so I’ve seen quite a few productions – bits and bobs.
Can you tell us a bit about what our audience members might expect from The Pajama Game?
Lucy: I think it’s a typical golden age musical theatre show. It’s got some fantastic numbers in it, like ‘Steam Heat’, ‘Hey There’, ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’ – iconic numbers which whisk you back to the 1950’s beautifully.
Ellie: It’s light-hearted yet a bit gritty as well. It’s fun, exciting and it’s just a great show, they can expect a great show.
What would you say makes PPA productions special?
Lucy: We are a very family friendly school/college and we bring warmth and generosity to our productions. It’s real high calibre work!
Ellie: Just the way how everybody in the creative team works together and just want’s the best out of it. It’s a really fun process and we get a great result. That makes the shows really special.
Have there been any particularly memorable or funny stand-out moments during the rehearsal process so far?
Lucy: Well we are currently in technical rehearsals so we are working with scenery and set at the moment. Someone nearly fell off the set earlier – not very far off the ground though so that was quite funny! Through our rehearsal process we had animal study work which was hilarious having all the company running around like animals. We’ve had one of our company members write a newsletter every week called ‘The Scoop’, which brings in all the gossip about the company and the characters. So we get that and can read that and see what relationships are going on, and who is stealing what from the factory, so that is quite fun.
Ellie: There have been a few moments where we have had a few near disasters. It’s fine, but it was so funny. The cast members running around as animals – that’s just really funny to work with, and there’s a knife throwing sequence! It’s just a funny script so actually just watching people perform it is funny in itself.
Do you have any final comments to anyone who might be reading this to encourage them to come along?
Lucy: If you want a good old night at the theatre with fantastic choreography, beautiful music and just a witty, funny, show that will make you smile – then this is the show to come to.
Ellie: It’s just such a good show, it’s really fun. It’s moving in parts, it’s just a really fun show and it’s a classic so I’d say it’s great!
The Pajama Game runs from Tuesday 11 - Saturday 15 June. Book now!