19:38 All right. It's been 24 hours of constant rehearsals, and not-so-constant liveblogging. I've expended nearly 6,000 words in an attempt to convey the awesomeness of this cast, and I don't think 60,000 could do them justice. I don't have much more to say, or indeed much more time in which to say it, as I need to help the exhausted David Swain clear the hall. I've been struggling with the right words to describe this adventure all day, and I think I've finally come up with a description which satisfies me, if not anybody else. For all the talk of tonight's audience, the real performance is just finishing. These past 24 hours haven't been a rehearsal period - they've been a constant, frenetic, euphoric, emotional, exhausting, intense and unbelievable performance.
They don't need you half as much as you need them. In Tosin Ajayi's well-chosen words: They will rock you.
19:32 One final song bites the dust as the cast sings "We are the Champions of the World". Which, to my mind, they most definitely are.
19:27 The latest news regarding start times is that doors will be opening at 20:00. Once the dress rehearsal finishes, I believe that eager audience members are more than welcome to come in and help set up the hall. So long as they wait to be invited in. This has been stressed as very important. Right - one more song to go!
19:18 The rehearsal is nearing its end, nearly 24 hours after the cast first assembled. And Rob Felstead's belting out of the show's title anthem has to be heard to be believed. I was being momentarily distracted by Kadhim Shubber, but the first words of the song sent shivers down my spine of sufficient magnitude to cause me to turn around. If that made any sense. It's difficult to type in the dark :-(
19:01 Much love to Felix Millne, John Wheatley, Phil Jackson and Owain Jones recreating the famous Queen group pose on stage.
18:55 ProTip from Shamini Bundell: writing on coffee cups doesn't work. Neither the inside nor, apparently, the outside. Good to know.
18:54 Ah no, here comes Seb Junemann in his beautifully form-fitting fatigues and wig to close off the show. On a side note, this tiny screen is not doing my eyes any good. Nor is the fantastic strobe lighting coming off of Francis Clegg's lighting desk.
18:50 All right, ladies and gentlemen, I assume that all of you who are planning on coming along tonight are just about to leave home. Over on the Concert Hall side of things, I assume we are somewhere near the end of Act II. Not having read Ben Elton's script (something of a bugbear of mine over these past 23 hours), I have genuinely no way of knowing. Not, to be honest with you, that much of Ben Elton's dialogue has been evidenced in these past few scenes. It's been replaced with something rawer, more human and, on occasions, funnier.
18:35 Whoop! This is now officially the most popular article on the felix website. I would do a little celebratory dance, but after watching these guys for so long I'd feel inadequate. That and my left thigh has gone to sleep for the eighth time today.
18:24 Act II is well underway here, and everyone must be keenly aware of how little time there is before the audience is scheduled to arrive. Hopefully, however, they are also keenly aware of how massively impressive their work has been, and, according to the figures, how much interest this project is garnering from the wider Imperial community.
The wonderful truth is that by far the most important audience members for each of these 24 performers will be the other 23. This is a project for them. They entered into it together, and what will get them through these final hours is the knowledge that they are all still together. You'll have to pardon the soppiness - that's what severe cases of cabin fever do to a person.
18:13 Here we go. This is the good stuff. Apologies for any nausea caused by axis shifting. All complaints and law suites to be directed to email@example.com
18:10 LOAD FASTER!
17:58 We've reached the end of Act I in this dress rehearsal, and there have been fewer issues with the performance then there have been with this laptop. Not only is google, for some inexplicable reason, opening in German, but Kadhim's camera doesn't seem to get along with my laptop.
17:43 The full iridescent glory of Barry Whiteside's costume has now come on to the stage, blinding most of the cast. As Rebecca Jones prepares to lead the ensemble through: "Only the Good Die Young", I have to keep reminding myself that these guys and dolls have only been doing this for 22 hours. Sure, it's rough, ready, and a little loose around the edges, but not significantly more than most other dress rehearsals I've been involved with. Awesome. Just awesome.
