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West End Producer – Free Willy review at Assembly Checkpoint, Edinburgh – ‘insightful and entertaining’

West End Producer - Free Willy at Assembly Checkpoint, Edinburgh West End Producer - Free Willy featuring The Stage critic Paul Vale at Assembly Checkpoint, Edinburgh
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The audition process can be one of the most raw and uncompromising components of an actor’s life, laced with stiff competition and regular rejection. Thanks to Simon Cowell, auditions have become public domain, but it takes the theatrical clout of West End Producer to move that process from TV to the arts crucible of the Edinburgh Fringe.

Pulling together the pieces of his new project Free Willy – The Musical!, the impresario has been staging auditions daily, offering titbits of tunes from the show alongside a brief synopsis of his life and career. Usually a byword in the industry for discretion, there’s quite a bit of name-dropping before the vocal warm-ups commence, but it doesn’t distract from the serious business at hand.

Group movement classes and workshop exercises wheedle out any triple-threats in the audience, but as yet the lead role of Willy, an all-singing, all-dancing killer whale, remains uncast.

Raising the stakes, West End Producer invites some of the bigger names at the fringe to audition, including Diane Chorley, Reuben Kaye and Miss Hope Springs. In the interest of fair play, it was suggested that this reviewer step forward to meet the challenge. Following the gruelling ordeal, he is still awaiting a callback.

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Insightful and entertaining spotlight on musical theatre casting