Kiss Me Kate - The Company
Lilli Vanessi - Jemma Game
This is Jemma's first production with "The Cows" and she tells us she couldn't feel more at home! She is delighted to be playing Lilli Vanessi but says that "It came as a shock to me as I was such a new member in a very enthusiastic Herd!" It was also a pleasant surprise to find out that she had been cast opposite James. " I am extremely excited to be on stage again and feel very privileged to be playing opposite James, my real life "other half"".
Living in Shrewsbury all her life, Jemma started performing as a very small child with Game Productions, before as an adult, gaining her National Diploma and HND in Musical Theatre. She has been part of many local stage productions. Currently, Jemma is working and saving hard and hopes one day to make it to the BIG Stage!
Frederick Graham - James Pinches
James pockets his blue blanket (The Producers), drops his cane (The Drowsy Chaperone) and dons his muscles and adoring smile for his third production with MCP.
Whilst musicals are James's forte, he has also performed in plays, films and radio plays, including several Shakespeares. So he promises that you will be able to understand the Shakespeare in this show!
He was shocked but delighted to hear that he had won his first romantic lead, however after playing "over the top", "camp" or "helpless" characters, the butch, strong - minded Frederick Graham proved to be quite a challenge!
But with the advantage of his leading lady, being his real life leading lady, James has thoroughly enjoyed the process and cannot wait for the opening night!
Louis Lane - Melissa Wellington
Melissa loves being a mad cow!
She works as a Tele Marketing Executing for DB Roberts the Estate Agents and is a self employed Make Up Artist in her spare time, having recently gained a BTEC level 2 certificate in Designing and Applying Make-Up.
Although she thoroughly enjoys both of these jobs it is undoubtedly the stage that is her favourite place to shine. The delightfully sexy Lois Lane is Melissa's fourth role with MCP (She hopes for many more!) and it is a role that will provide her with the opportunity to showcase all the skills she acquired gaining her BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts, and a Certificate in Creative Drama from Birmingham School of Acting.
Bill Calhoun - Ryan Brown
New Herd member Ryan was born in Nuneaton but has lived in Shrewsbury for most of his life. A huge fan of films and music, he’s often to be found with headphones on, listening to a favourite track or reading a film magazine. This interest in the arts and performance was present from an early age, and after school he studied a BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts at Shrewsbury College of Art and Technology.
It’s now twelve years since he left SCAT and Ryan is married with three daughters and works at Shrewsbury’s Mercedes-Benz dealership. Ryan’s three girls however have inherited dad’s love of performing and recently he was watching them in their Stage 2 show. Ryan says that during that performance “I was reminded how much I missed it, so I auditioned for Mad Cow and only wish I had done it sooner.”
The Cows are very glad that he finally made it through the doors and that his skills are in one piece! “We’re absolutely sure that our audiences will enjoy his performance as the gambling addicted Bill Calhoun” they said.
1st Man - Robert Hinton
Nineteen sixty-something. An end of term concert. A bony youth comes on to the stage, steps into a pair of adult size 12 wellingtons and declaims: “John had great big waterproof boots on”. His fellow performers follow with “John had a great big waterproof hat” and “John had a great big waterproof mackintosh” before they finish together: “And that said John is that.”
And that was that. Robert’s childhood acting career lasted about twenty seconds. It hardly qualifies as a deprived childhood, but looking back it really was a miss-spent youth.
However, it’s never too late to start. For the last fifteen years Robert has been almost continuously involved in a play or musical, whether performing, building sets or minding the finances – or often a bit of all three (apparently this is what Robert thinks is meant by “the triple threat”). He is greatly looking forward to being threatening in Kiss Me Kate - his eleventh MCP show.
2nd Man - James Archer
This is James’ssecond musical with MCP. After playing the iconic role of Max Bialystock in The Producers, James has thrown himself into the different but equally challenging role of Man 2 (He finds it very hard keeping still and serious!). A musical theatre graduate James is currently pursuing his dreams and is busy sending his CV’s and headshots to London agents, and is travelling to and fro to London for auditions. He tells us that he has really enjoyed working with the MCP production team again and enjoys the company’s professional values. James says “I hope you enjoy this show and give loads of cheers and laugh in all the right places. Apologies in advance for the numerous encores (you will understand). Thank you for supporting local talent. Love James x”
You can follow James’s adventure on Twitter @jarch1986
General Harrison Howell - Glenn Varley
This is Glenn's second role in a musical for MCP having previously made his debut performance in ' Drowsy Chaperone' last year. When he auditioned he told us that he had joined Mad Cows to “raise his game” in the Amateur dramatics arena, though he had appeared in a range of productions over the last 15 years for Theatre groups both in the UK and Cyprus. In the Broadway revival of 'Kiss Me Kate', Glenn plays General Harrison Howell, a challenging role that will continue, he hopes, to project him to stardom and the West End!!!
Glenn settled in Shropshire after touring the globe with the Royal Air Force and is now an Air Traffic Controller working shifts at Birmingham Airport. Outside of work he loves touring on his motorbike, supporting both a son and daughter at University and discovering new walks with his partner Liz and their Labrador!!
