Strike A Match, a new musical comedy by Carolyn Drury, will be performed at the Robin Hood Theatre, Averham
IT’S said your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest of your life, so combine this with the passion of The Beautiful Game and you are surely on to a winner.
At least that’s what renowned Newark dramatist Carolyn Drury is aiming for with her new musical comedy, Strike A Match.
The production, which opens at The Robin Hood Theatre, Averham, in May, is the third time in as many years that Carolyn has teamed up with musical director Cliff McArdle.
As with Ton Of Bricks in March 2017 and Giving Up Guilt last June, Carolyn has written and will direct the latest work, while Cliff has provided original music and lyrics.
“I think it’s the best one yet,” said Carolyn, 74, who was head of creative and performing arts at Newark College and a drama teacher for Nearly Instant Theatre Sessions drama workshops.
“I wanted to write something that ended with a wedding so I asked everyone if they had been to any unusual ceremonies,” she continued.
“My son’s partner said she had been at university with this girl who, out of the blue, asked her to be a bridesmaid.
“The girl’s flat was covered in Liverpool posters and the whole wedding was themed around football, with all the men watching a match on their phones.
“I knew nothing about football before but I feel I have learned a lot, particularly about the FA Cup.”
Unfortunately, Liverpool, whose anthem of You’ll Never Walk Alone is ironically taken from a musical, doesn’t make it into Strike a Match.
Instead Carolyn has invented two teams, Bow-castle Rovers and Bowcastle United.
“The story’s turned out to be about the class system too,” she continued, “as one family is very hard up and the other family is rich.”
The piece, which took about six months to write, was finished around November last year.
“I wasn’t working flat out,” said Carolyn, who grew up in Newark and has lived most of her life there, “and there was thinking time too.
“I write it and insert when there should be a song and what about, then Cliff takes it from there. Often he does more original things than I’d thought of. He’s very talented and lovely to work with.”
The pair are old friends from Newark when Carolyn was a governor at Bowbridge School and he was a teacher there.
Carolyn trained as an actress at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, whose students have also included the likes of Daniel Craig, Orlando Bloom, Ewan McGregor, Lily James and the Fifth Beatle, George Martin.
But she confessed she had actually wanted to be a writer since childhood.
“I wrote my first book when I was nine, just copied from a text book about poet laureates,” said Carolyn. “Then I had a play published in the 1970s and I’ve just had a couple of one-act comedy dramas published, Just Coping, about a woman who’s left on her own, and Guests.”
“But bringing up four children and having a high-powered job at the college, I had no time to write.
“Now I’m retired, I do as I like,” said Carolyn, who also has two step-children and four grandchildren.
“I just tell people that my imagination is the only thing that still works. Having worked in drama, writing does come easily to me.”
Rehearsals are well underway for Strike A Match, which has 15 characters, and are going well, according to the writer.
“We’ve had good houses for the other two musicals, so I’m hoping people will turn out again,” she said.
The musical, presented by Stroke Of Genius Community Theatre Company, will run from 7.30pm, May 14 to May 18, at Averham.
Tickets, priced £10, are available online at www.robinhoodtheatre.co.uk or by calling: 07733 179986.