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The pitch

Learning and performing one show in 8 or so weeks is usually a challenge. But for the 2007 summer show we decided to go even more ambitious by performing 20(ish) minute sections from 5 very different shows. The sections, in order of performance, were from:

  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
  • The Merry Widow
  • Godspell
  • The Rocky Horror Show
  • Les Miserables

This allowed us to showcase some very different styles of music within one show, from the operetta (The Merry Widow) to gospel (Godspell) to rock (Rocky Horror). The line-up also produced some interesting quirks, such as the same actor playing Jesus in Godspell and Frank in Rocky Horror (and being killed in both shows); or one principal having to run off as Riff Raff, quickly change from being a mad alien to a depressed Frenchman and be back on stage seconds later as Marius.

The idea was that a character from each show (except Rocky Horror) would be in conversation with a 'universal barman' (one reviewer referred to it as a 'meta-bar', helping the audience (and indeed the cast) to understand what on earth was going on. The narrator from Joseph, a drunk gentleman from The Merry Widow, Judas from Godspell and Marius from Les Mis all came to this bar in search of a drink and some clue as to what was going on. The barman (Jim Durdin) wasn't that much help- as well as his character being rather stupid, he was also prone to forgetting his lines, despite the script being taped to the bar in front of him! Halfway through Les Mis we discovered that even the innocent barman wasn't just a spectator, but was in fact Monsieur Thenardier. Which might explain why his bar didn't stock Tetley's.



There were a total of 51 musical numbers in the show, the musical director (J. Mark Pim) not realising that transcribing and arranging one verse from two songs takes twice as long as two verses from one song. This is believed to be the largest number of unique musical numbers in the society's history - and attempts to break that record are not recommended!

Several numbers were rearranged for the purposes of the show, either to fit more of the song in a smaller amount of time, or to match the resources of the society (for example much of Rocky Horror was rescored to have more chorus work and match the vocal ranges of the society).


The name for the show was decided by a competition among society members, won by Bunny, who came up with the name Kaleidoshow. (Did that prize ever get awarded?!)


With so many roles available, many people who didn't usually get parts were able to have a go at doing solos. Owing to a shortage of men, nearly all of them got two roles in different sections, and even director James Knowles had a couple of parts. As usual, however, the women weren't so lucky, although many still got solos.

It was hard work learning all the music and moves. We learnt a show a week, for the first five weeks, and spent the rest of the term desperately trying to remember what we'd been taught.


On the logistical front, this wasn't the least stressful of shows (the summer show never is) and the university authorities didn't help matters by double booking our setbuilding session with a Freemasons conference ('masons' has since become a swear word in society circles) and we had to do much of the work outside. Fortunatly the set was fairly simple, a white background on which was painted a stave with the notation for "Do you hear the people sing?" Making society history was Fiona Constantine, we believe our first female technical director. (Debi Hackett is credited as Production Manager in 1998's H.M.S. Pinafore, the equivalent of a TD -Ed.)

We had to transfer the set from our container behind the sports centre to Langwith in torrential rain. It was the wettest get-in in living memory, although of course the following day was beautiful sunshine, just to rub it in! We also created some interesting props, such as a "chariot of gold" (a bike covered in gold foil) and a gold microphone (cola bottle covered in gold foil). And then, of course, there was the bar.



James Knowles- Director
James Knowles is a man of many talents. Not only has he taken on the challenge of directing the show this term, he's also quite adept in driving the P&P team around York, and knows how to make the best chilli ever. No, really. Anyway, perhaps he underestimated the work involved, and that's why he couldn't write this himself. Never mind, eh?

Chris Charlton- Directorial Consultant
Having voews never to direct a show again after "Pirates of Penzance" last term, Chris found himself volunteering to help direct again only two weeks later. Rumours of his sanity are greatly exaggerated.

Frankie Thomas- Director (Rocky Horror)
Frankie is a star. Without her, we wouldn't have a show, and since she doesn't want to sing her own praises, we're doing it for her. She also directed "Patience" in 2006, but it involved more clothing than Rocky Horror does. (We hope.)

Hanna Nierstrasz- Assistant Director (Rocky Horror)
Hanna was sent from outer space to save the human race, but got distracted by the 1970s. Recovering from her painful divorce from unicorn master and part-time sumo wrestler Marc Bolan, she now tries to find joy in crossword puzzles, gold lame shirts and being a pirate.