17:28 One of the joys of these past 24 hours has been seeing people with all sorts of backgrounds coming together in this masterclass in collaboration. One pairing which has been a revelation in my eyes is that of Rebecca Jones and Phil Raymond as Meat (Meat Loaf) and Brit (Britney Spears) respectively. Their duet of "I want it all" in particular shows how well their voices and stage presences fit together. Forgiving readers may understand how difficult it is for me to write about Rebecca, as it would be for anyone attempting to write objectively about their partner. Unforgiving readers should try getting a partner.
17:19 I don't think any report on this dress rehearsal would be complete without a mention of the one-man force of nature that is Al Norman. Not satisfied with incoherent ums and ahs when he forgets his lines, he instead sets out to out-improvise and out-shine anyone unfortunate enough to share a stage with him. Viewers tonight may want to take note of his especially fine ad libbed references to Rebecca Black's 'Friday'.
17:01 One aspect of this performance which is brought into sharp focus by the short rehearsal period allotted it is the raw vocal power possessed by so many of its cast. When Katie Clemence sings "Somebody to Love", with backing from the GaGa girls and projected over the hall's speakers, the walls seem to bend under the force of her voice. The awkwardness and lack of preparation which the cast must feel they are displaying, comes across as beautifully edgy realism. Which, I need scarcely point out, suits the music of Queen to a T.
16:57 Well, well. Aren't we lucky? We have the almighty captain of our felix ship himself, Kadhim Shubber, accompanying me during this first run-through of WWRY. That will also mean we have the advantage of a decent camera manned by a decent photographer. A decent photographer who also, incidentally, seems to have mislaid the cable which could connect his camera to my laptop. So if you're prepared to wait the length of time it takes a lanky editor to lope from the Union Concert Hall to the Felix office and back, photos will be forthcoming.
16:26 Right. With barely three hours to go before curtain up, this feels like a good time to do a little numerical recap over the past twenty-one hours. In which 7 songs have been choreographed, 22 cast members have been kept awake and nearly 5,000 words of virtually-continuous prose have been written by yours truly. Which, for any interested undergraduates out there, is about halfway to a Masters' thesis in the Physics Department. And far, far, more interesting.
You may also be interested to hear that this page has received over 1200 hits in the past twenty-one hours - and I know for a fact that not all of them were from me pressing refresh. So a thank you to all those curious Georges and Georginas out there who ensured that the felix website received more visits on Sunday afternoon than it did even at the peak of Friday's traffic. Your interest is gratefully appreciated by the remains of the Musical Theatre Society.
16:10 As the cast get into their peculiar and exciting costumes in preparation for tonight's performance, here's a refreshed cast list for prospective audience members to look at.
Galileo Robert Felstead
Scaramouche Katie Clemence
Killer Queen Shamini Bundell
Pop Sebastian Junemann
Khashoggi Al Norman
Meat Rebecca Jones
Brit Phil Raymond
Ensemble: Charlotte Ivison, Sanee Patel, Owain Jones, Christine Simpson, Oluwatosin Ajayi, Sophie Campen, Lucy Harrold, Michael Willmott, Barry Whiteside, Felix Millne, Holly Russell-Allison, John Wheatley, Philip Jackson, Tony Bannister, Yun William Yu.
Director: David Swain
Musical Director: Zoe Humphries
Choreographer: James Perry
15:15 As the much-loved duo of Swain and Perry lead the cast through a rendition of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", I realise that I haven't given enough credit to the amount of preparatory work this operation must have involved. The choice of show was made less than three weeks ago, and the secrecy surrounding it must have made any planning well-nigh impossible.
And yet, at 19:30 last night, copies of the score and script (though admittedly not enough!) were printed and ready for distribution, a detailed rehearsal schedule was taped to the wall, and James Perry arrived with enough energy coursing through him to electrocute a meadow full of Duracell bunnies.
