MAMA’s mystery musical

Feb 28 2024 | By More

MAMA take the 24 hour musical challenge

This coming Friday, the first of March 2024, the Musselburgh Amateur Musical Association will learn the name of their latest production. Not much unusual in that.

Except that, whatever show might be revealed to them, the MAMA company will then learn and rehearse it in only 24 hours – performing the show the very next day, Saturday March 2, before a paying audience at the Portobello Town Hall.

The Flyer for MAMA’s mystery show

The MAMA company has been preparing for this day since last September when they appointed their production team for the season.

The four key members – director Caroline Inglis, choreographer Claire Riddoch, MD David Gibson and wardrobe mistress Penny Riddoch – then decided on the musical, keeping its name a closely guarded secret before its revelation this Friday, March 1, live on Facebook at 7pm.

“As you can imagine we are all super excited to be taking part in this event, if not a little bit terrified of the mountain of work we will have to get through in 24 hours,” MAMA president Becky Duncan-Skelton told Æ.

The cast are now within touching distance of the big day – which was made all the more real when they were given their kit list of items to bring to the theatre on Friday night when they will be sleeping over in the theatre.

On Friday, the company will get an envelope with the name of the show and who is cast in which role. Rehearsals will start at 7.30pm – prompt! – and run straight through to 1am. After a breakfast at 8am they will be back on rehearsals at 8.30pm. With just 11 hours to go before curtain up.

behind the scenes

Preparation started well before Christmas, however. “The production team, Technical Team and FOH have all been putting in so much work behind the scenes,” says Duncan-Skelton, “with many of them, like the cast, not knowing the show.

“There has been much chat about the techniques of learning lines quickly, how do we learn to dance, learn music, and complete costume fitting – let alone how we tech and dress a whole show.

“Luckily, we held a number of workshops with professionals before Christmas, where we looked at building characters, voice technique and movement, to brush up our skills before the big challenge.”

It’s not just a random show, however. Back in September, the newly appointed production team chose a show based on the skills they knew the MAMA members for this season possessed.

workshop audition

A workshop audition took place in January this year, where the company played drama games, learned songs and speed read. All designed to test how they would perform under pressure. The cast members know that they have been cast, but that is it. They know nothing about the show they have been cast in. Or, indeed, what part they will be playing.

The production team have been putting in some behind the scenes preparation, however. The cast have been measured for costumes, props have been collected and made, the set has been designed and all the technical requirements have been ordered in. In complete secret, of course.

The one place where the knowledge of what is being staged has been shared is in the pit. MD David Gibson has arranged the music and rehearsed it with a band of musicians and produced backing tracks for the day.

“I think it is going to be an amazing experience for cast and audience,” adds Duncan-Skelton. “And as a fundraiser for the company following the closure of the Brunton last year, we would love to fill the Theatre!”

MAMA’s 24 hour Musical Challenge
Portobello Town Hall, 147-149 Portobello High St, Portobello EH15 1AF.
Sat 2 March 2024.
Evening: 7.30pm.
Tickets: Book here.

Tune in to the MAMA’s Facebook page @mamamusselburgh on Friday at 7pm to learn the name of the show being performed.


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