Theatre Preview: 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Blackout Productions
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AT ST Bride’s on Orwell Terrace, the curtain rose this week on Edinburgh’s newest amateur musicals company, Blackout Productions.

St Bride’s, Orwell Terrace

Presenting The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Blackout tell the hilarious tale of six quirky yet charming outsiders who take part in an annual spelling bee - the one place where they can stand out yet fit in at the same time, vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime.

“Audience reaction has been brilliant so far, and the unfortunate audience spellers who believed they were going to watch a show, not be part of it, have all said they really loved being involved,” says co-producer John Ward

“Don’t worry, they all volunteered to participate before the show started.”

Yes, audience participation has a part to play in the musical, one of the factors that attracted director Gaby Pavone-Clark to the project.

“I saw this show in 2012 and just fell in love with the characters. The script and the music work together, telling the audience about these exceptional adolescents and their off -beat lives. It is so rare to have a show where every single character in it could have their own musical.”

The production is the first step for Blackout Productions, who have an ambitious future planned.

Ward explains, “All of the team have been involved in and around Edinburgh and the Lothian’s theatre scene for many years.

“We felt we wanted to form a company that would offer a platform for new and original works as well as little known shows that were entertaining, and that we would enjoy staging.

“We plan to produce a play and a concert over the coming months as curtain raisers to our 2014 production of MacPherson’s Rant, which is part of The Homecoming Scotland programme.”

MacPherson’s Rant will find the company setting up base at the Church Hill Theatre next July, with casting in the spring,

“Like every other company, we are keen to attract new members. The current team have skills across performing, music, theatre production, writing and comedy. Anyone with skills in these areas would be made very welcome,” adds Ward.

If you would like to audition email blackoutproductions@live.co.uk.

In the meantime, there’s still time to catch the company’s debut show, which runs until tomorrow. There’s even a special ticket offer for Evening News readers.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, St Bride’s, Orwell Terrace, today and tomorrow, 7.30pm (matinee 2.30pm), £10-£12 (Matinee £5 for Evening News readers, see special offer), www.wegottickets.com/Blackout