If you walk past the Norwich Theatre Royal
at the moment, you can't help but notice the nervous excitement
and endless giggling in the air from loads of young people.
It's the ship-shape cast of Robinson Crusoe.
A show which will star more than 290
people between the ages of eight and 20, all of whom take
part in the Theatre Arts Courses at Norwich Theatre Royal.
David Lambert is the show's director.
"We've been in rehearsal from around
the middle of May," he said. "Just once a week to
begin with and then it ramps up to every night for the last
couple of weeks with the four different choruses.
"We then have four dress rehearsals
so each choruses can run the show for real and then it's the
big night on the main stage of the Norwich Theatre Royal."
Robinson Crusoe is the 10th musical written
by director David Lambert and composer Andrew Fletcher. Loosely
based on Daniel Defoe's famous novel, this production stars
17-year-old Sam Claflin in the lead role of Robinson.
"This is my first ever main role and
its quite an honour and a privilege," said an exhausted
Sam during a break in rehearsals.
"It has to be the most difficult part
I've played because its just so straight.
"I've always done comic roles, ever
since I started when I was 14. Whereas
recently I've been put with the main straight roles. It's
becoming quite a challenge, but I enjoy it.
"In Robinson you have to play the lover,
he's the innocent boy and its quite difficult."
You might remember the TV series of Robinson
Crusoe. This was mostly based on the island, but director
David Lambert said this production tells Robinson's story
from the beginning:
"We've got him running away from home
because he wants to make a success of himself.
"He gets captured by pirates, he gets
sold as a slave, he sets up a coffee plantation in the Indies,
then, on his way home he is shipwrecked and then he ends up
on the desert island and meets Man Friday.
"Our Man Friday turns out to be rather
different from the Man Friday in the book, but I'm not going
to tell you how different, you'll just have to come and watch
Man Friday is played by Lloyd Gorman, he's
been a member of the Studio Theatre since he was nine.
"I joined for more of a confidence thing
because I didn't have much confidence at school," he
"I came here to try and build some up,
and then started to enjoy it. It's a really big social thing,
that's half the fun of it.
"You make so many new friends and you
get to do great productions every year. It builds up your
techniques and if you want to go on to do drama school or
anything, you've got a good base to start with."
As you might expect, David Lambert agrees:
"I think the courses are vital because they can bring
out a talent that might already be there.
"You can't really teach people how to
act, but you can show them how to act better. I don't think
you can instil talent, but what you can teach is knowledge,
technique and opportunity.
"A class like ours is like reading around
the subject. If you are doing performing arts A-level, GCSE
or whatever, doing a course like this is reading around the
subject, just the same as in English."
Packed with laughs and toe-tapping songs,
this marauding musical is perfect family fun for the start
of the summer holidays.
the Robinson cast in rehearsal
Slideshow will require RealPlayer. Help
available from the CBBC download centre
the review of Robinson
If this feature has sparked your interest
in the performance arts, you've loads of choice in Norfolk.
Check out these websites.
Youth Music Theatre
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