I had thought that this particular series of blog posts had come to an end, with parts 1, 2, 3 & 4… But then good fortune intervened and our lovely honorary Team B member Alice Cardy finally got her chance to be Rasa!
You know what I’m like when it comes to understudies, especially our own Team B, but when someone’s had a particular cover for almost a year and not gone on, it makes it even more special when their time comes around. And as Alice switched from Joyce to Peggy at cast change (rehearsing one sister during the day, playing another at night), I think it’s only fair that she was given her moment in the spotlight! In some lines of work, employees get bonuses – in the theatre, second (or third, or fourth, etc.) covers get their name up in lights.
And it was an incredible night from start to finish. As it was a two-show day, I decided I should really be there for both – so ended up having double Ray, double Rasa & double Peggy for my efforts! When something completely novel happens, there is an inexplicable change in energy onstage. Take the excitement & anticipation that you’re feeling, add it to the cast’s (all of whom will be feeling the same thing) and then take a look at the person at the centre of all this. From the moment Alice stepped onto the stage for the opening number she was positively beaming.
As a repeat attender, I obviously appreciate everything the actors do to keep things fresh (for themselves as much as anything), but a show like this is the ultimate version of ‘spot the difference’. I know I’ve said it before, but it really is wonderful that the Sunny understudies do get a good amount of artistic freedom to give their own takes on the roles; you’ll naturally get some influences from others who have played that part, but it’s all about how the whole thing has been put together.
Alice’s Rasa is no exception. She had clearly worked out exactly how she wanted to portray the character, and what her journey through the show would look like. Starting out a super-confident teenager (she knew exactly what she wanted!), gradually worn down by life as a rock star’s wife, and finally content at getting “to sing again”.
It was really lovely to see some echoes of Vicki’s Rasa in there, as well as the odd ‘Lillie-ism’ to the keen eye! One part that’s become a bit of a cult thing for we Afternooners is watching the pit band during You Really Got Me – whoever’s on as Rasa has tambourine duty at that point, and Lillie in particular became known for her inventive exit at the end of the song. Seeing it again for the first time in 9 months brought the biggest grin to my face! It really is the little things…
Act one’s highlight (tambourine aside!) was definitely the Underground scene between Ray & Rasa. It’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster in miniature, with some touching moments between the couple, as well as comedy. The way Alice’s Rasa blurted out her parents’ intentions to a flabbergasted Ray was absolutely hilarious, and quite rightly had the audience in hysterics!
And in act two, I Go To Sleep was an obvious standout. It’s a beautiful song, but Alice brought a raw emotion to it that I’ve not seen before. Rasa felt hurt & lost – and couldn’t hide it from her husband. It was an extremely moving part of the show, and I doubt there were many dry eyes in the house by the final note.
To top the whole thing off, Alice’s finale costume is absolutely gorgeous (and you know I’m not one to bang on about clothes too much)! It’s just a real shame that this was a complete one-off event – well, at time of writing anyway… I am unofficially starting the campaign to let Alice have a little run of Rasa shows again before it closes! Though given all the Team B shenanigans this year already, who knows what line-ups we’ll be getting over the next few months? Keep your eyes peeled, as we could be lucky enough to get a repeat!