Through The Mill: Don’s Diary – Day 1

With my suitcase containing a plethora of percussion instruments, and my nose doing a pretty good impersonation of a dripping tap, I set off for the first day of rehearsals for “Through The Mill” – a brand new musical play written by the force of nature that is Ray Rackham. Having skilfully negotiated the Victoria and District lines, I arrive at London Theatre Workshop to find the man himself already in situ, direct from the Big Apple and looking fresh as a daisy.

Accompanied by our lovely dramaturg, Carolyn Scott-Jeffs, Ray is chatting to Lewis and Jazz, two students from Loughborough, who will be shadowing the rehearsal process. Excitement mounts as, one by one, cast members begin to appear. Introductions are made, “Oh, you’re my mum!”, and familiar friendships are renewed.

Skye Crawford, our whirlwind of a Producer, ensures a warm welcome for all, and with the arrival of Director, Max Reynolds, Musical Supervisor, Simon Holt, plus our gorgeous Stage Manager and Assistant Director, Alex Pearson, the brilliantly talented “Through The Mill” company is complete

We climb the spiral staircase and enter the magical space. Chairs have been placed in a semi circle, and I find that I am nestled between Helen Shiels on my left, and Harry Anton on my right. With CBS Judy and Sid Luft having a number of important scenes together, my immediate thought is to switch with Harry, but he who hesitates is lost. Before I can undertake my well intentioned manoeuvre, introductions have begun.

The reading of the script goes like a dream. From Helen’s rousing rendition of “Life Is Like A Bowl of Cherries”, right through to the spine tingling “Over The Rainbow” finale, the entire cast excel. From time to time I look across at Ray,

and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen him happier. Suddenly, it’s one o’clock. We break for lunch, and the generous Perry Meadowcroft helps me to erect my wobbly percussion stand in readiness for the afternoon music call.

Rehearsals for “Through The Mill” have well and truly begun ….

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