Synergy represented by

Micaela Haslam, Amy Haworth

Novello Theatre

“At the end of last year, I was delighted to be asked to sing in the band for the RSC’s run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in London’s West End. The invitation came from Paul Englishby, the composer, with whom Synergy has worked several times on various film scores. The music was really lovely, even though it did contain the Sword of Damacles in the form of a top D half way through the first act. Never having sung a top D in public before (at least not deliberately), I was somewhat nervous about it, but I’m happy to report that, having stuffed it up in several rehearsals, and possibly even the 1st preview, I managed to pull the rest out of the proverbial bag. Amy Haworth was my dep for a few of the shows. This is a soprano who can sing top Ds all day without breaking into a glow, never mind a sweat, so you can appreciate the enormous pressure I was under!

The band (keyboard, violin, clarinet, flute, voice, trumpet, trombone, horn, percussion) was packed tightly into an under-stage shoe-box. There were actually 2 shoe-boxes, to be precise, with brass and percussion in one (size 11), and the rest of us packed into the other (size 6). The larger band box had an air-conditioning unit (so they were generally too cold), while the rest of us baked in the little room. We did have some fans dotted around (later upgraded to a monster fan with remote control and a digital display!), but they just blew hot air around and generated yet more heat. When I stood up to sing, my head touched the ceiling, and we had to climb over each other to get in and out. Julian Winn (MD) suggested we should come to work in towelling robes, get a stove for the middle of the floor and have done with it. Think of all the weight we’d have lost! If only the audience could have seen us, it would have been hilarious. Speaking of hilarity, I was lucky enough to spend most of the run with Louise Bevan (violin), Nina Robertson (flute), Nick Moss (clarinet) and of course Julian.


Nina and Nick


Apart from being excellent musicians, and extremely supportive colleagues, this team was such a laugh. As the weeks went by, conversations got more and more zany and surreal. I haven’t laughed so much in ages. We always had a good supply of Percy Pigs (Julian’s favourites), and various other goodies from M&S. We also frequented a fabulous cafe just across the road from the stage door where they made very fine cakes, and very necessary cappuccinos – particularly necessary when you couldn’t face the idea of scaling 92 stairs to the green room to make a cup of tea. The only down side was that, by the final week, sugar and caffeine, combined with a general lack of oxygen, and cabin fever, had sent us all just a little bit barking!

Primrose cafe

Stage door

Nina made herself at home with a selection of family photos taped to her music stand. Lou brought in a picture of her dog, and I had a picture of Will chatting to Pat Metheny. It was just to impress Nick really – also a huge Pat Metheny fan! Julian brought in his son’s Buzz Lightyear and appointed him assistant conductor.

Towards the end of the run, we all went out for dinner with Paul Englishby at Zizi’s, down the road. It was great to see Paul again. It was just a shame we had to go and do the show afterwards. We were all ready to make a night of it.

The whole team

Paul and Julian

We did have one bonus free evening on the now famous “snowy Monday” when most of London ground to a halt, and the West End went black. Further excitement when HRH The Prince of Wales came to see the show – but not as exciting as when James Corden came. I met him at the stage door and just had to say “hello”. I love Gavin and Stacey. More please!

During the run, Louise tried her hardest to get on with a foundation course for a history degree, while the rest of us had rap-finger-snapping coaching from Nick. I think we got the hang of it after a couple of weeks.

Nick and his gals

Anyway, it was huge fun and a great experience, and I sincerely hope we all manage to stay in touch.“


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