Smitten is the first time we’ve restaged a show in our 5 years of existence. We always felt our first production of it, whilst adequate, wasn’t exactly the barn burner we wanted it to be. All puns intended, because it played in The Barn back in 2008 and it was putting the show on in such a fantastic, unique space that really made it the last time. We only ended up having 5 weeks rehearsal off the back of Trainspotting, the script itself needed more time and from a production perspective we were very overstretched.

A promo image from the first version of Smitten in 2008.

That being said, it sold out every night and people said some really nice things about it. We just knew ourselves that we could do a better version of the show. And I knew myself I could write a better version of the show.

When the residency here in the Arts Office came up, we knew Smitten would be the right play to explore the themes of the residency. The play itself is about growing up, finding your feet in life, deciding whether to stay or go and embracing reality.

I worked on the script a lot throughout 2010 and again during the first few months of the residency (whenever we had a spare minute) and it’s been kicked into shape. Better shape I think.

The major changes are that I’ve re envisaged the play as a musical. Well, it’s not even so much a re envisaging as it is a reintegrating. The musical element of the story (introduced by the musical obsessed Daffney Molloy character) was there in my original script but when the first version went into production everything ended up getting downscaled due to time and production constraints until we were eventually left with a play that had some very light musical elements. The main thrust of Smitten is the contrast between the magical projections you have of your life when you’re older and how mundane real life could be. And musicals were always the most interesting way for me to explore that. What better illustrates the differences between fantasy and reality than jumping into song and dance at random moments when the emotion overpowered you?

I’ve also streamlined the play in terms of characters (we’ve chopped out 3) and put the focus more so on one main character than the ‘interlinked vignettes’ style of the first version.

So it’s got more narrative thrust, it’s got more dancing, it’s got more singing and it’s in a completely different space. We hope that the new version of it really does the idea justice and I really hope that it does the cast justice (most of them are the same!).

Tickets are still on sale at tickets.devioustheatre.com and you can get them now! Smitten plays the Arts Office from June 26th – July 2nd.

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