On Monday the crew were in the studio with MD Max recording the songs from the show to be put on to CD – this morning we listen to Max's produced versions of the songs that sound brilliantly ethereal and surprisingly christmassy.
The rehearsal space is like a well tended garden in spring – new blossoms and buds revealed on each visit. Today red and blue rope spills off of a chair. The string mummy and daddy sit atop a chariot furnished with four curved standards tipped with balls of brown twine, but the biggest change – apart from the actors developing various coughs and snivels :-( is the string doggie. He – I think he's a he – is no longer a prototype puppet with black foam body – he is now a woofing, barking, arfing ball of brown yarn with a long loom of a nose and eyes! He only had white balls for eyes before resembling something out of a Tim Burton movie but now he has pupils and is far more becoming for them – he also has gorgeous little tufts of fluff of hair on his ears and on the antenna that shoots out the top of his/her head.
Poor Nik the musician is down to a barely audible whisper a he struggles with a cough -I hate coughs they are the most persistent of cold and flu symptoms, the most productive and zapping of morale. But Nik is a trooper and continues to play marvelously – but alas no singing today.
The squelchy mud song, that has the children miming traveling through disgusting sticky squelchy mud is rehearsed – there is something totally satisfying about watching four adults making exaggerated leg movements as they navigate an imagined quagmire.
By the afternoon String Mummy and String Daddy have also had their prototype forms replaced by puppet maker Mark Parrett. String Daddy was a colourless spool based puppet – today he is taller and wrapped in red and blue string like a Ropey superman. String Mummy is also bigger, her foam rotundness replaced with blue balls of string and fantastic sprigs of electric blue hair.
Stringy leads Tim into the rehearsal space following a red string taking him from Nik's Billy Cotton to the string machine thingy all the way to Ropey's big toe where the string ends. Ropey awakes using a hanging string summons his clothes to him from above.
Griff makes a great Ropey – especially at times of panic – when he runs from stage left to stage right stopping suddenly ad having his legs lift in comic inertia exaggerated style.