Local writing team, Katie Hale and Stephen Hyde, are taking their new musical, The Inevitable Quiet of the Crash, to Edinburgh Fringe this August.
The pair met fifteen years ago, as children at Penrith Junior Players youth theatre, and subsequently performed and were involved in a number of shows together, both at Penrith Players and at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith. Since then, both have continued their own separate careers in the arts – but, as composer Stephen Hyde says, ‘We always knew we wanted to write a musical together.’
The Inevitable Quiet of the Crash is an intimate musical, telling the story of three women trapped in the suffocating bell jar of contemporary London: an early-career marketing administrator, a wanna-be model, and a retired cabaret performer living beyond her means. After the main man in their lives is killed in a train crash, they are forced to address the latent anxieties awoken by their grief, in order to move forwards.
“I think it’s also a show about wellbeing,” says lyricist Katie Hale, “I think that London is a very easy place to feel lost and alone. It’s like this big pressure cooker, where anxieties just build under the surface – something which our fast-paced lifestyles do little to assuage.”
Two of the stand-out features of the show are its use of an all-female cast, and of a contemporary jazz drumming score which underpins the three narratives. Composer Stephen Hyde says of the drumming: ‘It mimics the monotonous beat of the city in which these characters find themselves trapped. It’s also a way of giving voice to their buried fears and anxieties, through rhythm.’
Following the run of an earlier version of the show in Oxford in 2015, the Oxford Culture Review called the musical “exhilarating… The atmosphere was electric.”
“We’re hoping the show strikes a chord with festival audiences,” says Katie Hale, “We all have moments where we feel as if our lives are spinning out of control, and we all know people who’ve had to deal with grief.”
Katie Hale, from near Shap, says that her lyric-writing stems in part from poetry. Her debut poetry pamphlet, Breaking the Surface (Flipped Eye, 2017), came out in June, and this year she has been awarded the Jane Martin Poetry Prize and Ware Open Poetry Prize, as well as being shortlisted for the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize in April. She is also working with an editor at Penguin Random House on her first work of fiction: a post-apocalyptic literary novel called My Name is Monster.
Meanwhile Stephen Hyde, from Ellonby, is no stranger to theatre. Co-director of touring Shakespeare company The Three Inch Fools, which he founded with his brother James Hyde, Stephen also has another show touring to Edinburgh Fringe this summer. The Marriage of Kim K, written with lyricist Leoe Mercer, is a satirical musical, fusing Mozart’s opera and Kim Kardashian’s love life.
The Inevitable Quiet of the Crash runs from 2 – 28 August, at 6pm, at C Royale on George St, Edinburgh. Tickets can be obtained from the Edinburgh Fringe website.