So far, at least, this preparation has paid off in an astonishing way. The cast are nervous, which is understandable with so many songs, dances and lines of dialogue to deliver, but the well-worn combination of adrenaline and sleep deprivation is keeping them all going. I, by contrast, am relying on Rowntree's Randoms.
14:57 As we approach the 20-hour point, I'm taking advantage of what is likely to be the last lull before the show starts. It's incredible how quickly the past day has gone, and how much has yet to be achieved in the next 4 hours. On Director David Swain's schedule we still have: a musical run-through, a full rehearsal, and an opportunity for a break immediately before the show.
What this means is that all of us with some sleep under our belt (yourself included) will be press-ganged into cleaning the hall and laying out the seats for all of you lovely people who will be coming to watch the show this evening. Which means that I should probably make a couple of confessions. Firstly, I still haven't had an opportunity to read the script, crazy as that is. The few line runs I've done with various cast members (the gorgeous Rebecca Jones, and the tall and ginger Phil Raymond included) has revealed to me that it in no way should embarrass Ben Elton. The bum jokes and Bob references fit in beautifully with the rest of his oeuvre.
My second confession is that I still haven't listened to all the songs in the show. But given that Zoe Humphries is just beginning her musical rehearsal (only her second since last night!), that may soon change.
And one final request to you all - publicise the show and get people to come along tonight! It's a free show with a great atmosphere and a collection for charity at the end. You could use a break, and these people could use the encouragement and support.
13:52 Here you all go: the latest version of Radio Gaga. It's amazing what 6 hours of rehearsal can do! Next up, Killer Queen and Play the Game.
13:25 Sgt. Major Perry is drilling the cast through their last run of all the dance routines learned thus far before lunch. This includes "Radio Gaga", "Headlong", and "Play the Game". Twitvids of some of these will be forthcoming. As an aside, this blog has now reached 1000 views! Many thanks to you all for checking in,
12:52 The lunch break is in sight, and as an attempt to take people's minds off having to wait for the chance to lie down, the costume cupboard has been unlocked. Last night we were already treated to Seb Junemann in full fatigues and disturbing blonde wig; this morning a lucky few had the chance to see Barry Whiteside in yellow dressing gown, high heels and iconic red fez. It would be fair to say that he pulled it off - but only after he realised how ridiculous it made him look.
My musical education is continuing as the countdown on my Spotify account steadily ticks towards 0. I have just discovered that the jingle to the weirdly Where's Wally-esque confused.com adverts is the glorious Queen song "Somebody to Love". I haven't yet seen Katie Clemence as Scaramouche sing it, but that's definitely something to look forward to. As an aside, I keep getting fooled by the recorded applause at the end of the backing tracks being played in the hall. Every time the ecstatic cheering kicks in at the end of a song or a dance routine, I Pavlovistically look around me for the jubilant audience. Oh well. They'll be here tonight. Right? Right??
12:00 With seven and a half hours to go until curtain up, the cast and crew seem to be making excellent progress. As director David Swain put it on one of his rare appearances in the Concert Hall this morning: "you can't fault the cast's commitment to the show, even after such a long rehearsal." In his opinion, the trickiest element of the final performance will be getting the cast's entrances and exits sorted. But given that most of this happy few have already performed on the stage a couple of times, that shouldn't prove too much of a problem.
The technical crew have now arrived, in the persons of James Gallagher and the suicidally competent Francis Clegg. Lights are going up, keys are being rattled and ladders are being moved around at frightening velocities. Having been involved with a number of technical set-ups over the past few years at Imperial, these are all good signs.
11:47 Rob Felstead as Galileo uses whatever surface is available to get some sleep.
11:36 While the cast collapse from exhaustion on their side of the hall, I've plugged in my earphones in an attempt to listen to some of the songs from the show as available on Spotify. So far I've had the chance to listen to "Innuendo" and "Radio Gaga", the first two songs of the first act. I can't claim to know much about Queen, so this is my attempt at full-scale immersion therapy as recommended by the lovely people collapsing from dehydration all around me.
