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Green is the colour! ; The Corner MRS GREEN: THE MUSICALMembers of the Bafta-winning Television Workshop will be heading to the Edinburgh Festival...

July 12, 2013


Green is the colour! ; The Corner MRS GREEN: THE MUSICALMembers of the Bafta-winning Television Workshop will be heading to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a musical comedy next month. Simon Wilson reports

ACTORS from This Is England, Waterloo Road, A Thing Called Love and Skins are among the cast of a homegrown musical comedy that is heading for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next month.

Mrs Green: The Musical tells the story of a Basford mum who has given up her Motown career to become an agony aunt - and drug dealer of sorts - to her local community.

It stars members of Nottingham's Bafta-winning Television Workshop, including Kieran Hardcastle (This Is England, Waterloo Road) Shauna Shim (Lars Von Trier's Dogville, A Thing Called Love) and Tom Cowling (Skins).

It's surprisingly comfortable, says 20-year Ben Welch, from Canning Circus., who plays the lead. Many people have commented on how convincing I am as her.

He adds: I have played a headmistress in a play before so I'm used to tights and a bra.

It is so much fun; any time I'm in costume I have free licence to do and say what I want as this 68-year-old-woman. To self-medicate her debilitating arthritis, Mrs Green grows and harvests her own marijuana plants and cooks the produce in meals for herself and friends in the neighbourhood.

In her younger days, she was a talented backing singer on the UK soul and Motown scene but when the pressures of the industry got the better of her, she gave up professional music altogether, says writer and director Nic Harvey, 25, also from Canning Circus.

She still loves to sing and write songs from the comfort of her own home and it is here we meet some of her closest friends and some unexpected guests over the course of a summer afternoon.

He adds: It's not a drag act.

Ben has a feminine-edged voice that resembles an old soul singer and we developed the idea of the character together.

Ben is definitely Mrs Green.

I've not really had singing training but it's been amazing to see the progression of my voice since the start of this project, says Ben, who joined the Television Workshop eight years ago. The inspiration for the musical came from their collective love of soul and Motown.

Also, when we went to Edinburgh two years ago with Curse Of The Devil's Verse, we would sing songs to get people to take flyers, says Nic, who set up Sheep Soup Theatre Company to take that play, about a chauvinistic man who wakes up with a hangover to find he can only talk in rhyme, to the Fringe.

People kept asking if the songs were in the show, which they weren't.

So we thought 'let's write a musical'.

Nic joined the Television Workshop when he was six and now teaches there.

I did some TV when I was much younger like Peak Practice, Bernard's Watch and, if you look closely, I'm in a couple of Shane Meadows' films, he says.

Nic wrote all the songs but developed them with the help of Ben and local musicians.

Rob Green wrote some lyrics for one of the songs, Nina Smith helped us with developing harmonies and Youthoracle wrote a rap.

The whole idea was to use as many local people as possible and we've also involved Kemet FM, Dealmaker Records and Outlaw Label among others. Mrs Green: The Musical will run at The Dram House in Edinburgh from August 3 to 24 but it will have its premiere at Nottingham's The Corner in Stoney Street next week, from Tuesday to Friday. Tickets are Pounds 6 from or call 07872 028602. You can follow Mrs Green on Twitter: @MabelGreen44.

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