Treading The Boards Again

Film, Theatre, TV – part four

Blink and more than two decades of recording career fly by before Ms Limerick can reclaim a place on the theatrical stage. The Pajama Game (1999 production) was crafted in Birmingham at the Repertory Theatre, directed by Simon Callow. It was a departure from the Doris Day film version with choreography by David Bintley (Birmingham Royal Ballet), design by Frank Stella and musical direction by John Harle. Taking the rôle that propelled Shirley Maclaine to fame on the broadway stage  Ms Limerick joined a hardworking cast of players some of whom were well known TV personalities. The show traveled to Toronto and the Princess Theatre before returning to London at the Victoria Palace Threatre. Unfortunately during the last week of the Toronto run Ms Limerick chipped the cartilage in er ankle while performing the energetic ‘steam heat’ number. Thrown into the air by two fit boys (one an understudy somewhat shorter than the fellow he was replacing) led to an injury that – once it had been properly diagnosed would result in surgery. The surgery was minor and the performer quickly fit again however she missed the opening night of the London run only returning to the stage two weeks in.

Such is the life of a dancer; stand in a room with dancers who have worked in Cats, Starlight Express or the Lion King and a litany of woes and wrecked bodies is sure to manifest without the need for prompting.

BBC Review of the production.

alison therese limerick next appears in the movie Collusion, written and directed by Richard Burridge with music by David Mitcham. When Limerick was first approached she believed that it was only her voice that would be required but it soon became clear that a rôle in the film was hers if she wanted it. The part (the jazz singer) was small and insignificant, with regard to the plot, nevertheless it seemed to require a good deal of fussing about what should be worn. The scene required Ms Limerick to sing the well worn standard ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’ but the lineup of the band was a little out of the ordinary. Sax, drums (mostly percussion), marimba, upright bass – bowed and plucked – and guitar were gathered into a studio by some talented players and the song was performed. A wonderful way to work; get a feel for the piece, play it till you have a take you like then go home. All good, until the day of the shoot when filming the scene to playback. There was no easy rhythm to follow; an emotive performance had, somehow, to be mimed/lip-synced to, well enough to make it believable when details of hands and faces were spread wide across a movie screen.

Got up in a sequined gown and roasting under hot, blue lights that made black skin look like titanium – and pale complexions decidedly peaky – the scene was recorded. Richard Burridge  had only a few words of directions for Ms Limerick, ‘seduce Daniel Lapaine’, one of the lead actors, ‘while you sing’. At no point were singer and actor introduced, nevertheless smoldering looks were sent across the Talk of London where the scene was filmed. Filming the band was done in three takes at the tail end of a long day’s shooting for the other actors and the crew; time on set was running out but La Limerick and the musicians had done their homework, the performance was tight and the director ended the day content.

Alison Limerick eventually went on to sing the closing theme song of the film, a piece co-written with the director and David Mitcham. A working relationship with Mitcham blossomed and is ongoing; Limerick lending her voice to various projects written by the talented composer and producer of music for film and wildlife documentaries.

You Don’t Know What Love Is‘, written by Raye/Depaul and arranged by David Mitcham for the movie Collusion. Musicians; Mornington Lockett – sax, Mark Johns – guitar, Roger Beaujolais- marimba, Andy Cleyndert – bass, James Powell – drums/percussion.

The first preview for Collusion was in the Curzon, Mayfair after which the film was re-edited (resulting in a much shorter film). Thankfully, much of La Limerick’s performance remained, even in the final cut (shorter still) that was shown at the Notting Hill Film Festival and the Boston Film Festival, among others.

Posted on: 30th April 2015