The Drowsy Chaperone - The Cast
Robert Hinton - Man In The Chair
Having grown up in Yorkshire, Robert, with Alex and sons Andy and Al, came to Shrewsbury in 1992. He has been a regular performer in musicals and plays for about twelve years now. Sometimes he thinks it will kill him, but mostly he likes to think it keeps him young!
Robert has spent a lot of time listening to music from an early age and thinks this gives him a lot in common with “Man in Chair”. Always a fan of albums rather than single songs, he loves to lose himself in a record for an hour or two. He likes obscure lyrics that keep him guessing as to what the writer meant (Bob Dylan is a favourite). And when it comes to musicals, he thinks perfection comes from George and Ira Gershwin. Robert wouldn’t want to take the similarity to “Man in Chair” too far, though – for one thing he enjoys real life, not just musical fantasyland!
Lauren Bellingham - Janet Van Der Graaff
From a very young age Lauren knew she wanted to be on stage. On leaving school she studied at Shrewsbury College for a BTEC and a then an HND in Musical Theatre for which she received triple distinctions. She achieved a place at the prestigeous Performers College but a hip injury forced her to leave. Picking up the academic threads she has recently graduated from Glyndwr University with a 2:1 in Theatre and Performance, of course!
'The Drowsy Chaperone' is Lauren's third show since joining Mad Cow and Janet Van De Graff is the most challenging role she has undertaken to date, and Lauren can't wait to 'Show Off' all her hard work.
Favourite Record: 'At Last' by Etta James.
Reason: "Because the music is so beautiful and I love singing along to it in the car imagining I am a jazz singer in the smoky jazz clubs of the 1930/40's."
Theo Millward - Robert Martin
New to MCP Theo's passion for music was established at a very early age, having sat at a piano from the age of four.
A few small roles in Shrewsbury School productions, working with MCP co founder Alex Hinton, gave him a taste of life on the stage but now, some 10 years later, Theo has his first principal role.
Learning tap dancing and roller skating, completely from scratch, has been an interesting challenge, but Theo has taken it head on, using every morsel of help on offer from some distinguished professionals from "the business". Outside of rehearsals, having trained as an Accountant in London, Theo is a Director of a software company based in Birmingham.
Favourite Record: Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head.
Reason: "They were the first band I ever saw live, it was the 11th of November 2001. I can remember it like it was yesterday, can I add 'Comfortably Numb' by Pink Floyd? Because it is an amazing piece of musical genius!"
Michelle Hicken - The Drowsy Chaperone
Born and raised in Shrewsbury, Michelle is married to Mike and has two young children Matty and Meg. Michelle works as an IT Administrator for the Burnt Tree Group.
This year Michelle is learning to tap dance having become addicted to it since watching Sian and Lauren tapping away during The Producers.
Favourite Song: Start Me Up – The Rolling Stones
Reason: "My Dad and I love The Rolling Stones and at my wedding we rocked out to this song for our Father and Bride ‘slow’ Dance!"
James Pinches - Aldolpho
James is a Musical Theatre student currently studying towards a Higher National Diploma. He joined MCP to play Leo Bloom in The Producers, so this is Jame's second show with the company. For all those who may be curious, yes he still has his blue blanket!!
James is now twenty and after he finishs his course, he hopes that a world of performance awaits!
Favourite Record: Tom Minchin's Matilda
Reason: "The diversity in styles is astounding and the exhilarating portrayal of Ms Truncbull by Bertie Carvell, is truely iconic. It's second to none!"
Alex Hinton - Mrs Tottendale
Co founder of Mad Cow Productions Alex thought it was about time she brushed off her own on stage skills having directed/produced all of MCP's productions since its inception in 2003. Prior to MCP's creation Alex was a regular lead in local musical theatre productions. Unfortuantely despite the passing of years she discovered that auditioning was as nerve wracking as ever!!
Heavily influenced by her son Alisdair's playing of music at volume when he was at home, her current favourite album is The Black Album by Metallica.
