Emerging fast onto the theatre scene is the quirky and fresh new pieces of theatre that are showcased in the Camden Fringe. This year, Hidden Theatre Company are bringing their contemporary musical and first full-scale musical, Making Waves: A Song Cycle to the 12th Camden Fringe Festival.
With the recent success of these modern monologue-style musicals like Working, despite not having a linear storyline, these productions tend to be bursting with heart. “It’s a musical about life,” Abby, the founders of the new musical theatre company tells me. “I think there is an element of everyone in our characters and the songs/stories are incredibly relatable. The style of the show and the lyrics, in particular, are very naturalistic. I think it’s just a snapshot into life. Making Waves was written by two of my friends at the University of Central Lancashire and I performed a showcase version of it back in my third year. I loved the music and then one night a year or so ago, I was with a friend (drinking wine) and we said it needed to be brought back to life. When the company formed I put the idea to Drou and here we are.”
The show itself tells the story of real-life people, and the lyrics lend themselves well to everyday situations. When the cast got together, they talked about how they’d react to the various events that take place in the story, and use that genuine reaction to develop both the individual characters and their stories.
Abby Restall who trained at drama school met Drou Constantinou and set up Hidden Theatre Company with the manifesto that they must perform new writing, starring new performers in an undiscovered venue. After Abby showed Drou the music for the show, and she said: “I immediately fell in love with the music and the realness of the lyrics.”
The composer of the production, Daniel Cartwright exclaims how he feels heavily influences by Jason Robert Brown, as he mentioned that JRB’s Songs For A New World hugely inspired him. He said: The show was formed when I and my collaborator Tom Brassington were both studying a Music Theatre degree at university. I had some ideas for the music but wasn’t a very good lyricist and he had some beautiful lyrics written down but needed them musicalizing.”
“One of the original company members came along to a run and said that the show “beautifully resonates with us, as regular people, muddling our way through life.” I think that perfectly sums it up.”
Emphasising on the relatability of the production, Drou explains that everyone is guaranteed to relate to one aspect of the musical. “The message of the show is that no matter who you are, your existence leaves an imprint on the people you meet in the world,” she said. “I think that is SO important to remember, especially when living in a busy city like London. I guess the show is just about being human and overcoming the hurdles that life throws at you.”
It’s a really interesting piece of theatre that has been approached collaboratively, “The show was initially performed by a cast of 20,” Abby and Drou explained. “Which was not feasible for the requirements of The Camden Fringe and it has certainly come a long way with the actors we cast as the narrative has been developed around the characters they created.” Reducing the cast and creating a more intimate show really brought the heart of each character out.
“I would be surprised if someone couldn’t find common ground with one, or all, of our characters. I hope the audience will leave smiling, chuckling and perhaps even seeing themselves within the show,” Abby said. Hopefully they will have been emotionally moved,” Drou added, “have their heartstrings pulled and laugh till they cry.”
On until the 7th of August at the Camden Fringe, tickets for Making Waves can be found here.