When I was asked by Sheffield Theatres if I fancied a dance lesson with the cast of Oklahoma I thought it would be a bit of harmless fun.
I’m game for a laugh and I pictured a bit of swinging around and whooping, so I said yes.
I had reckoned without those pesky hay bales…
If you’ve seen the excellent production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show starring Belinda Lang and Gary Wilmot, you will no doubt have admired the clever dancing created by up-and-coming star choreographer Drew McOnie.
He and his fit, young cast of dancers spent three weeks perfecting clever moves with some hay bale props.
Thankfully, Drew was nowhere near the Lyceum stage when Sheffield-born actor Robbie Boyle and Charlotte Wakefield, who plays leading lady Laurey, showed me sections of their routines.
“Just put your leg straight up on the bale and slide on to it,” said Robbie, with the nonchalant air of someone who does this all the time. Er…
Eventually we started sitting on the hay bale and swaying from side to side before trying out the move where you end up on your back with one leg in the air.
Thankfully, Robbie kept hold of my hand as I swung backwards. They make it look so easy…
Robbie stands in for Ashley Day, who plays Curly, and he and Charlotte have performed a nine-minute ballet together three times. They showed me a spin they perform and I had a go.
I couldn’t helping whooping as I was spun in a circle while standing on one leg. I can’t say I looked anything like as elegant as Charlotte does, sadly.
Oklahoma! is at the Lyceum until Saturday.
n Julia’s interview with Belinda Lang is on page 26.