Having listened to more Queen in the past 14 hours than in the rest of my life combined, it strikes me that there is something powerfully earthy in what I've heard so far. Music of a breathtakingly epic quality which explicitly names objects, fears and desires that ordinary human beings would encounter. I don't know if I'm making myself as clear on this point as I would like - let me get back to you once my philosophy of rock has some more time ro develop. Feel free to let me know what you think about the band and their music in the comments section below.
11:17 The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing gently through the open windows, the breakfast has all been eaten, and the guitarist is wearing a Brian May wig. Life could not better be. For those of you confused as to the identity of Queen's legendary guitarist, let me clarify that he has nothing to do with Brian Cox, Brian Cox, Lord Robert May or the Queen. It's as well to clear these things up early.
10:58 Here's a little treat for you all. Meanwhile, if any of you have ever doubted the usefulness or pleasure of sleep, I suggest you have a word with any of the lovely people sweating their eyes out in this room.
10:30 And we're back - only half an hour later than scheduled. My entrance into the Concert Hall coincided with an incredible ensemble rehearsal of the show's climax and title number: 'We Will Rock You'. I assume that the song's message wasn't specifically directed at me, but as the only audience member in the hall I feel entitled to take it personally.
So how are things going on this side of the half-way point? After more than fifteen hours spent in rehearsals, and almost 24 spent awake. the cast seem to be keeping themselves going through the sheer power of inertia acquired during the ensemble dances. Now that I've settled in again, I'm off to say my hellos, discover what has been achieved since I left last night, and see what the plan is for the coming hours.
02:45 All right all - this has been fun, but if I'm going to keep going tomorrow afternoon up until the performance, I'd better rush home and get a few hours' sleep. I hope to join you all again by 10:00 tomorrow morning - but bear in mind that this expectation may be edited in the morning depending on how late I oversleep!
Please do feel free to get in touch - questions or comments you may have about this experiment, or even your thoughts about the music of Queen. Hope you're sleeping well, and see you in a couple of hours.
02:36 It's been explained to me by Paul Beaumont (accomplished pianist and the superlative Musical Director of December's 'Imperial Collage') that this liveblog has served him well as a much-needed source of procrastination in this revision season. If the same applies to you, good to have you on board. After all, writing this liveblog is serving me the same purpose. Not to mention the cast. Some of them have exams starting on Monday morning, others are already midway through this open season on students. And yet this phenomenal cast of dedicated, demented people are throwing themselves into this with a fearlessness which is beautiful to witness. Nothing will deter them from getting the chance to make fools of themselves on stage. Not even the legitimate excuse of exam revision. We could use more people like them.
02:17 We have now officially reached the quarter-way point, and the stats are as follows:
- Of 7 choreographed numbers, 3 have been rehearsed past the point of exhaustion, and the fourth is currently limping its way to completeness in front of me. Excerpts from these numbers, including Radio Gaga, Killer Queen and, of course, We Will Rock You, can be found on Tosin Ajayi's YouTube Channel and on the facebook page.
- Much of the second act has been rehearsed. Which is to say, the lines have been read aloud in front of David Swain, who tonight has had the opportunity to direct in the manner of an assembly line employee. He's still going strong, however, with the printed schedule of scenes and characters being adhered to rigorously. We'll see how he's doing after his long-awaited early morning power nap.
- The band, in all its 5 piece glory, has been proven to exist. More details about the instruments and performers will come at a point in the morning when people regain enough energy to resume speaking.
- I still haven't had a chance to read the script. Or, for that matter, properly listen to the songs. Although Rebecca Jones' rendition of 'No one But You (Only the Good die Young)' beats a YouTube recording any day of the week.
WIth fifteen and a half hours to go, Happiness reigns.
