Preview: Ragtime The Musical, Pleasance Theatre

Ifro Thomas plays Coalhouse in Ragtime. Pic: Comp
Ifro Thomas plays Coalhouse in Ragtime. Pic: Comp
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LOCAL amateurs A-Team Productions are back in action later this month, when they attempt to get to grips with the swinging Broadway musical, Ragtime.

“We have a squad of 20 volunteers, all with expertise in the theatre industry, and an enthusiastic cast of 30 currently pulling out all of the stops to make this year’s production even more spectacular than last,” says Sean Quinn, the company chair.

“In our inaugural year we encountered a number of issues in production week, it was tough and we had to keep spirits up, we learned a lot of lessons from that production and we are in a great place.

“Ragtime is an emotional roller coaster and the cast capture the characters, the narrative and the landscape perfectly.”

Based on EL Doctorow’s 1975 novel, Ragtime The Musical charts the experiences of three sections of American society in the early 20th century.

The African American community is represented by Coalhouse Walker Jr, a Harlem musician; the upper-class suburbanites appear in the form of Mother, the matriarch of a white upper-class New York family, while Eastern European immigrants are represented by Tateh, a Jewish Latvian immigrant.

Ragtime is a demanding piece, with a score by Stephen Flaherty. A-Team musical director Finlay Turnbull has the tricky task of bringing together an orchestra of 20 to create the incredible musical numbers.

A not-for-profit youth theatre company founded by Quinn, Hayley Gillies and Dominic Falconer in 2013, A-Team Productions offers young people between the ages of 11 and 18 the chance to take part in a musical production. A four-month rehearsal period is followed by a week of shows.

“When I visit rehearsals I am astonished by what they can do, it is incredible how people of such a young age can replicate characters with such depth and historical significance,” says Quinn.

Pictures is Ifro Thomas who is playing Coalhouse.

Ragtime The Musical, Pleasance Theatre, Pleasance, 18-21 February, 7.30pm (matinee 2.30pm), £11, 0757-291 0816