Leamington musical to include real rain and peacocks

Leamington and Warwick Musical Society's filming in the peacock garden at Warwick Castle.

Leamington and Warwick Musical Society's filming in the peacock garden at Warwick Castle.

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Most of us are familiar with the hit musical Singin’ In The Rain - but a south Warwickshire drama group have discovered there is a lot more to the show than we may think.

The Leamington and Warwick Musical Society have been working on their production, which comes to the Spa Centre in Leamington next week, for the past year - and as the show includes a few silent films, the group had to put together the films on location in advance on the performances.

And on the day, some rather confident feathered friends needed no invitation to join the cast.

Director Stephen Duckham said: “The films are set around the time of the French Revolution, so I wanted the actors to create them somewhere with a manicured garden. We decided on Warwick Castle.

“We did some filming in the peacock garden and some inside - and on the day, the castle was quite busy, so we drew a crowd of people who were fascinated to watch the actors.

“It was wonderful to have the peacocks there. They obviously don’t respond well to direction! But in one of the romance scenes, a peacock wandered onto the set and it fitted in perfectly.

“When you are making a film, these sorts of totally impromptu things add a lot.”

A clue to another complication to the show is in its title.

Stephen said: “I decided from the start that we would have to have a rain scene. It has been done using a rain disc which simulates rain, but I think people expect a little more these days.”

After Stephen spoke the Wales-based Scenery Hire, which put together sets for the society, the company created a pavement set complete with real water falling as rain - and a concealed unit to collect the water. But the company will not get to see it until it arrives on Saturday, before two days of dress rehearsals in advance of the performance run.

Stephen said: “I have done more than 150 musicals and this has been one of the most detailed, because of the period, having to incorporate film and having the rain feature.”

The Leamington and Warwick Musical Society’s production of Singin’ In The Rain is on at the Spa Centre from Tuesday April 12 to Saturday April 16. For further details, visit www.warwickdc.gov.uk/royalspacentre/events/event/498/leamington_and_warwick_musical_society_singin_in_the_rain