As half of the pair of Sidgwick and Sanders productions at the Edinburgh Fringe, Last Night is a musical comedy that depicts two colleagues navigating faded memories of their drunken Christmas embrace when not all is remembered: but will they turn out to be ill-fated anyway?
James Sidgwick is the book writer and lyricist for the show, and has spoken a bit more about the piece here.
Please may you tell us a little about what your show, Last Night, entails?
The show is set in a typical 9-5 office on Christmas Eve. Most of the office staff have taken the day off, but the two people who drew the short straw and had to work the day are David and Emma...
The night before, at the office Christmas party, David and Emma shared a drunken kiss. The problem is that the next morning... only David remembers their romantic moment. As Emma shakes off her hangover, David attempts to jog her memory about what happened Last Night.
How did the storyline for the piece transpire?
We are comedy musical writers, so wanted to do something funny. We also have previously written for large casts with big ensembles and fancied something a bit smaller - ideal for the Fringe. So when lockdown happened, we thought this was the ideal opportunity to work on something with a much smaller cast.
The storyline came about from trying to consider different concepts which would throw two characters together, but also still allow for lots of fun and comedy.
Why did you choose to set the piece on Christmas Eve, and how does this remain effective when performing through summer months?
Having worked in many offices through my life - I'm aware that if you are one of the unlucky few who don't get to put in annual leave on 24th December, there is often a very different atmosphere in the office. Some people resent being there, others feel very Christmassy. This setup enabled us to put our two characters together in a setting where they're normally not quite so alone together. We also like Christmas, and think if you're going to do a romantic comedy... why not set it at Christmas!? Fortunately, the show's content doesn't lean in too hard to it's Christmassy setting, so it's still been enjoyed by audience members in August!
Did you always intend to write a part for yourself in the show, and do you think this has altered the way that you perceive and characterise your part, in comparison to being given a script?
When we wrote this we did write it with the casting in mind - Robert Sanders (the composer) knows my voice well and has written it to fit. This is the first time I've actually originated one of my own characters and I must say it has been quite fun! But I think the process of considering how to perform the role has been similar to how I'd approach any role really, I suppose I just knew 'David' quite well before we started rehearsing.
Why do you think a romantic comedy musical is appealing to audiences?
I think most people, at some time in their life will find appeal in a romantic comedy. The characters are (we hope) relatable, even recognisable from our everyday lives. There's often humour which comes about from holding a mirror up to the audience, and they tend to enjoy that. Also, who doesn't love a bit of romance?
What's your most interesting dating story?
When my parents asked me what I wanted to do for my 7th birthday... I declared that I wanted to take my girlfriend to a posh restaurant for a meal.... so that's what we did. That was, as far as I'm aware, my first date... with my parents supervising at the next table!
Huge thank you to James for discussing your show more with us- I particularly like that last answer! Best of luck with the Fringe, and wherever your productions go next.
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