Life beyond the Hottest Spot North of Havana; Copacabana Tells a Great Story but There Are Stories Behind the New Production Opening in Newcastle Tonight, as DAVID WHETSTONE Reports

The Journal (Newcastle, England), April 4, 2017 | Go to article overview

Life beyond the Hottest Spot North of Havana; Copacabana Tells a Great Story but There Are Stories Behind the New Production Opening in Newcastle Tonight, as DAVID WHETSTONE Reports


Byline: DAVID WHETSTONE

NEWCASTLE'S oldest theatre will be whisking audiences off to "the hottest club north of Havana" as Copacabana opens this evening with a flourish.

The latest from West End Operatic Society, one of the biggest amateur dramatic societies in the North East, premieres with good wishes from many people.

Among them is Anton du Beke, dancer and Strictly Come Dancing regular, who took time after his Anton & Erin: Swing Time show at Sage Gateshead to pose for a photo with Sandra Laidler, director and choreographer of the show.

He also wished Sandra and the cast good luck with their forthcoming production over the river.

One of the dancers in Copacabana at the Tyne Theatre & Opera House is Beverley Moffatt whose daughter, Francesca, was one of the dancers in the Anton & Erin: Swing Time tour which concluded at the weekend.

Francesca, from Melton Park, Gosforth, trained at the Marian Lane School of Dance in Wideopen from four until 16 and then won a scholarship for the London Dance Studio. Now a professional dancer, her accomplishments inspired Beverley to join the Copacabana cast where her performance has been honed by Sandra, a stalwart of the amateur company.

Photographer David Brennan captured the moment Sandra and Anton struck a dance pose in Sage One.

Amateur stage productions turn up stories that resonate beyond the world of the greasepaint because the performers lead busy lives elsewhere.

Lola Lamar in the West End production is played by Helen Cash who, in her real-life job, is Dr Helen Cash, a community paediatric doctor at the Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle. Professionally, she has a special interest in neurodisability and palliative care.

But Helen, who lives in Blaydon, has a long showbusiness CV and has performed in amateur and also a few professional productions.

She cut her teeth as a performer as a pupil at Durham High School for Girls and went on to tackle some of musical theatre's best loved roles, including Anna Leonowens in The King and I, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar and Nancy in Oliver! …

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