We wrapped up the end of week three with a run of what we’ve completed in Act 2. Quite a lot, as it turns out – at least half of the second act. We spent the day working on the “Hot Stuff” sequence. Mirko looked particularly fetching in his Felicia getup today – big sneakers, oversized tracky daks, a windcheater and the most scraggy blonde wig we could find. Frankly, it was a stretch to imagine the gents of Coober Pedy were fooled today.
Natalie led the choreography with aplomb considering how vulgar this section is- “grab the crotch, shake the cock, go to piss, burp” – our cast definitely struggled with this aspect of the show more than the Les Girls of a few days back.
Our Frank, Gianluca, is a hip-hop dancer who used to be on a kids show here, but prefers the immediacy of theatre (wow, that sounds like an introduction for a dating show). He’s big all over, and perfect for Frank – it’s always better when he’s much bigger physically than Felicia, for both the “romance” and the conflict afterwards. I showed Mirko the blocking for getting ready for the night – putting on the fishnets, skirt and wig – strangely this is the piece of blocking I’m best at in the show…that and flouncing about the bus doing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.
Then came my bete-noir – the barrel roll. We set up the drive-in by rolling on four barrels, two benches, a barbecue and a shopping trolley, simultaneously from opposite sides of the stage while Felicia walks through the middle. Inevitably they hit each other, the actor, or the bus while you attempt to make it look magical. Perhaps because we’ve done it so many times now this one was fairly clean and no actors were injured in the making of this scene change.
Also good for once was Frank kicking Felicia in the face. On Broadway we must have refined the technique because it’s completely safe now. Adam raises his hand to ward Frank away, Frank kicks into the hand, only just making contact and Adam uses this contact to spin on himself – out front it looks like he’s been kicked so hard he’s spun over. On the West End, Clive Carter was helpfully showing me how to do fight choreography and ended up kicking me in the face and splitting my lip.
I’m not entirely sure that we’ve worked out the correct translation for Bernadette’s triumphant “Now you’re fucked” line at the end of the scene, so we shall have to explore that further. I do now that as soon as she said it, the tough male cast burst into disco dancing – as if the Coober Pedy scene were another variation on Broken Hill – as I said last week “See, Gays make magic!”
It would be remiss not to point out the highlight of the day, though. Well, two highlights – Max brought in traditional cannoli from Sicily, which was amazing and Spud’s goddaughter’s hen’s night back home. He was skyping the gals and asked the Italian men to pop onto camera and wave hello to the drunken Aussie girls. Well, something must have gotten lost in translation because as the first guy was saying hi, he decided to strip, then another cast member went on camera and another till we’d had a cavalcade of hot Italian guys stripping off for some very lucky Aussie girls back home. And some very lucky Aussie boys in the room.
But, alas, life returned to normal and we ran part of Act 2 to complete the day. Twas very smooth, with fantastic work from everyone involved. The chemistry between Bob and Bernadette is beautiful – watching him watching “Groove Thing” is truly touching. Elena is sounding gorgeous in “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, Giada is eating the stage up as Cynthia and Gianluca continues to walk his six-million-dollar-legs through Les Girls. It’s really lovely to watch them all.