Reason: "Whatever the stresses of production it always lifts my spirits when I play it, at volume, in my car!"
Stephen De Launey - Underling
Stephen's greatest love is the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, in which he has played manty leading roles over the years. Apart from G&S he has also appeared in plays and musiclas including; The Winslow Boy, Me and My Girl, and 'Allo, 'Allo.
One of the founder acting members of Mad Cow Productions he has appeared in a number of productions, most recently as The Comander in Not Now Darling.
A project manager for a large IT Company (Though he insists he does NOT like IT!!), Stephen also has a lifelong interest in politics and is currently a Wellington Town Councillor.
Tom Saxton - George
Welsh born and Shrewsbury bred Tom has performed form an early age; firstly at Kingsland Grannge and later at Shrewsbury School. He has appeared a number of times at The Edinburgh Festival and even trod the boards twice at the Linbury Studio, in The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Tom's stage career buit to a crescendo when, under the tutelage of Alex, Lisa & Simon Dearsley, he played Frederick in the 2006 SAOS production of The Pirates of Penzance.
Tom then took early retirement from the stage to travel the world employed as a deck hand on luxury sailing yachts, travelling as far as Australia, for nearly a year.
In 2008 Tom returned to Shrewsbury to begin a career with Autoclimate, based in Atcham where he is now Marketing Manager.As you can see Alex and Lisa have mastered their powers of persuasion over the past six years and gently nudged Tom back onto the stage to play George the stressed out best man. A role that he is greatly looking forward to and to which he feels well suited!
Favourite Record: My music taste is very eclectic so this is tough, but currently it is the Skillex album, Scary Monstors and Nice Spirits.
Reason: No matter how stressed out this best man gets this brings me right back up again, calms me down and gets me moving.
Sian Archer - Kitty
Sian is currently teaching dance at Stage 2 Performing Arts Academy in Shrewsbury. She is a fully qualified dance teacher with The Imperial Society of Teachers Of Dance and Sian teaches Tap, Modern and Cecchetti Clasical Ballet. Sian gained these qualifications at Kate Simmons Dance Ltd, a vocational college in Warrington.
To date Sian's MCP roles have all been dancing ones and she is very excited to be undertaking her first speaking part in The Drowsey Chaperone, the gloriously dizzy Kitty!
Favourite Record: Take That's Rule The World.
Reason: "Because it brings back so many fond memories..."
Bob Gibbs - Mr Feltzeig
New to MCP Bob was an Architect who took early retirement from his own successful practice on the “stop while you’re ahead” theory. He has two grown up sons, a partner of 10 years, Joanna, and a black labrador called Molly.
Apart from Amateur Theatre Bob's interests include: Campervan holidays, hill walking, and diy.
When not at work Bob's time was taken up with plenty of youth work, and several years as a volunteer at Hope House children’s hospice, (where he met his partner Jo) more recently he is hands on doing diy work at the Stretton Mayfair Community Centre.
Bob's musical theatre career began in Gilbert and Sullivan societies in the Wolverhampton area, and more recently varied shows in Oswestry Musical Theatre Company.
His favourite record: "Tough one! Anything from Les Mis or “Let It Be” by the Beatles, a good sentiment for life."
Paul Bromley - Pastry Chef
A true Salopian, having been born within the loop of the River Severn in Shrewsbury, Paul left the county to train as a radio operator in the Merchant Navy before swapping life on the high seas for the Royal Air Force. After 4 years in the RAF Paul returned to Shropshire and became a Civil Servant for 24 years leaving in 2008 to train as a driving instructor. Paul loves teaching and has a reputation for being extremely patient and calm, an excellent combination, especially for the nervous student!
Paul also works at the local hospital as a ‘hospital porter’. He says that he loves the camaraderie of working with such a great team; however we think he loves the job so much because he gets to dress up in theatre scrubs…..
