Wimbledon Theatre, 18 - 22 July 2001
After becoming one of the most successful shows of the year, Zippertydoodah is returning to the Wimbledon Studio Theatre. The high-octane show, which stars TV and radio personality Gyles Brandreth, takes the audience through 100 years of musicals in 100 minutes and is best described as a meeting between some of the greatest songwriters ever and the Reduced Shakespeare Company.
Led by the former MP, the cast romp through shows some successful, some flops going back as far as 1904 and as up-to-date as last year's premiere of The Full Monty. Among Brandreth's happy band of performers is Ben Stock, who also doubles as the show's musical director.
"If I had to sum the show up I would call it a flash-bang-wallop tour of musical theatre," says Ben. "We have changed the show, although the overall structure is the same and it has been cut by about 10 minutes. Some sections we've made longer and other we've cut."
"During the opening run we asked audiences for feedback on the show, pooled the results and made the changes based on them."
Ben was asked to join the show after having worked in a museum. "I got involved through the director Stewart Nicholls," he says.
"We worked together on a show called Follow That Girl at the Theatre Museum, Covent Garden.
"Gyles saw the show and was impressed enough to ask Stewart to direct this, and he in turn asked me."
Gyles and Stewart had been working on the show for two months before Ben joined them.
"By the time I got involved properly, they had everything done in terms of content.
"My job was finding a way a way of linking all the songs together.
"It was in pretty good shape when I arrived, so the input I had was really just my point of view of what I thought worked and what didn't."
Once the show was up and running, Ben's job as musical director is making sure everyone sings the right notes at the right time not bad for someone who comes from a non-musical background.
"None of my family are musical at all, but my dad always wanted my brother and me to play the piano.
"I went for lessons and my piano teacher also taught me to sing, and then suggested I went to drama school.
"I love music from the theatre and the big shows, but I have to admit the first single I brought was 99 Red Balloons by Nina.
"I do try and get to the theatre as much as possible it's not too much of a busman's holiday."
Away from the theatre Ben, along with millions of others, has been getting caught up in the Harry Potter books.
"I have just finished reading the last one," he says.
"At first I thought they were just very good children's stories, but I could not put the last one down."