Action shot at 01:29. -
00:57 Every time the recording shouts out "Commander Khashoggi", it's all I can do to stop thinking of Adnan Khashoggi. Who isn't a particularly interesting person, you understand, but has a great name for a meringue-based dessert.
The Khashoggi character in WWRY, by the way, is the commander of the Globalsoft police. Played by the suave, sinister, mushroom-hating Al Norman.
00:55 If you're out there, by the way, reading this, do feel free to say hi. You can leave a comment here below, tweet us at @feliximperial, or on the facebook group. Please do get in touch!
00:50 Silly season has arrived here in the Union Concert Hall, as choreographer James Perry's instructions to "enjoy your body" are greeted with snorts of schoolboyish laughter. The instructions to "behave like a child coming out of his mother's womb", by contrast, went down remarkably well. But the cast is still very well-behaved, making passionate progress on yet another heavily choreographed number: "Play the Game".
Speaking from experience as an actor and director of various student shows over the past few years, this is the most professional 6-hour rehearsal I've ever seen.
00:36 I still haven't seen a copy of this blasted script. There are about three copies of same making the rounds among 24 cast members, so I rank pretty low on the guest list.
Sitting next to the window, looking out at the stars above the Royal Albert Hall (too late for stars in the Royal Albert Hall, I'm afraid), this seems like an opportune time to mention Queen's specific relevance to the Imperial community. The guitarist Brian May, almost universally considered to be among the best living exponents of that instrument, is an Imperial alumnus. He studied physics at Imperial in the early '70s, getting about halfway through his PhD before deciding to take a brief leave of study. More than 30 years later, the 60-year old rock legend returned to his alma mater to complete his paper in astrophysics, entitled: A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud.
Since then, Brian May CBE has received a disproportionate amount of coverage from Imperial's Communications Centre as one of the university's few presentable graduates. Call me bitter, but I hardly think that David Irving would make as good a poster child. And the plot of his rock musical is, quite frankly, just plain silly.
00:15 Ok - I'm back. This is convenient - I seem to have settled into some sort of routine, coming to you promptly every hour. The next hour may see some more vociferous liveblogging from me, however, as the cast are now fed and watered and I seem to have some time to myself. So, we're a sixth of the way through this ordeal, and I think the onset of the late-night-high can be felt. Morale is high and appetites are low after a midnight gorging on Domino's Pizza and Lucy Harrold's Jelly.
The cast are now attempting their first run of "Radio GaGa" on the Concert Hall stage, and the amount of wiggling going on in the cast's hips is causing the jelly to turn green with envy. Or maybe that's the food colouring. Director David Swain has returned to his hiding place upstairs, consoling himself with visions of his 4am power nap. And his half of a meat feast pizza. Katie Clemence and Rob Felstead, who play Scaramouche and Galileo respectively, have spent most of the evening thus far locked away with David, in an attempt to run over as much of their dialogue as possible. And having raced through their rehearsal room in an attempt to find a spoon for Zoe (seekers of innuendo, see earlier remarks), my accidental overhearing of Rob's a cappella first run at 'We Will Rock You' was a definite highlight of last night.
23:09 It's incredible how time-consuming it can be to get a cast of 25 people to decide on pizza orders. Before I leave you again to carry out more catering related errands, I'd like to direct you all to this video from the rehearsals, courtesy of Tosin Ajayi and his ever-lovely YouTube channel. See you all soon.
22:11 Script-perusing can wait. I'm off to do a pizza run. Care for any pizza, readers?
22:05 Slices of Red Leicester on Cream Crackers are an ideal substitute for dinner. Hey-ho: off to look for a copy of Ben Elton's script.
21:56 Now, as James Perry has the cast firmly in his thrall, seems like a good time to share some of the information gleaned from informal conversations thus far. First and foremost, 5 of the 6 people I've spoken to have poked fun at this little enterprise. A trifle hurtful, but only fair. What would you think of someone who was planning to spend 24 hours sitting in a darkened corner of a room you were dancing around in, bathed in the metallic glow of a tiny laptop? Well exactly.
