Well the three dress rehearsals we did in Manchester feel like a lifetime ago and it is only two weeks. So bare with me while i try to remember the details. We had several quick changes to work out and the running order was changed a couple of times so that threw things up in the air a little. Of course it all worked out in the end. Discard a few accessories, change a fastening or two and you are off. A quick change is like a formula one pit stop, several people choreographed around the artiste. Most female costumes will have an array of hooks and bars and press studs at the neck, at the back and on the waist. For quick changes large corset hooks are best. We have a few zips but as these can get stuck or split on very tight costumes they are few and far between. Male quick changes are quite different as it is easier for them to put shirts trousers etc on themselves but handing the pieces to the artiste in the right order and the right way around is essential when time is of the essence. maybe fastening cufflinks. Shortcuts to speedy dressing can include elastic shoelaces, elastic cufflinks, Velcro shirt fronts and pre-tied ties with velcro fastening at the back.
We have two major quick change areas backstage, male and female. The set up backstage for each venue is the same, two tent like structures with a resting area in between. Inside the tents each person has a chair with their name above it and their next costume will be set on the chair ready for them. As well as the wardrobe department of four we have two local dressers in each venue to help us with the changes. The hair and make up team have work stations outside each tent, with lit mirrors and chairs.There is also a smaller quick change area closer to the stage for an uber quick change with Kelly brook. The second act starts with a group number involving the whole cast. Kelly and Matthew Cutler are the first couple to dance after this so they change from Charleston to American Smooth in super quick time. The other major quick change is for Kristina Rihanoff after her first dance with Mark Ramprakash. She sprints into the quick change area and we strip her of a corset belt and a tight dress and get her into a backless dress with crossover straps and long gloves for a group professional quickstep.
By the time the first audience sees the show we should have practiced the changes enough times to be confident of a slick show. Two weeks in and i can happily say the formula one style pit stops are working very smoothly.