Paul is happily married to Rae whom he met 11 years ago during a local production of ‘42nd Street’. Their love for theatre is now shared by Paul’s daughter Tash, who is MCP's props mistress. He shares a passion for travel with his wife and learnt to SCUBA dive a few years ago when Rae took him on holiday to visit her old work place in Egypt.
Favourite Record: Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
Reason: "It reminds me of a trip to Paris and my time at college."
Stuart Main - Pastry Chef
Born at an early age Stuart trained at RADA (Royal Academy for Dental Arts) in East London before working at the RSC (Royal Shrewsbury, Copthorne). While there he developed a taste for theatre work - writing and performing sketches for Hospital Christmas Shows as well as surgery. His first encounter with wife-to-be was when their eyes met across an operating table..."could'nt see much else of her at the time!" Stuart now works in sub-aqua enamel restoration and smile reconstruction.
Dabbled in Am Dram with the Alexander Players before a long spell "resting" - other than trying new challenges to make up for not having had a miss spent youth. Not keen on sitting still for long he is prepared to try most things at least twice if he hasn't been injured the first time round.
Other interests include DIY, gardening (when there's a 'W' in the month or a power supply involved), jogging, walking or hill climbing (most serious achievement being scaling Kilimanjaro last year), golf or more usually not enjoying golf, and saxiphone. Stuart failed rehab for addiction to chocolate. Hates shopping. Fan of visual humour-particularly Jacques Tati.
Favourite Record: 'Kind of Blue' by Miles Davis
Reason: "It's like velvety smooth chocolate melting slowly on the tongue!"
Olivia Hewings - Trix The Avaitrix
Joined Mad Cows in August 2011 after admiring all of their recent shows and has loved every minute since. She is a mad musical theatre fan, who's love for theatre started at the age of 4, while watching The Sound of Music and since then she sings her way through life like Maria! Liv likes to keep busy; She currently works full time in a dental practice, part time at Theatre Severn and is studying for a degree in leadership and management, as well as attending rehearsals every week. Liv also loves to travel, and has been all over the world and still plans to do more. "I would like to thank Alex and Lisa for this wonderful opportunity, my thanks also go out to my family and friends for their continued support, especially my Mum and Dad who have always been there, and to my boyfriend and best friend, Dave who is new to the world of theatre, but has fitted in perfectly!"
Favourite record:Les Miserables 1988 Complete Symphonic cast.
Reason: " Every single song speaks to me. When I listen I discover completly new meanings and messages. I love the music and the voices and am touched every time I hear it. The song "Stars" is my favourite as no matter who sings it, whether it is Javert from Les Miserables, or myself in a singing lesson, the song has so many different meanings, it always tells a different story and reminds me of moments when I was first listening to the song and the feelings it brought."
Glenn - The Superintendant & Ensemble
A Yorkshire man by birth, Glenn settled in Shropshire after touring the globe with the RAF. Both his children, after Primary education in Cyprus (7 am til Noon then the beach!!), were educated as boarders at Prestfelde/Wrekin College, whilst Mum and Dad travelled far and wide. Now an Air Traffic Controller working shifts at Birmingham Airport, Glenn approached 'Mad Cows' with the hope of 'raising his game' in the Amateur dramatics arena. Previous appearances in a range of productions over the last 15 years for Theatre groups both in the UK and Cyprus have spurred him on. He loves period drama and comedy, but, by his admission, his dancing and singing skills need encouragement at times! Outside of work he loves touring on his motorbike, SCUBA and the occasional glass of Red!!
Lucy Billau - Dancer
After enjoying drama and being involved in productions at school, I have recently re-entered the world of performing arts and am having a fabulous time! After a nine year gap, I am easing myself back into acting and singing, with the added challenge of learning dance routines too. Under the nurturing wing of Mad Cow, I hope to continue to have an involvement, big or small, in future productions. Outside of amateur dramatics I work full time as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor.
