News & Reviews
Read reviews, listen to songs and view photos from previous productions.
ReviewsAssociation of Community Theatre
Seen and Heard International
2011 @ Royal Northern College of Music, ManchesterRead critical reviews here or
Performed by South Manchester Amateur Operatics Society
Directed by Ross Keeping. Musical director Richard Townhill
Choreographer Lisa Bradshaw
Netherbow Theatre, Edinburgh October 2001 – Live the Dream Productions
Bedlam Theatre, Edinburgh, January 2002 – Edinburgh University, Festival of New Theatre
Once Bitten was originally born in Edinburgh in the year 2000 when Jo first met Richard and declared she wanted to write a musical. Richard was happy to collaborate and they soon hatched a plan as to what they wanted to write about. It would be a worthy piece – about relationships and stuff – a bit like Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Company’ … and if it could feature vampires that would be great too! They soon created some characters and started writing songs together.
At around this time, Richard and Jo’s friend Rae announced she had booked a theatre and that Once Bitten was to be performed later in the year. There’s nothing like a deadline to focus the mind, so the show was duly completed. In October 2001, a 75 minute show, sung from beginning to end was performed to great acclaim. Almost immediately, Edinburgh University asked if the show could be performed at their Festival of New Theatre the following Spring.
Soon after – Richard moved to Manchester and Once Bitten’s time in the sun was temporarily over. Then, in 2010, Ross declared that he was interested in writing a musical. Richard, over the years, had never stopped thinking about Once Bitten – which bits he particularly liked and which bits he thought needed improvement. Would Ross be interested in helping writing a new improved Once Bitten? The time felt right – vampires were particularly zeitgeisty and Ross duly agreed, immediately starting on some new lyrics. Richard had decided that, in particular, the characters needed more dialogue if we, the audience, were to become involved in their hope and dreams – so he went off and wrote a new script and music for Ross’s new songs. A new Once Bitten was born.
So, here we are – 10 years on, Once Bitten is still about vampires. It’s still about relationships and stuff – but more importantly, Richard had worked out what he really wanted the show to be about – respect, acceptance, self confidence and self belief. Yes, a little ‘High School Musical’, but good sentiments nonetheless. He hopes you think so too!
A quick text message and two hours later I am sat in one of Manchester's most energetic restaurants - San Carlo on King Street facing one of my life's mentors...