Quick Fire Questions | Daniel Winder, director of H.R. Haitch

In perfect timing, a new musical comedy has started performances at the Union Theatre about a regular girl who ends up marrying into the Royal Family. Sound familiar? H.R. Haitch is a musical with music by Luke Bateman and lyrics & book by Man Evans that has been in development for a couple of years. And now audiences can finally get a chance to see it. I managed to grab a few moments of director Daniel Winder’s time to find out more about the show. For tickets and more information to H.R. Haitch you can visit http://www.uniontheatre.biz/hrh.html

HS: What can audiences expect from H.R. Haitch?

DW: H.R.Haitch tells the story of Chelsea, a landlord’s daughter from Barking, who falls in love with a slightly daft posh boy; who subsequently turns out to be a secret Royal Prince. When the truth comes out, all hell breaks loose, and Chelsea finds that it takes more than a topped-up Oyster card to get from Barking to Buckingham Palace.

This show is a modern musical fairy tale full of relatable and engaging characters. With a mixed-race working class girl as its heroine and a hapless secret Prince as her hero, whether you are more of a palace or a pub person there will be something in H.R.Haitch for you. Along with fifteen catchy and beautiful new songs the show is crammed to bursting with more gags and laugh-out-loud moments than you could imagine was possible in two hours.

Randy grannies, bent pastors, scheming Princesses, pub landlords, vicious Queens, dozy Princes, and all the rest of London is crammed into this crazy evening’s entertainment – as Chelsea would say ‘It’s gonna be MEGA LOLz’.   

HS: How much influence do current events such as the upcoming Royal Wedding affect how the piece is performed/developed?

DW: When we started work back in 2015 on H.R.Haitch, the idea of a mixed race working class girl marrying into the Royal Family seemed like an unlikely fantasy. Three years later Megan and Harry have made that fantasy a reality. Who knew Maz, our writer, was such a clairvoyant? The past three years have seen some crazy political and cultural changes across the world. Developing the script for this first fully staged production of the show, we have sought to capitalise on as many of these unexpected events as possible. From Brexit to Trump, from celebrity marriages to the London Olympics; there are some pointed gags about all these things. The one thing that hasn’t changed in the past few years is the English’s obsession with class and the Royal family, and there are plenty of ‘close-to-the-bone’ jokes about this too.   

HS: How long have you been involved with the development process of the show?

DW: I have been involved in this project from the very start. I met Maz Evans and Luke Bateman through Iris Theatre’s Workin Process which brings together composers and lyricists to create new musical theatre. Working as a team, they kept winning all our song writing competitions; to such an extent that I decided it made sense to commission them to write a full-length piece for us. That was back in 2015 and after three years of thought and development we felt this was the perfect moment to share Bertie and Chelsea’s story with the world.

HS: What made you assemble this brilliant cast?

DW: They are all bloody brilliant was the main reason. The cast is a great mix of experienced professionals and great young talent. Tori Allen-Martin leads the charge, but it is really a fantastic ensemble cast of six where every single person shines. Christian James combines great comic timing with delightful charm. Emily Jane Kerr is fearless as the main antagonist of the story, the scheming Princess Victoria. Prince Plockey is full of sincerity and heart as the PM Nathan Bridges and is positively wild as the dodgy pastor Vernon.  Christopher Lyne brings great heart and power to Brian the quintessential pub landlord and perfectly observed comic detail to Prince Richard, the forever Prince of Wales doomed never to ascend the throne. Andrea Miller is terrifying as the Royal matriarch Queen Mary and filthy as everyone’s favourite sexy granny Vera. They are all brilliant.

Thanks so much to Daniel for taking the time to answer my questions, this has made me even more excited to see H.R. Haitch in the next few weeks.

Until next time,

hayley-sprout-transparent

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