Bryn dons his tap shoes

 Headshot of Bryn

Headshot of Bryn

Three pairs of tap shoes, a trilby hat, overcoat, a prop violin and an umbrella.  The contents of Bryn Hughes’s rehearsal bag reveal the paraphernalia required when you’re the all-singing, all-dancing leading man in one of the best-loved musicals of all time – Singin’ in the Rain.

“It’s the biggest role I’ve ever played, and the most challenging,” admits Bryn. “My character, Don Lockwood, is on stage nearly all the time, and when I’m not, I’m usually in the middle of a very quick costume change!”

Don is a Hollywood heartthrob from the 1920s, a star of the silent movies whose background as a song and dance man helps him make the transition to ‘talking pictures’.  But it’s more of a struggle for his squeaky-voiced co-star, the demanding diva Lina Lamont. 

“There’s a lot of comedy in the show,” says Bryn. “Lina’s determined her voice should be heard on screen, but Don knows it’ll be a disaster, so a secret plan is hatched...”

Bryn and the rest of the cast have been putting in the hours rehearsing the show’s spectacular musical numbers, including Good Mornin’, Broadway, Make ‘Em Laugh, Moses Supposes and All I Do Is Dream Of You.

They’ve also had great fun filming the movie sequences for the show in the grounds of Worting House, just outside Basingstoke.

But it’s the title number of the show – immortalised by Gene Kelly in the film version – that audiences will be intrigued to see. Will it really be raining on stage? And will Bryn be getting wet?

“Yes!” says Bryn. “As the song goes, ‘I’m dancin’ and singin’ in the rain’ and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing!  It's a clever piece of set design - you’ll just have to wait and see how we achieve it!"

Singin’ in The Rain is at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wednesday 9th-Saturday 19th May. Performances at 7.30pm with extra 2.30pm shows on Saturday 12th & 19th.

All tickets for the opening night are £18.50.  For the other performances: £23.50 (adults)  £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-65s and groups.  All prices include a booking fee.  Buy tickets online.

 Bryn in one of his costumes for the filming of the silent movie sequences

Bryn in one of his costumes for the filming of the silent movie sequences

Husband and wife duo as Kathy and Cosmo

 Will and Anneka take a break from rehearsal for a quick picture!

Will and Anneka take a break from rehearsal for a quick picture!

“This is a new lease of life for us!”   

That’s Anneka Wass’s view on performing in Singin’ in the Rain alongside her husband Will Keel-Stocker. 

“I’m tap dancing again after a ten year break,” says Anneka. “Fortunately it’s all coming back to me! It’s good to be performing in the evening – after teaching musical theatre at Barton Peveril College all day.”

Anneka plays aspiring actress Kathy Selden, while Will is vaudeville star Cosmo Brown, in BATS’ production of the classic musical about 1920s Hollywood struggling to cope with the introduction of 'talking pictures'.

Both Will and Anneka have impressive musical pedigrees.  Aside from his day job as a product design engineer, Will is a talented drummer who’s performed around the world, and a composer with credits including two songs for the recent Rosamund Pike film United Kingdom.

Anneka is a member of the 1940s vocal trio Three Belles, who’ve performed at vintage fairs and even the Isle of Wight Festival.  The pair first met gigging at Portsmouth University – but Singin’ in the Rain is the first time they’ve appeared together in a musical.

“In fact, it’s the first musical I’ve ever been in!” admits Will. “Anneka is being very patient helping me rehearse my dances!”

The pair couldn’t resist auditioning as Singin’ in the Rain is their favourite film - one of the numbers from the show was also chosen for their first dance at their wedding!

So performing in the show this May looks set to be a very special experience for this married couple – and one they’re loving every moment of bringing to the stage.

Singin’ in The Rain is at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wednesday 9th-Saturday 19th May. Performances at 7.30pm with extra 2.30pm shows on Saturday 12th & 19th.

All tickets for the opening night are £18.50.  For the other performances: £23.50 (adults)  £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-65s and groups.  All prices include a booking fee.  Buy tickets online.

