We’ve reached our final 10 days of Cinderella: A Fairytale here at Tobacco Factory Theatres and took the chance to catch up with show musician Alex Heane for a chat about his many instruments, show rehearsals and a super-sized bass drum.
Alex, we’ve loved having you with us for Cinderella: A Fairytale. Being part of a Christmas production, you barely had a break while many were relaxing over the holidays. What were some of your festive highlights?
Yes, it was all very rushed but I managed to make it home to Cornwall for Christmas. Highlights – I got home on Christmas Eve, I went for a pint with my friends and then I went back to my family home and I played piano for them all while they all sang carols. It was great!
What’s your musical background and how did you become involved in theatre?
I started playing guitar after my dad gave me his old one when I was about 10, and then I played in my secondary school jazz band and that was where I got interested in the double bass. We had one in the school, it was awful but they said “why don’t you try that?” I got really into it! Those are still the two key instruments in my life.
I grew up watching Kneehigh shows in Cornwall and was always amazed by the way in which they integrated music and theatre together. And how amazing everyone was on their musical instruments in the show! So I’ve branched out onto other things, like accordions and most recently the trumpet, which is a new addition!
Exactly how many instruments do you play in total throughout the show?
Let me count – there’s double bass, trumpet, guitar, accordion, the harp. I sing and there are lots of percussion instruments. Oh, and a dulcimer as well! So 7 or 8 main instruments, and that’s just for me…
Music is such an intrinsic part of this production. How do you remember all of your cues?
We’re there in rehearsals from the start and it’s like an actor learning their track – you learn where to be and when. That helps lock it in a lot. But there are a lot of little cues and occasionally one of us will give the other a funny look as a reminder!
What’s your favourite scene to play?
My favourite is the running to the ball scene – it’s a classic drum and bass moment. It’s such a brilliant movement scene and I get to hit the massive bass drum that’s suspended in the air, and that always feels pretty good!
Catch Alex Heane and Brian Hargreaves performing Benji Bower’s incredible score to Cinderella: A Fairytale, here at Tobacco Factory Theatres until Sun 22 January. For more information see the main show page.
Check out the rest of our Cinderella: A Fairytale blog:
50 Best Plays for Young Audiences
Posted on 12 January 2017