Rehearsals begin for Playhouse ‘Spelling Bee’.

Harlow Playhouse / Wed 18th Sep 2013 at 11:46am


By Jo O’Reilly

REHEARSALS have begun at The Playhouse for the first UK tour of William Finn’s Tony Award Winning musical comedy ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’

The show which is starting its UK tour at the Playhouse on October 3rd Stars Darren Day as Vice Principle Panch and X-Factor star Niki Evans as the Bee’s previous winner and fellow judge. ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ tells the story of an American Spelling Bee competition, in which contestants are asked to spell a variety of complicated words.

I met with stars Darrren Day and Niki Evans to talk about starting the show in Harlow and making American comedy work for a British audience. For Essex boy Day, he was born in Colchester and spent time in Harlow growing up, the show starting in Harlow is a return to his roots.

‘It’s really nice to come to my neck of the woods with a brand new show, something the UK hasn’t ever really seen before.’

With the show being so obviously American, spelling Bees whilst massive in America are relatively unheard of in England, work was needed to make the script work here. Day explained that although tweaks were needed, ‘There have been certain things that have had to be tweaked for the UK tour, of course the show itself is set in America but we are playing to a British audience.’ The show hasn’t lost the sparkle which made it a Broadway hit, ‘Some of the humour has had to be changed slightly, some of the terms have had to be changed to make them more UK friendly if you like, but pretty much, it’s as it was done in America.’

The performance also relies heavily on audience participation, but X-Factor star Evans isn’t concerned, ‘I love it, I love audience participation. The more they participate the better it is for us. That’s whats different about this show.’


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