Well, well, well. Unbelievably, it's the final dress rehearsal. Even more extraordinary is the realisation that our very first rehearsal - the read-through - took place just six weeks ago. It's been quite an incredible journey.
Over the two nights of dress rehearsals - yesterday and today - we've had the inevitable blips. It's not always easy to hear cues from behind closed doors, for example, so we're getting used to using the visual cues available from the backstage monitors wherever the audible version proves a challenge. The husbands have rather a lot to deal with, prop-wise: they need to manipulate glasses of 'whisky', an oil lamp, and even cigars (and yes, there is smoking taking place on stage in this production). Matches, of course, never light when you want them to. Robin (Councillor Parker) found himself delivering a line with cigar in mouth, but we reassured him that the effect was actually much funnier that way!
About halfway through this evening's dress rehearsal, the cast was intrigued by what sounded like furniture being dragged around, or scenery threatening to collapse (in manner of Michael Green's Art of Coarse Acting). However, as the noise continued, it became clear that we were, in fact, in the middle of the most spectacular thunderstorm seen in Norwich for quite some time. We'll take that as a roll of drums from nature to announce the arrival of the show.
Director Genevieve delivered her final notes (photo below). Our photographer, Peter Marsh, captured the final performance for front-of-house images and cast memorabilia, as well as some 'mug-shots' for FOH. Wardrobe mistress Amanda and her team of dressers checked final details, made last-minute adjustments, provided assistance with corsetry and coiffures. Rhett talked us through safety procedures and backstage housekeeping. Rosey provided the beautifully calm and efficient support she's been appreciated for throughout the rehearsal period. Lights and music appeared on cue. The team is an amazing and delightful one. Thank you, all.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: When We Are Married. As one of our lines (nearly) says, with glasses in hand: "Here's to us - and here's to you!"