The show must go on! And so it did!

A local actress after they stepped in with a few hours  notice after a member of cast was taken ill.

Chelsea Blundell-Nelson, from Eagley and part of the  The Marco Players company, stepped in to play a part in the production of Amanda Whittington’s ‘Be My Baby’ on Saturday, January 13.

The production, about four girls in a mother and baby home in the mid-1960s, was due to open for its first performance at the popular Garrick Theatre in Whitefield.

But, with a few hours to go before curtain up, director Alfred J Howard from Blackrod, got the call that every director dreads, one of his principal cast, Catherine Cropper, who was playing the cocky ‘Queenie’, had contracted laryngitis and couldn’t speak – and certainly couldn’t perform.

It seemed as though weeks of rehearsal and preparation were destined to come to nothing until Alfred recalled that his friend Chelsea, who had performed with previously, was due to play the same part in another production of the play at The Marco Players in Bolton in a few weeks’ time.

Chelsea said: “I got the call in the morning when I was still in bed, it had been Marco’s annual dinner the night before, so I was understandably a little tired.

“But when Alfred called and explained the situation, I knew I couldn’t let him down.

“The rest of the cast were so helpful and supportive; it was a non-stop whirlwind of a day, but we got there in the end.”  

The Bolton News: Cast of Whitefield Garrick's Be My BabyCast of Whitefield Garrick's Be My Baby (Image: Phil Cohen)

Alfred added: “We went through the play twice with Chelsea so she could pick up our moves and get used to our stage directions and then once more just to cement the technical in.

“We finished going through is literally as the audience were arriving for the first performance.

“Thankfully Chelsea was off book and knew her lines already which, considering her production was still over three weeks away, was remarkable really – I’m so grateful to Chelsea, both for helping us out and being so prepared for the part.”

And the audience at the Garrick were certainly appreciative of the efforts Chelsea and the rest of the cast had gone to in order to bring them the show.

Alfred said: “The standing ovation we got wasn’t just for her, it was for the whole cast who have put together a remarkable piece of theatre.

“One that I’m very proud to have been my directorial debut at the Garrick.

“We’re hoping Catherine will be better in time to join us for the rest of the run – she deserves to as she’s an excellent actress too and she’d put in so much effort and was creating her own version of ‘Queenie’.”

‘Be My Baby’ runs until Saturday, January 20, at Whitefield Garrick with a matinée performance on the final Saturday and from Tuesday February 7 to Saturday 10 at The Marco Players, Stepping Stones, Chorley Old Road, Bolton.

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