Musical helps homeless charities

The Invention of Baked Beans is a new musical from Detail Dance Company ''Photo by Natalie French
The Invention of Baked Beans is a new musical from Detail Dance Company ''Photo by Natalie French

Cuckney-based Detail Dance Company is currently in the middle of its run at Mansfield Palace Theatre.

The group will be performing the brand new musical The Invention Of Baked Beans at the venue until Saturday (September 12). This includes a matinee performance tomorrow (Friday) at 1.30pm.

Detail Dance Company’s Georgina Rixon explains more about the group and the show.

“We’re incredibly lucky to have such a great team of people working together. Between them they face the incredible challenge of taking a single inspiration - this year, a tin of baked beans - and turning that idea into an original stage show with often many obstacles and problems to overcome along the way.

“For those who aren’t followers of our shows, our production company started seven years ago and was originally called Potty Players, named after the late Joyce Potts, who ran the local Post Office in Cuckney.

“This was a valued and central meeting point in the village, especially for the elderly. Closure was announced and imminent, so the women of the village teamed together to try and save it, making a Calendar Girls-style calendar and raising money from its sale for the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance in the process.

“Unfortunately the efforts did not maintain the establishment but it did unite a team of people. From then, the group expanded and we performed a charity pantomime. Since then we have done a production every year for a worthy cause.

“We then developed to writing original musicals, and I teamed up with Jacob Savage, a very talented young musician from Mansfield, and we produced Song Of Soloman. Jacob then left to go to Leeds College Of Music but not before introducing me to my current writing partner Aaron Curcher, a former Garibaldi student who at the time was only 16.

“Aaron, a very talented and versatile musician took on the challenge of writing a full musical and producing it alongside me. Aaron and I have worked together for four years producing four musicals and two pantomimes, and numerous cabarets, the last one - Rapunzel And The Great Stink - a complete sellout at the Library Theatre Mansfield.

“Detail Dance Company is a small and unusual dance school/production company based in the heart of Welbeck Estate. I am from a theatrical family, my mother an actress and father heavily involved in set design and build all his life, I have lived theatre.

“I trained at Phil Winston’s Theatreworks , but then became injured and totally heartbroken but in rather serendipitous circumstances my dance school grew. We have 98-100 percent distinction rate in all our exams and we endeavour to work to a high standard. With many students wanting to work professionally and having been nominated for the International Dance Teachers Association as outstanding in their graded exams. As I can no longer dance, I am driven to give the students every opportunity to embrace the wealth of great experience one can gain through live theatre and finding a passion.

“The set has been an enormous task this year. With our budget being fairly non-existent as always and no space to operate, making a set on this scale can be a real nightmare. Undeterred by lack of funds and space, the Detail set department soldier on, rain hail, blow or snow.

“Working outside at all hours often setting lights up so they can see. To try to expand on previous design ideas we have ventured this year into using animatronics in the Humpty Dumpty egg and the Crocodile, taking advice from radio control expert Jamie Oscroft who has given his time and loaned us some equipment. I am incredibly proud of the set and what as been achieved, with unrelenting determination, one of the key themes of the show “where there’s will there’s a way” they didn’t let what they didn’t have stop them.

“Making the most of all they had at their disposal and having witnessed some of the heartbreaks of the failed attempts and frustrations. There has been some will. A car has been constructed from scratch with help of Brian Holland, a precision engineer with an extensive knowledge and toolkit. Brian was able to create certain elements of the car for the production.

“Peter Rixon, my father, is the brains behind a lot of the moving Props, Brian Hall a Design and Technology teacher at Garibaldi School, has done the set design and Shaun Fores has helped in construction; these three people have worked tirelessly to achieve the set you see tonight and if you could only see the space they make it in you would truly amazed how they have managed to create it.

“The costumes have been a labour of love and we have sewn many sequins, too many to count. The cream and gold finale costumes are particularly special as I bought them in an auction this year and they are the original West End Singing In The Rain costumes. A little piece of theatre history revived and on the stage at the Mansfield Palace. The cast members wearing them felt incredibly specially to think they were wearing a little bit of the West End, which all performers dream of.

“We are working for the Beacon Project and Framework, two homeless charities, and with the message of the show being, “be grateful for you everyday” we thought homeless charities would be a fitting choice to support.

“The plan is to ask each audience member to bring along a tin of canned food alongside the ticket that they buy. These cans will then feature in the performance and prove that if we all give a little we make a massive difference. Like when the Americans wanted to build the base for the Statue of Liberty they asked Americans to give what they could a cent even and before they knew it the money to enable them to build flooded in.

“This production will not only be a great night out full of laughter, great costumes, set, music but also you will be contributing to those less fortunate, and keeping live theatre alive in Mansfield. “Backing a range of ages but importantly young people you have worked incredibly hard and want to share their passion and skills in the hopes they are making a difference. If you are not normally a theatre goer there is something in it for everyone, humour, touching moments, colour, dance and great harmony. It’s a musical, it’s a panto, it’s a play your one-stop shop.

“The inspiration for the show was my lunch one afternoon, beans on toast and a notebook that my dear friend Cathy Brown had given me for my birthday which said “live simply, that others may simply live”. A great thought. The show will leave you up lifted and hopefully remind you how lucky we all are.”

For ticket and performance details, you can call the box office at the Palace Theatre on 01623 633133.

Photo by Natalie French