My favourite song has probably got to be Eye of the Tiger, by Survivor. Although not very original, it never fails to get me feeling up beat and ready for anything! I haven’t yet created my own montage…
Milly Corbett - Dancer
Milly was twelve when she first performed in a play, since when she has taken part in an average of seven big plays/musicals/pantomimes a year with over 5 different amateur dramatic groups. She competes yearly in drama fetivals, and has won the Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress awards in both the Wellington and Shropshire festivals; even winning the award for the best play overall and then competeing in the All England quarter final in Hereford,
As well as theatre she is keen on film, and has played roles in short films by the British Youth Film Academy and The London Film School, and has appeared as an extra in a feature length film also made by the BYFA.
Milly gained an A level in Theatre Studies from New College Telford and is currently studying for a BTEC National Diploma in Musical Theatre at Shrewsbury College of Art and Technology.
Favourite Record: Take That's The Flood.
Reason: "It was the song that played at the end of my very first dance show and I can't listen to it now without having flashbacks..."
Lucinda Johnson - Dancer
Lucinda considers herself very lucky to have lived in beautiful Shropshire throughout her life, as she can't think of a nicer place to be born and raised. She trained at the Gaston Payne Dance School and took part in several productions there.
After Shrewsbury Sixth Form she read History at Lancaster Universtity and graduated with a First Class Honours, despite being heaviy involved with the dance and drama societies! Now an Investment Manager for Deusche Bank in Birmingham, Lucinda works long hours and has had to undertake further, job related, study which meant that her love of Musical Theatre was put on hold.
A keen supporter of MCP for many years Lucinda (attending most of our productions with her dad Martin set builder extraordinaire!) decided, once the exams were over, to take the leap from audience to cast member. She says " I am so pleased that I did. I am really enjoying myself and as a new memebr of The Herd can say that everyone has made me feel really welcome!"
Favourite Record: Bruce Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark.
Reason; "It reminds me of being little and dancing to it with my Dad in the car and round the house. It is possibly one of the first songs that I ever listened to and it will always remind me of home."
Georgia Wright - Dancer
Georgie was 7 when she performed in her first play, Romeo and Juliet. Since then Performing arts has been Georgie's life. Pushing herself hard she strives to be involved in any form of performing she can from "small school shows, to shows at the professional standards of Mad Cow!" Georgie is often asked which of the triple threat she enjoys most, singing, dancing or acting? To date she can't decide! As long as she can perform she's happy.
This is Georgie's first show with MCP and she says "I can't begin to explain how much I enjoy it. Working with people of completely different ages to myself, and being accepted just because we have the same love of performing." Georgie hopes to be part of many future productions.
Favourite Record: Your Song by Elton John
Reason: It never fails to make me smile, or just to relax after an energetic rehearsal at MCP!"
Cate Gowlett - Ensemble
Cate has lived in Shropshire for 22 years and is a single mother of two teenagers. She has had a somewhat varied career, having trained and worked as both a nurse and an archaeologist! For the last fifteen years she has built up a business in Church Stretton in the non-invasive treatment of musculo-skeltal pain. She is currently doing an A Level in Business Administration in the hope of another career change!
Although Cate has been involved with amateur dramatics, panto, singing in all its forms since a child, she was delighted to discover The Cows on her doorstep and fulfil a lifetime's ambition to take part in Musical Theatre. Although rusty she thinks life is returning!
Favourite Record: My Blue Sky by EL0
Reason: "Because it never fails to make my spirits soar!".
Barbara Vesty - Ensemble
Barbara joined MCP for The Producers in which she had a ball! Drowsey is her third show with the group and here's to many more.
For many years Barbara was a Director for other groups but is delighted to get back to performing herself. She started the acting habit at a very young age and has continued to be a Thespian throughout her life with quite a few performing credits to her name; including Best Actress at the Wellington Drama Festival.
Barbara also danced for many years with the "Kickin Alice" dance group.
Favourite Record: Queens We Will Rock You
Reason:" Because it makes me want to dance!"