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West End’s funny men to bring sisters’ story to life at Kenneth More Theatre

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 July 2016

Boorskale cast rehearsing at the Kenneth More Theatre.
It’s a musical comedy about four widows from a small village and their trial and tribulations.
Paul Ritchie Tonkinson, Patrick Clancy, David Alder, Mark Hutchinson,

Boorskale cast rehearsing at the Kenneth More Theatre. It’s a musical comedy about four widows from a small village and their trial and tribulations. Paul Ritchie Tonkinson, Patrick Clancy, David Alder, Mark Hutchinson,

Archant

A musical director swapping Broadway for Ilford is feeling excited about bringing a comedy with a “black sense of humour” to the borough.

Boorskale cast rehearsing at the Kenneth More Theatre.
It’s a musical comedy about four widows from a small village and their trial and tribulations.
 Steven Day, with Anthony Van Laast.Boorskale cast rehearsing at the Kenneth More Theatre. It’s a musical comedy about four widows from a small village and their trial and tribulations. Steven Day, with Anthony Van Laast.

Speaking to the Recorder as preparations get underway for Boorskale at the Kenneth More Theatre, critically-acclaimed director Anthony Van Laast said the musical comedy was about storytelling and “having a laugh” at the same time.

“I’m really excited – it’s a really original comedy with a bit of a black sense of humour about it,” said Anthony, who has previously worked on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance in the West End.

“I have been lucky in my career to work on big shows but this is a show I really believe in and I think it’s a show that should be seen.”

Boorskale, set in the small fictional village of Boorskale, Derbyshire, centres around the lives of three widowed sisters and their neighbour, who are battling with their septuagenarian lives.

Boorskale cast rehearsing at the Kenneth More Theatre.
It’s a musical comedy about four widows from a small village and their trial and tribulations.
Paul Ritchie Tonkinson, Patrick Clancy, David Alder, Mark Hutchinson, and Steven Day.
Boorskale cast rehearsing at the Kenneth More Theatre. It’s a musical comedy about four widows from a small village and their trial and tribulations. Paul Ritchie Tonkinson, Patrick Clancy, David Alder, Mark Hutchinson, and Steven Day.

“People can expect a really good laugh but it’s a bit of a mystery as well,” said Anthony, who flew in from New York for rehearsals.

“It’s very moving too – it’s about three sisters that get on, but don’t at the same time.”

The director and choreographer, who has worked on West End productions of Sister Act and Mamma Mia!, said comedy was one of his specialities.

“It’s about timing and getting it right,” he added.

“But controlling the four of them can be quite a challenge!”

He said the show would be led by a cast of “very fine singers”, including Vivian Ellis Prize-winning Paul Ritchie Tomkinson, who wrote the musical, and West End regulars David Adler, Patrick Clancy and Mark Hutchinson.

Speaking of the music, Anthony said: “There’s a vaudevillian feel to it, but at the same time there’s some very touching and beautiful ballads.”

The director said he was relishing the chance of putting on performances at the “well-supported” Oakfield Road theatre.

“I really like the theatre here and what [theatre manager] Stephen [Day] is doing here,” said Anthony, who was awarded an MBE in 1999 for services to dance.

“I think there’s a joy that one gets from live theatre that one cannot get from anything else.”

He said it was about giving people the chance to see high quality shows without paying “absolutely ridiculous” West End prices.

“You can come here for about £15 and see an original show with West End stars – it’s absolutely brilliant,” he said.

“People will always want to go and see something they know, but my thing is take a risk and you will have a really good evening.”

The comedy kicks off from September 13, running to September 24.

Performances will run at 7.30pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays, with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees taking place at 2.30pm.

Tickets range from £12 to £18. Call 020 8553 4466 to book.


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