Everyone looked around nervously. Suddenly the door flew open and in walked a man everyone knew, a man with unmistakeable presence; he had the familiar steely look, the razor-sharp reputation and the indecipherable letters after his name. Yes, it was Don Peacockio, the big cheese from Down South, come to Nottingham to see how his workers were treating the locals. No-one spoke as the tension became almost palpable. 'Listen you guys' he rasped 'I want you to run this outfit when I'm gone.' 'What are you talking about boss? You're still young and fit; you've got years left in you yet.' 'No, I mean I've got a meeting to go to. Do you mind starting without me?'
And so it was that our founder and boss, Matt Peacock MBE, began his visit to Streetwise Nottingham this week as we prepared for our mafia-inspired version of Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana. Some suspect it may have gone to our heads!
After introducing Matt to all our new members we got stuck in with our usual warm ups and some rhythm exercises - oh and our weekly dance routine (eat your hearts out Pans People! Oops showing my age).
After this we carried on with our masterpiece; the re-writing of Cavalleria Rusticana in 15 minutes. To give you an idea of the flavour of it, think the Godfather meets Grant Mitchell in Frankie Howard's kitchen!
This week Tim had written his own short version of the duet between doomed lovers Turridu and Santuzza (she, unmarried, is having his baby but he has started seeing his ex Lola who is married to he local mafia chief - cor blimey, luvaduck missis!). This version incorporated two lines sung by the Streetwise chorus, with myself Neil Allen singing what was actually written by Mascagni over the top. Nothing short of inspired and we all had great fun doing it.
After getting the new part around our vocal chords, we started to rehearse the other sections that we have been learning. First on the agenda were the wafting peasant ladies and the lusty farmers - a common sight in Nottingham! Matt was invited to be a lusty farmer and seem to enjoy the challenge of it, demonstrating his acting ability to transform himself into a hard face grubby farmer from the 19th century..
It was now time to put some of these bits together, starting with the prelude where a prequel of the Opera was perfectly performed by members of our participants, while a London red bus was be manufactured behind them for the start of the Opera.
All in all we had a great session. There were a few missing this week but we hope they will be back next week for our last session of the summer.
Matt said his goodbyes, made us an offer we couldn't refuse (lovely biscuits, thanks) and, with a spring in his step and Sicilian tragedy in his heart, he made his way back to East Midlands station in Nottingham.