Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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In The Rehearsal Room With LAOS For The Wedding Singer.

Coalville LE67 5UG, UK

LAOS is a well-established theatre company from Loughborough. They started performing in 1895 and have since performed in a number of venues across the small Leicestershire town and under a variety of names before becoming Loughborough Amateur Operatic Society in 1939. This now abbreviated to LAOS. I joined the company in their rehearsal room at Grace Dieu Manor School for their upcoming production of The Wedding Singer. It's performing at the Loughborough Town Hall between 10-14 September. 

The Wedding Singer is mostly known for the hit movie from 1998 which starred Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Transport back to the year 1985, the year that was dominated by Madonna, Back to the Future, Super Mario Bros and where hair is big, greed was a good thing and the wedding singer was the coolest man in town. We follow Robbie (James Nelson), New Jersey's favourite wedding singer. He's the life of the party until his finance, Linda, leaves him at the altar. He allows his heartbreak to affect every wedding as disastrous as his own. He bumps into Julia (Erica Makin) and he falls madly in love with her. But it's not that easy, she's engaged to a Wall Street big shot named Glen (Cameron Sim). It's a fun-packed musical with fantastic musical numbers and a feelgood show that you'll be tapping along with all night. 

I have seen this production before during the 2017 UK tour (read my review here) so I was excited to see what this local company had to offer in its energy and punch - and plus, I friggin' love this musical's soundtrack!

At the time I arrived, they were just setting up for an entire run-through of the show and I was excited to see a preview of the entire show in one night. Although, during this rehearsal they had to use backing tracks for their musical numbers their level of attention to nailing the vocals was admirable and they are definitely set to give their audiences a fantastic show in September. 

Erica Makin who takes on the role of Julia in the show, a down to earth, quirky and girl next door character. "She's in love with love" explains Erica, "and I think she has an image in her head of a perfect happy ending which is what she hopes to get from her relationship with Glen." Erica Makin explains that she's "enjoyed every second" of rehearsing this production. "It's been a mixture of principal setting and also company setting which has helped make this show gel really well as an ensemble piece". 

"I also see a lot of myself in Julia so that's quite a hard thing to bring across as often as I've felt like it's not acting" Erica Makin

One of Julia's most important relationships in the show is that with Robbie (James Nelson) and she explained that "we have known each other for quite some years and worked together on previous productions so the relationship between Julia and Robbie was quite easy to build. Gradually throughout rehearsals, we have added little bits, here and there to show their relationship building..and most importantly we just kind of have a laugh with our characters which is exactly the kind of relationship Robbie and Julia have."

Erica has found playing Julia a challenge because "she is a very 'normal, girl next door character' and in previous productions I have played more ballsy, strong willed females which I find much more easier to get across." One of Erica's most enjoyable parts of creating this character has been "bringing out Julia's quirky side. I also see a lot of myself in Julia so that's quite a hard thing to bring across as often as I've felt like it's not acting". 

Back from directing LAOS' last production of The Producers is James Nelson playing the title role of the wedding singer, Robbie, a loveable, dreamer and decent, honest guy. "I was taking a break after deliberating long and hard about whether to do the show!" James explains, "Josh Hill who was originally cast in the role suffered an injury and wouldn't be able to do it - so I was approached to be part of the show. I had a few fewer commitments and I jumped at the chance!" The cast was already in rehearsal at this point and he needed extra time to pull together his character.  This obviously presented challenges for James who said "it's been two years since I've done a show so it was a little nervy to step back to this side. It is a really tough vocal sing as well, it's incredibly challenging and with lots of high rock notes. It doesn't let up at all!" 

"I guess I have been rehearsing for this role for years!" James Nelson

He's not new to this whole wedding singing business as he was part of the company Undercover Artist, "we dress as waiters and burst into song during the wedding breakfast, we recently came runner up in the National Wedding Awards for Best Musical Act. I guess I have been rehearsing for this role for years!"

James spends a lot of time in the show working alongside Erica Makin, "I can't speak highly enough of her" says James, "I feel like I'm working with a west end professional, she is so good. We bounce ideas off each other and we are always striving to improve - and we laugh. A lot!"

Gemma Landers takes on the very uninhibited and forward character of Holly in this production, "she knows how to have a good time and is a bit of a flirt". Gemma has two favourite parts in the musical, one being her musical number Saturday Night in the City, "It's a big party number, I get to sing and dance in it which I love. The second is a scene right at the end between Julia and Robbie where they finally realise they are in love with each other and it's an absolutely beautiful scene. The way in which Erica and James create that is amazing!". 

"The way in which Erica and James create that is amazing!" 
Gemma Landers
Taking on the baddie in the musical is Cameron Sim as Glen, "he's all about himself, about the money". Cameron said he has enjoyed playing Glen as it's something he's been able to "get his teeth into being nasty". "If I was being selfish I would say my favourite number is All About The Green which is my number purely because it's really fun, although difficult, a really fun character". One of Cameron's challenges with this musical is he explains "I quite have a severe hearing impairment which not a lot of people know about. I have learnt ways over time to adapt and lip read so singing can be difficult. I have to go over it repeatedly for muscle memory really". 

The choreography and direction for this musical are really spot on and you definitely feel as though LAOS have filled their stage in a spectacular style. I love how snappy they are between transitions in scenes and how their vocals amplify the room through every musical number. I most definitely think they are about there for curtains up in September and I definitely think you should see it. 

Erica Makin who plays Julia says you should come and see the show because "it is fun, it's a laugh and it's 2 and a half hours where you can let your hair down, your troubles can be forgotten and you can get captured in a simple, beautiful love story. It's got a bit of everything; love, romance, laughter, jokes and great songs!"

As a reminder, The Wedding Singer is performing at the Loughborough Town Hall between 10-14 September. Book your tickets here!


  1. Absolutely love that movie!!!! Bet the show will be fantastic!! :-) I bet it was brilliant going and watching them rehearse for it. :-)


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