Shrewsbury School

Shrewsbury Musicals on the international stage

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Director of Music John Moore and his former colleague Peter Fanning, who retired as Senior Master last year, have been writing and producing musicals since 1993. Every two years a new show has been staged at Shrewsbury and then at the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe and subsequently in London. By sheer coincidence, two of their acclaimed productions are being given their international premières within a week of each other - 'The Bubble' at Shrewsbury International School, Bangkok, directed by Peter Fanning; and 'Jekyll!' in Varna, Bulgaria, under the musical directorship of Gancho Ganchev, father of Galin (M V).

The Bubble in Bangkok"We’ll never do it again..."
- ‘The Bubble’ in Bangkok

In 1996 Peter Fanning and John Moore's new production of ‘Jekyll!’, based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ won a prestigious ‘Fringe First’ Award – the only production by a school ever to achieve this distinction.

During the Dot.com crisis of 2000, when hundreds of new companies were floated and then failed, professional television writers Julian Roach and Peter Hankin approached the team with a proposal for a new musical: ‘The Bubble’, which was staged to great acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2002 – and at the Linbury Studio Theatre,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the following year.

Following the global Credit Crunch of 2007-8, the team made another foray to the Edinburgh Fringe with a production that received ‘Five-star’ reviews from every critic.

And now it’s back in Bangkok as a joint production between Shrewsbury School UK and its sister school, Shrewsbury International, where it is topping the bill at their Tenth Anniversary celebrations.

Peter writes: “It’s been enormous fun recreating 'The Bubble' in Bangkok. And as for the show, all I can vouch for is the enormous enthusiasm and resilience of the cast, and their willingness to boldly go where fellow Salopians have gone before.

“Financial corruption didn’t end in 1720, as Mr Madoff and friends can testify. So I suspect the audience will recognise one or two familiar features in this tale; and I hope they’ll enjoy the authors’ wit, and evening of colour and jollity, along with the rousing choruses from the Maestro’s pen.”

In today’s world, where financial Bubbles continue to grow and burst, the moral of the first financial crash remains as true as ever. British Chancellor Gordon Brown spoke in 2007 of ‘no return to boom and bust’. How wrong he was!

'The Bubble' will be performed at Shrewsbury International, Bangkok on Tuesday 30th April and Wednesday 1st May in front of an audience that will include the British Ambassador.

'Jekyll!' will be performed by the Varna Children's Opera on Tuesday 7th May; musical director Gancho Ganchev.

Nick Holmes (G) in the original 2001 production of The Bubble
The original 2001 production of 'The Bubble' - Nick Holmes (G) as the pieman and assorted Chorus members

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