The making of the Duelling Cavalier - Singin' in the Rain

The cast of Singin' in the Rain endured the rain on Good Friday to film the silent movie sequences that feature in the show.

Click on the image to watch the movie and browse additional behind the scenes photos.

Watch the movie

Action shots and behind the scene images

Kirsty talks about playing her biggest BATS role to date

 Headshot photo of Kirsty Bennett

Headshot photo of Kirsty Bennett

 Kirsty dressed up in her finery as Lina Lamont for the filming of the silent movie sequences

Kirsty dressed up in her finery as Lina Lamont for the filming of the silent movie sequences

In real life, Kirsty Bennett has a gorgeous singing voice, showcased at children’s parties and charity events where she appears in the guise of various fairy tale princesses.  But Lina Lamont, the diva-esque film star Kirsty plays in Singin’ in the Rain, has a voice best described as fingernails scraping down a blackboard.

“That’s a big challenge,” admits Kirsty. “Lina has a really harsh throaty voice so I’m working out tactics to avoid damaging my vocal chords!"

But for Kirsty it’s worth it. Lina is her biggest role in a BATS show to date.

“I’ve always loved comedy and I’ve longed to play a big character part like this,” she says. “Lina is a star of the silent movies so her fans have never actually heard her speak.  So when Hollywood decides her next film should be a “talking picture”, there’s a big problem!”

Trying to teach Lina to speak ‘properly’ is one of the comic highlights of Singin’ in the Rain. Kirsty has one big musical number too, but of course the show is best known for the title song, immortalised by Gene Kelly in the most famous sequence from the 1952 MGM movie.
“It’s my mum’s favourite musical,” says Kirsty, “and it’s just as well because we’re watching the DVD a lot in our house at the moment!” 

Kirsty’s own young daughter Emelia is also a fan and loves seeing her mum perform, which she’s been doing since taking dance lessons at the age of three. Kirsty’s first show with BATS was in 2005 with Sweeney Todd.  After a spell as a holiday camp entertainer around the UK, she has appeared in most BATS shows since returning to Basingstoke in 2011.

“I most enjoy working with my friends on stage,” explains Kirsty. “It really is a big team effort. Everyone is really supportive of each other, and doing all they can to make this the best possible show.  I can’t wait for people to see it!” 

Singin’ in The Rain is at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wednesday 9th-Saturday 19th May. Performances at 7.30pm with extra 2.30pm shows on Saturday 12th & 19th.

ll tickets for the opening night are £18.50.  For the other performances: £23.50 (adults)  £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-65s and groups.  All prices include a booking fee.  Buy tickets online.

Rehearsal dates for the 60th anniversary concert

To celebrate our 60th anniversary year, we will be performing a one night concert at the Anvil on Saturday 23 June.  You will need to audition to perform and it is open to past, current and prospective members.

The full list of dates are as follows:

Pre-auditions
Venue: Christ Church, Reading Road, Chineham, RG4 8LT, 19:30 - 22:00 hours
Tuesday 27th, Thursday 29th March
Tuesday 3rd April and Wednesday 4th April

Auditions
Venue: Market Chambers, Wote Street, Basingstoke, 10:00 onwards

Sunday 8th April

Rehearsals
Venue: Christ Church, Reading Road, Chineham, RG4 8LT, 19:30 - 22:00 hours

Tuesday 10th April (Shaftesbury Room)
Thursday 12th April (Shaftesbury Room)
Thursday 26th April (Shaftesbury Room)
Monday 14th May (Shaftesbury Room)
Monday 21 May (Wesley Hall)
Wednesday 23rd May (Shaftesbury Room)
Wednesday 30th May (Shaftesbury Room)
Monday 4th June (Shaftesbury Room)
Wednesday 6th June (Shaftesbury Room)
Monday 11th June (Shaftesbury Room)
Wednesday 13th June (Shaftesbury Room)
Monday 18th June - Orchestra call (venue TBC)
Wednesday 20th June (Shaftesbury Room)

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