Large-scale production should blow you away

John-Paul McCrohon, Rachel Potts, Laura Verecchi and George Smith in Whistle Down The Wind.
John-Paul McCrohon, Rachel Potts, Laura Verecchi and George Smith in Whistle Down The Wind.
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Next week CCADS will be making its Ferneham Hall debut with one of the first local stagings of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down The Wind.

From tonight until Saturday, the group will bring the popular musical to the Fareham stage.

Based on the much-loved book and the 1960s film that starred Hayley Mills and Alan Bates, Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman’s musical is set in America’s Deep South as a 15-year-old girl discovers a mysterious man hiding out in a barn.

When she asks his identity and he utters the words ‘Jesus Christ’ it’s as though her prayers have been answered.

John-Paul McCrohon, artistic director of CCADS, is playing the man and directing the production. He says: ‘I saw the original London production in 1998 and it has been in my mind since then. I’ve wanted to direct the show ever since and doing it has been a great experience.

‘I’ve worked at Ferneham Hall myself in the past and I’ve directed productions for South Downe Musical Society, but never with CCADS before. Ferneham Hall felt like the right venue because there’s a sense of scale.

He adds: ‘It’s also very open so some of the action spirals into the auditorium. It offers us a really exciting space.’

Playing the mysterious man, he never even develops a name throughout the musical.

‘I love the man I’m playing because he has such a range of emotions. I get the opportunity to work with the teams of kids, who are very much involved in my scenes, and it’s been a really nice part of the process.’

He adds: ‘It was a dream come true to get the opportunity to work on this.’

With around 35 adults, and two alternating teams of children, it’s one of the biggest castings the group has done.

It also features London School of Musical Theatre graduate Rachel Potts as Swallow, Guide Award winner Kevin Redfern and Alex Hillman, who was most recently in Jesus Christ Superstar.

But they are all relishing the challenge, as John-Paul says: ‘The nature of the company is that we alternate projects, so we can go from six people to 50 people.

‘This is the largest scale production we’re done since War Of The Worlds a couple of years ago and it’s really interesting to see how it portrays the community.’

Tickets cost £10 to £12 from Ferneham Hall, Fareham, on (01329) 231942 or go to fernehamhall.co.uk.