The Grinning Man Rehearsal Diary – Week 2

The Grinning Man rehearsals are heating up in our London rehearsal room and our end result is already in clear sight! Here, Associate Director Ben Woolf exclusively reveals all the latest updates in this week 2 rehearsal diary.


Our second week’s rehearsal continues our headlong dash through THE GRINNING MAN.  We’re aiming to get to act runs as quickly as possible.

It’s particularly important for us to run longer sequences because, with so many different creative elements, we need to understand what’s working and what can be temporarily put aside.  And where the real work remains.  For the cast, it’s hugely helpful for them to understand the arc and journey of their characters.

So, by Wednesday, we take on a staggered run of Act One – the entire first half of the show.  It’s really exciting to see the shape of the show begin to emerge.  There are still a couple of hiccups.  Moments when, for instance, the music and script don’t dovetail as neatly as we might like.  And others when the rhythm of the narrative presents opportunities to explore later in rehearsals.  Overall, though, we’re all pretty exuberant.

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Puppetry design concept by Gyre and Gimble and Writer Carl Grose in the rehearsal room.

Tom Morris fosters an exceptionally open and collaborative environment.  After the run, we sit as a company to discuss how the run felt from all perspectives.  Carl Grose (writer) and Tim Philips and Marc Teitler (composers) have lots of ideas as to how we might proceed.

The rest of the week is spent forging on with the Second Act.  As before, it’s a mix of different creative and technical elements.  This week sees the introduction of our fight director, John Sandeman.  The show climaxes with a duel which is described in the script as ‘incredible’ and ‘epic’.  No pressure.

Movement director and choreographer Jane Gibson continues her work on movement and dance with the company, developing the structure for a bigger dance number – THE SMILING SONG MEDLEY.

It’s been another great week!  One more week in London, then we’re off to rehearse in Bristol.


The Grinning Man is the gripping musical conclusion to our 250th Anniversary Season 13 Oct-13 Nov. For more info and to book tickets, click here.

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