Since my last blog detailing my role as Music Director for the variety show Scousers on the Rampage, we’ve had a great and very productive week in preparation for the opening night. With the big day getting closer every day, the workload just keeps getting heavier.

Last week we had rehearsals with some of the big names from the show. I worked with Margi Clarke, who is mostly known for her roles in Coronation Street, Benidorm and most recently Waterloo Road, and is going to be performing in the biggest number of the show. I can’t give too much away, but it’s going to be a very funny performance! Also at the rehearsals was Ozzie Yue. He’s a blues musician and actor from Liverpool and went to school with the great Paul McCartney, but you may know him from Tomb Raider, Come Fly with Me and White Van Man. His blues number is coming along nicely and is sure to take the roof off on the opening night.

With all this going on, the band have been rehearsing every moment we can get, in one extreme setting or another. As well as practising in our drummer’s garage with his angry neighbours complaining about the noise, we have been lucky enough to work in the brand new state-of-the-art studios in Liverpool, Mersey City Music. As promised I have a couple of video clips from these locations to give you an insight into how the show’s coming together:

Rehearsing in the drummer’s garage – You Can’t Stop the Beat

In the musical theatre world there is a little gag about this song: “You can’t stop to breathe”. It’s a killer for the musicians as well as the singers. With only four of us in the band, it’s been proving very difficult to arrange, so we use a click track (a pre-recorded instrument/vocal with the sax/trumpet parts at the beginning), and so that you could hear this properly we played the click track out loud. This helps us out as it thickens the sound up a lot and as it is the opening of the show, it’s a good idea to start with a bang. If you stick with the video to the end you will hear several hiccups happen – and then our drummer goes a little crazy at the end… This was because we’d only played the song twice, and it’s proving a difficult one to master!

Lauren McQueen – Make You Feel My Love

At Mersey City Music one of the singers from the show, Lauren McQueen, came along to rehearse her number with the band. We don’t have a clip of that particular rehearsal – it’s being kept under wraps until she inevitably blows the crowd away with the performance, but I have a clip of myself and Lauren playing the song a while back to give you a bit of a taster of what’s to come.

Still to look forward to with Scousers on the Rampage is the production week, where all the most important things happen to bring the show together. I am most looking forward to the sitzprobe, where most of the cast come together with the band for the first time to sing through the numbers, which is happening just four days before the show. The scariest thing is that not everyone will be together until the day of the show, so we will have to wait until then to see if all our hard work has paid off.

Scousers on the Rampage will be playing at St Helen’s Theatre Royal, Liverpool, on 30 October 2011. For tickets visit the website.