Seb Junemann, a society veteran and director of this summer's production of Guys and Dolls, pointed out to me earlier that "We Will Rock You" (or WWRY, as my fingertips politely request it to known) was a surprising but great choice for a project like this. Not only would most people know the music, he claimed, but the naturally chaotic, Bohemian show could only benefit from the exuberant disorganisation this 24 hour musical was certain to display. Those optimistic words came at 19:40 - before the first musical sing-through and well before the first dance rehearsal.
More recently, as I fetched a spoon for Zoe Humphries (begone, euphemists), she agreed with Seb's analysis but confessed that people seemed less aware of the admittedly complex Queen melodies than she, David and James might have hoped. Oh well. Nearly 21 and a half hours to go in which to fix that!
21:48 And, as it turns out, it's not a smart idea to run, don Quixote-like through a field of dancers swinging their arms like windmills. I seem to have caused a couple of bruises. Not a good start.
21:35 And speaking of dance rehearsals, it's time to introduce the final theatrical triumvir, James Perry. James was dance captain for 2010's phenomenal production of 'Hair', and directed this spring's run of 'Return to the Forbidden Planet'. Right now, however, he has his drill sergeant's stripes very firmly attached, as he leads the ensemble through a brisk dance warm-up.
21:33 Zoe Humphries really has her work as Musical Director cut out for her, with another four songs to cover for the first time in the next 5 minutes. 24 hours may seem like a long time to someone with a day of lectures ahead of them, but to the people in this room it seems like no time at all. For a more comprehensive overview of the theory of relativity, by the way, feel free to ask me at some point before my General Relativity exam in two weeks. But in the words of Lucy Harrold, who just looked over my shoulder to see me googling Albert Einstein quotes, this is not Queen.
Rehearsals are currently underway in two rooms - singing (and, later on, dancing) rehearsals are to be held in the Concert Hall, while David Swain is conducting script rehearsals with the principal cast upstairs.
21:05 This isn't so much a content-driven post as a format-driven one. With the article structured as it is, the cast list is currently very inelegantly displayed as a thin column on the left of the article. Anyone reading this post after it has been superseded will doubtless already be aware of its utter futility. But to thank you for getting this far, here's an emoticon. :-)
21:04 Calloo Callay! Ring the flags and raise the drums: here is as much of the cast list as I have sneakily been able to lay my hands on thus far.
Galileo Robert Felstead
Scaramouche Katie Clemence
Killer Queen Shamini Bundell
Pop Sebastian Junemann
Khashoggi Al Norman
Meat Rebecca Jones
Brit Phil Raymond
Ensemble: Charlotte Ivison, Sanee Patel, Owain Jones, Christine Simpson, Oluwatosin Ajayi, Sophie Campen, David Beaton, Lucy Harrold, Michael Willmott, Barry Whiteside, Felix Millne, Holly Russell-Allison, John Wheatley, Philip Jackson, Tony Bannister.
Director: David Swain
Musical Director: Zoe Humphries
Choreographer: James Perry
My apologies in advance for any and all mistakes and omissions. I will try and keep this updated over the course of the evening, and will let you know how recent this version is. [11:56]
20:51 I'm getting requests to put a cast list up on here, which has now moved to being my top priority. Alongside trying to get the wireless working again. I feel I should point out that the nature of this show necessitated auditions to be held at 16:00 this afternoon, and so there is a distinct shortage of any official documentation, such as cast lists, etc. I will now go and poke director David Swain until I get some information. After that - an attempt to read through the script while still awake enough to understand it.
20:28 The wireless situation now seems to be under control. Which makes my isolated spot at the corner of the Union Concert Hall seem somehow less lonely; though I could swear that a giant (empty) Ben & Jerry’s refrigerator is sneaking up behind me.
