Anything Goes - Chris Andrews in rehearsal

"I'm really looking forward to the atmosphere of the dressing room, that pre-show buzz - and performing alongside such a quality group of people!" Enthusiasm bubbles out of 28-year-old Chris Andrews. He clearly can't wait to make his Haymarket stage debut in Basingstoke Amateur Theatrical Society's production of Anything Goes. The Cole Porter musical is set on board a glamorous ocean liner in the 1930s and Chris is full of praise for the team behind the show.

Chris Andrews in rehearsal for Anything Goes (rear right of shot)
Chris Andrews in rehearsal for Anything Goes (rear right of shot)

"The director Ray Jeffery really cares about detail. He won't just tell someone where to stand and leave the rest to them - he'll specify what he wants from each individual. But he also knows the overall effect he wants to achieve and that's really impressive."

Chris plays the ship's purser, but is also understudying the lead role of Billy Crocker. It means he's had to attend every rehearsal, alongside his day job as an IT. teacher at Fort Hill Community School.

"It can be difficult to juggle commitments," he admits, "and I'm sure the two weeks of the show will be pretty stressful - but so far I've been lucky that parents' evenings haven't fallen on rehearsal nights!"

Essex-born Chris may be a newcomer to BATS but he's no stranger to the local amateur theatre scene, having appeared in the musical "Modern Major General" with HAGS in Hartley Wintney, and in two shows with the Holy Ridiculous Church in Odiham.

With Anything Goes he faces the new challenge of learning to tap dance - but has a home advantage: "My girlfriend can tap so she's helping me with the basic steps."

Chris says he's had a warm welcome from BATS members and would recommend the company to anyone who fancies performing or working backstage: "With BATS the whole cast is so strong, you can really feel the energy when we're all together - it's going to be great!

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