The Poisoners’ Pact – #justgoodhousekeeping

The Poisoners’ Pact – #justgoodhousekeeping

It was with excitement that I drew up alongside the Brewhouse in my Micra looking forward to our first rehearsal. Located in one of the very pretty set of villages known as the ‘Pulhams’ I could not have hoped for a nicer spot in which to spend a sunny March day. I entered the Brewhouse to find Joanna Swan (who will be playing Fanny), in the middle of a yoga routine but, fortunately, not in a compromising position! Soon, when in search of vital coffee, I was greeted by Cordelia Spence (our glamorous director and one half of the writing duo who penned the play) who introduced me to Jamie-Rose Monk who, immediately endearing herself to me, offered me a cup of coffee… Caffeine; the certain way to this girl’s heart.

A read through was next, accompanied by biscuits provided by our director, which involved us all trying out the sounds of the Norfolk accent. I was born in Norwich and hope that, at the very least, I’ll be able to avoid the West Country lilt which many actors intone when attempting a Norfolk accent! A particularly troublesome word, and one quite frequently used in the play, is flour; should it be pronounced “floor”, “flaaa” or “fl-ow-er”? Answers on a postcard (or via twitter) would be appreciated!

When on our feet, whipping thorough blocking out the scenes in Act 1, we discovered that a 5ft kitchen table as a centre-piece to the set would be required, even if only to accommodate the various pieces of cooking paraphernalia. The play involves the creation of dumplings, from scratch, live on stage with copious amounts of “flaa” and another white powder. During one rehearsal, I turned cameraman to film Joanna Swan demonstrating her dumpling making prowess; ingredients to dumplings in a mere three minutes. Knowledge of the ingredients of the dumplings Catherine Frarey and Fanny Billings made, rather spoiled our interest in any sort of taste test (and I rather suspect they would have had a soggy bottom anyway). However, we did pause for a slice of cake (safely created by a leading supermarket) during the rehearsal on Cordelia’s birthday. The use of pre-packaged food items is sometimes #justgoodhousekeeping

Kiara Hawker

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