On the other side of the hall, Musical Director Zoe Humphries is leading the ensemble through some of the show’s songs. While I am sure that some of the songs I will hear over the next 24 hours will haunt me to my grave, I must confess that at the moment most of the songs being played are new to me. And, judging by some of the puzzled faces huddled around the piano, they may be new to the cast as well.
One song being rehearsed particularly vigorously is “Killer Queen”. Many of the gamers out there will recognize this song from any one of three separate iterations of the “Guitar Hero” series, though most people will probably just know it. For those in need of a reminder, feel free to check out this.
Which I would like to point out is exactly what the cast is sounding like in the hall at the moment. No, seriously. Exactly.
20:21 OK. So it seems as though finding a wireless network which will last the night will be harder than finding a coherent plot summary of this here musical. Bear with me through the technical difficulties and it's highly unlikely you will find yourself in a position which could later be described as regretful.
20:19 So – “We Will Rock You”. An unusual choice for all sorts of reasons. Best known as the show that many think ruined Ben Elton’s credibility, it has had a phenomenal 9-year run in the London West End. Funnily enough, this is a 9-year run almost to the day, as (according to the most reliable of sources) the show opened at the Dominion Theatre on the 14th of May 2002.
It is a favourite catchphrase of theatre critics to say that “the plot revolved” around one thing or another. I’m not quite sure why plots are supposed to do so much purposeless revolving rather than, say, progressing in one direction or another, but who am I to judge. The plot of “We Will Rock You”, if we’re going on the available reviews, might as well not exist. Rather than condemning Ben Elton out of hand, however, I’m tempted to decide for myself.
We find ourselves catapulted 300 years into the future, into a world where instruments are banned and rock music has disappeared from public consciousness. The population has been forcibly packaged under the Orwellian thumb of the Globalsoft Corporation, run by the ruthless Killer Queen. A rebellion of so-called Bohemians, led by the messianic character of Galileo, attempts to overthrow the oppressors through the power of rock. Apparently, they succeed.
This is all I have been able to glean of the plot after twenty minutes of reading online summaries and reviews. Either my mind is slipping or, and here’s a thought, the plot might actually be less important than the songs.
Next up, a look at some of the Queen songs to be featured in this show.
19:25 It's going to be a long evening, and hopefully we'll get the chance to speak to some of the revellers at greater length later on. But first, the triumvirate at the head of this incredible undertaking have just announced the name of the show. David Swain nonchalantly goes over to his laptop, and presses play on what he calls: "One of the most famous numbers of the show, and indeed of all time". Silence falls among the cast as the opening notes of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" fill the hall. Cheers are heard from some, silence from others as they realise this means they will be performing Ben Elton's musical of Queen songs: "We Will Rock You". Next up on this blog: a bit of the history behind the musical, details of the casting and profiles of the people involved in this crazy operation.
19:17 The cast is now assembled. Not that they know what they are the cast for yet, but that hasn’t stopped people getting friendly. The ubiquitous circle is formed, and so far 26 people have remembered to show up on time. You would think that with 24 hours in which to work, a delay of a few minutes would be forgiven – but director David Swain has made it clear that every second counts. Not that the cast has taken anything he’s said very seriously thus far – something which is sure to be a recurring theme of the night.
18:03 In 90 minutes' time - beautifully scheduled to allow interested parties to watch this week's episode of Doctor Who - Imperial's Musical Theatre Society (MTSoc) takes on its biggest challenge in recent memory. Their aim is to cast, rehearse, design and perform a full-scale musical in the space of 24 hours. This includes learning dance routines, teaching the band the full score, and preparing any set dressing or props that will be required. A mammoth task certainly not for the faint-hearted.
At the moment, only three select members of the society know which musical is to be performed, and rumours and speculation are rife among the nearly 50 participants. The big announcement will be made at 19:30 tonight, which means that one and all can expect an outstanding performance at the same time tomorrow night.
Stay tuned to the felix website for our first attempt at liveblogging in recent memory. If musical theatre types can stay awake and coherent for 24 hours, then maybe a student journalist can do the same. Find out!