Paul - Adam Green
Adam has known the Mad Cows for longer than they care to remember. He was a member of SAOS Stagecoach, a Saturday morning drama group that Lisa and Alex used to run for children aged between 8 and 18. While there he took on many lead roles and it is a delight to both Mad Cows that he is performing with them again!
Adam grew up in Shrewsbury and early in his life discovered his love for the theatre, a love he continued into adulthood. As a mature student, aged 28, he took on a full time Access Diploma in Performing Arts at The City and Islington College, London. Adam's other passion in life is travel, and before taking his diploma he worked as Cabin Crew for Virgin Atlantic Airways, and though he dreams that one day his big theatrical break may come his way, it's the day job that pays the bills!
Hattie - Netty Brook
This is Netty's first role but she is no stranger to being up on stage!!
She was born in Yorkshire but left it as soon as possible (aged 18 and involving a pianist...mistake number one). Always interested in theatre and dance she found herself aged 18 singing in a band which led to.... more bands (and more musicians!) and more music. She spent three years in the Middle East singing before returning to settle for a time in Manchester. There she worked with a number of bands performing original music and at the same time carrying out session work for films and other musical productions.
Netty's day job became care work which has lasted longer than she ever envisaged, due to the feast or famine nature of the music business. Netty moved to Shropshire in 2011 to be a personal assistant - turning one familys tragedy to entertaining chaos (She hopes!). Netty’s faith is her defining characteristic as well as she says "being over qualified for any role with the word “mad” in it."
Baptista - Richard Taylor
This is Richard's first part with the 'Mad Cow's' and he has loved the whole process, "they're a great bunch of people all with a shared aim of doing their best. Carefully steered by Alex and Lisa I have felt very confident amongst The Herd" he said. Richard moved into North Shropshire some 10 years ago, leaving London and The City behind to raise his two sons in the Shropshire countryside, drawing his pension from 2008 Richard felt slightly guilty when the banking crisis hit. So in order to contribute again, he sent his wife out to work and now supports his own Kate in running The Boathouse Restaurant in Ellesmere. Passionate about the theatre he can't wait to step on the stage of the magnificent Theatre Severn, where for the run of performances of Kiss Me Kate he will feel like a true professional.
Gremio - Josh Croft
Having performed in many productions for Dorrington Young Farmers where he played a variety of roles, from a Cowboy to Edmund in Blackadder, Josh is no stranger to the stage. Now too long in the tooth for young farmers, this is his first outing for Mad Cow Productions. Born and bred in Shropshire, he has worked in retail for the last few years (He says it seems like forever!) and for many years had worked in a local garden centre which for legal reasons he can't mention - but it wasn't Percy Throwers!
It was in this work place he met his wife Alex and they are expecting their first child on May 13th, so if you happen to be in the audience and see a heavily pregnant, beautiful young lady, please give her a wave! (Although Josh doesn't recommend sitting next to her unless you're a trained Midwife!).
When he's not at work or with his wife or at rehearsal, Josh enjoys playing cricket, shooting and flying helicopters - and yes he does take passengers!
Hortensio - Theo Millward
18 months after joining MCP, Theo has truly caught the bug as now embarks on his third production. He says that the challenge is relaxing!
Having learnt to tap dance and roller skate for his first appearance with Mad Cow, as Robert in The Drowsy Chaperone, and more recently, deploying some French from his school days as the rather angry Gendarme Popineau in In The Club, Theo has now had to 'Brush up his Shakespeare' (see what he did there) for Kiss Me Kate.
Outside of rehearsals, having trained as an Accountant in London, Theo is Operations Director of the international leisure group, STA. Theo is keen to point out that despite working in countries as far afield as Saudi Arabia and Australia, STA operate locally through the Shropshire Swim Academy with Shropshire Council.
Ralph - Paul Bromley
Paul is a true Salopian having been born within the loop of the River Severn in Shrewsbury. He worked as a Civil Servant for 24 years before leaving in 2008 to train to become a driving instructor. Paul loves teaching and is fast getting a reputation for being extremely patient and calm, an excellent combination, especially for the nervous student!
Paul has been working with Mad Cow’s very own Musical Cow Hollie Whittles and her company ‘Fraggleworks’ to create a very swanky new web site for his driving school. Paul’s biggest challenge has been to learn how to upload news articles and photos onto the site and has made many late night ‘emergency’ calls to Hollie to undo his mistakes! If you’d like to see the new website please go to www.paulbromleysom.co.uk
Paul is happily married to Rae whom he met 12 years ago during a local production of ‘42nd Street’. He shares a passion for travel with his wife Rae and most recently visited Canada to experience a true Canadian winter.
Pops - Eric Pover
Eric has performed in productions in Shropshire, Mid Wales and Cheshire taking leading roles in shows including: The Merry Widow, Carousel, 42nd Street, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers plus many more too numerous to mention. Much sought-after as an actor, director and choreographer Eric has been nominated for various NODA awards both as an actor and as a director. Kate marks his return to the stage in Shrewsbury and he is excited to be working with such a talented company.Eric would like to dedicate his performance to his late mother who was his great inspiration and supporter.