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by Jon Dean
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Hollyoaks star Cameron Clarke and The X Factor finalist Cassandra Compton in musical two-hander
»What do you call a play in which all the words are sung? An opera? A musical?
If the latest production to hit the King’s Head Theatre this week is to be believed, you name it after a leafy vegetable. Spinach, which opens on Tuesday, is the story Tom and Kate, who wake up tied to one another, blindfolded, remembering nothing but a Halloumi kebab and a double-decker bus.
The main characters are played by Crouch End’s Cassandra Compton, a finalist in the first series of The X Factor, and Ben Gerrard, who spent five years as Cameron Clarke in Channel Four’s Hollyoaks.
They wake up with their short term memory gone, but as their mental fog lifts they start to piece together how they got there and the murky goings on that led to their capture.
If that sound’s quite a sinister premise, that’s because it is.
“It’s definitely a bit dark, which it would be if you woke up like that,” said Cassie. “But there is also humour in there, and romance. Just like real life, a bit of everything.”
Ben agrees: “I have never woken up like that as far as I can remember, and it would be pretty frightening. There are some really serious bits, but also a lot of funny moments and a really nice romantic story.”
The cast convey emotion using song, supported by a live pianist, ukelele and saxophone. “It’s really hard, one of the most challenging things I have ever done,” said Ben.
“I am used to singing in bands and stuff like that, which is very different, or on TV where if you make a mistake you can just say ‘cut’ and try to get it right the next time. You can’t do that on stage.
“But we have been doing really well, we just ran through the whole thing without any problems. Cassie made a few mistakes though, only joking.”
Cassie said: “Singing every single word is not easy. It’s really interesting though. It’s not an operatta or a musical, it’s completely different.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the time it is rehearsed and choreographed, but I have the odd terrifying freestyle, which is good because then it doesn’t matter what comes out of my mouth.”
While Ben is a northerner, for Cassie performing at the King’s Head is a homecoming. “I’m a Crouch End girl born and raised, so coming back to north London is really nice. It was such a beautiful place to grow up. All my north London people will come to watch as well, so it’ll be really busy.”
* Spinach is at the King’s Head Theatre, Upper Street, N1, from June 12 until July 7. Call 020 7478 0160 or visit www.kingsheadtheatre.org.