J. Mark Pim- Musical Director
Mark has taken a sideways step in the society since the last show where he co-directed "Pirates of Penzance" and is now having a stab in a musical direction. He has loved tackling the huge musical challenge of this show- there are close to 50 musical numbers to arrange, score and teach- and continues to feel incredibly proud to work with such a talented and enthusiastic bunch of people. (He would like to state for the record that, despite possible evidence to the contrary, he is NOT a luvvie…)

Ben Poore- Assistant Musical Director
Arranging the Joseph score for Kaleidoshow dominated most of Ben's life for some weeks and continues to do so. He still wakes up singing Any Dream Will Do in a cold sweat. Rehearsing on beautiful sunny days at the weekend with the band was always a pleasure, and the entire project has meant that none of his essays this term are worthy of even marking.

Fiona Constantine- Technical Director
This is Fiona's first attempt at technically directing. She was unaware at the end of last term just how much stress and running around headless-chicken fashion would have to be done to make this show a success. She also didn't realise quite how much she would have to shout, and for this she hopes the cast and crew don't hate her too much. She also wishes to recognise the hard work of all the technical crew, and hopes everyone realised what a darned good job they've all done! Enjoy the show!

The Cast

James Armstrong, Helen Bourne, Emma Bradley, Megan Bryan, Ellen Cain, Anne Marie Cassidy, Chris Charlton, Lois Cross, Karine Dransart, Jim Durdin, Matt Ferguson, Alison Foster, James Gaughan, Beth Goodwin, Clare Greener, Morven Hamilton, Charles Hanney, Michael Houston, Ben Humphreys, James Knowles, Lauren Mathews, Danielle Neville, Thomas Newby, Hanna Nierstrasz, Jake Ong, Stuart Roberts, Sally Rowe, Bill Ruddock, Jackie Smithers, Helen Steel, Frankie Thomas, Lauren Wade, Julia Weatherley


Jesus- James Armstrong
Judas- Michael Houston
John the Baptist- Ben Humphreys
"Turn Back, O Man"- Lauren Mathews
"Day Be Day"- Anne-Marie Cassidy
"By My Side"- Lauren Wade and Megan Bryan (with Lois Cross, Ellen Cain and Hanna Nierstrasz)
"We Beseech Thee"- James Knowles

The Merry Widow

Anna- Emma Bradley
Danilo- Thomas Newby
Camille- Matt Ferguson
Valencienne- Clare Greener
Baron Zeta- Ben Humphreys
Cascada- James Gaughan
St. Brioche- Charles Hannay
Njegus- Bill Ruddock

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

Narrator- Frankie Thomas
Joseph- Matt Ferguson
Pharaoh- Thomas Newby
Judah- Jake Ong
Butler- Helen Bourne

The Rocky Horror Show

Frank N. Furter- James Armstrong
Brad Majors (asshole) - Michael Houston
Riff-Raff- Stuart Roberts
Rocky- Jim Durdin
Criminologist/ Dr. Scott- Bill Ruddock
Janet Weiss (slut) - Morven Hamilton
Magenta/ Usherette- Julia Weatherley
Columbia- Beth Goodwin

Les Miserables

Valjean- Chris Charlton
Javert- James Gaughan
Marius- Stuart Roberts
M. Thenardier- Jim Durdin
Cosette- Sally Rowe
Eponine- Helen Steel
Mme. Thenardier- Jackie Smithers
Enjolras- James Knowles


Conductor- J. Mark Pim
Assistant Conductor/ Fixer- Ben Poore
Piano- Robbie Berryman
Keyboard- Virginia Rousiamani
Guitar- Geogios Fragkos
Bass Guitar- Daria Polovia
Drums- Simon Roth
Flute- Neil Smith
Trumpet- Jonathan Sims
Rehearsal Accompanist- Robbie Berryman

Technical Crew

Technical Director- Fiona Constantine
Stage Manager- Chris Armstrong
Lighting Manager- Steven "Stevie D" Day
Followspot Operators- Andrew "Newcastle Brown" Lawson, James "JEB" Butterworth
Sound Manager- Pete "Pistol" Harbottle
Sound Assistant- John Poon
Backstage Crew- Carol Backhouse, Christine Lees, David Pim

The Committee

Chair- Lauren Mathews
Secretary- Stuart Roberts
Treasurer- Thomas Newby
Press and Publicity- Megan Bryan, Jackie Smithers, Morven Hamilton
Ordinary Members- James Gaughan, Lauren Wade, James Knowles, Jim Durdin
Webmaster- Michael Houston

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