New Show Announced: Soho Dreams
Written by Jamie Griffiths on January 27, 2024
New Show Announced: Soho Dreams
1980s Soho is a place where you can be anyone or anything at anytime -a catalyst for many freedoms of today – and a place where secrets stay secret. The Night Owls on Greek Street is a venue where American stars drop in along with famous names from from the worlds of journalism, clergy, TV, and theatre. Here they mingle and mix with police and criminals. Samantha Serraillier is the draw along with its code of turning a blind eye to any indiscretions. The music is loud (at times), the alcohol runs freely and those who wish to identify in anyway are free to come and go (often to the disgruntlement of the outside world).
The area’s larger-than-life characters, who love the excitement, risks, and dangers they run into every day include Albie, a lawyer by day with a very different persona at night; Tommy a lookout for Jack ‘Flash’ Goodman, the man who owns half the property in Soho and beyond; The Nose, who sings his victims into submission, Sharmina, a recent Soho arrival who thinks the place is always on the ‘edge’; and many more…
However, as Thatcherism sweeps the country, and Scotland Yard sets out to end corruption, lower crime and clean-up the sex shops, cinemas and clip joints that make Soho’s neon lights turn red, winds of change are blowing. Music changes from punk and revolution to New Romantic and then in walks Michael Peters from a small place called Irlam in Salford. His ‘take’ on the place and its indulgences runs counter to the inhabitants of the Night Owls. Michael doesn’t understand the world he’s entered and when he wishes to change it, the dancing and music stop and a whodunit begins…
Soho Dreams features 16 original compositions by Mark Russell, the Ivor Novello and BAFTA nominee, who is one of Britian’s most prolific film and TV Composers. He’s worked for ITV, BBC, Netflix, NBC, in
Hollywood and presented BBC Radio3’s ‘Mixing It’ for 17 years. Book & Lyrics are by Rob McLoughlin, a multi award winning journalist and broadcaster who has worked on entertainment and news and current affairs programmes for ITV and the BBC and was a Director of Granada Television.
A second song and video ‘CHILD’ will be released on Friday 9 February and a 6-song EP two weeks later.
Simon Platz, CEO of Bucks Music, said: “The music in Soho Dreams is brilliantly engaging, a mix of dance and drama as well as comedy which really captures the excitement and danger which was in the air and in many ways, mirrors much of the mood today.” Rob McLoughlin said: “Soho Dreams is a story we’ve wanted to tell for a long time. It shows how influential the district was – for good and bad – and how it was a crucible for much of today’s attitudes and social battles. It was inspired by Mary Magdalene’s story and Bizet’s Carmen without any reference to them in the show.”
Soho Dreams was first performed during lockdown as an audio project with a cast drawn from graduates of the Scottish Conservatoire in Glasgow. Workshops were held in Islington in 2022, directed by Rosie Parker with Ryan Mackenzie as Musical Director. A showcase was held in late 2022 at The Other Palace featured Jessica Pardoe as Samantha Serraillier; Philip Pope as Albie and Harry Mills as Michael Peters. Recordings for the singles and EP include performances by Jessica Pardoe, Daniel Bravo and Barry Keenan and Lee Turner.
Mark Russell and Rob McLoughlin met as students at University of York and first discussed working together in the early 1980s. Mark composed music for a ground-breaking political show ‘The Spin’ created
and presented by Rob for Granada TV and later collaborated on Granada’s 40th birthday special which saw the RLPO (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra) and the Halle combine in a TV and radio spectacular with stars such as Cilla Black and Barbara Dickson (1996). Mark composed the music for the original series of ‘Cold Feet’ for Granada and worked on a range of productions for the BBC, ITV including the drama ‘Whitechapel’ and the long-running ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ as well as ‘Kingdom’ which starred Stephen Fry, ‘The Worst Witch’, ‘The Evermoor Chronicles’ and also worked with Jerry Seinfeld in Hollywood. He presented ‘Mixing It’ on
BBC R3 for 17 years with the late Robert Sandall of The Sunday Times. He has been nominated for a BAFTA and Ivor Novello award.
Rob McLoughlin became a reporter and presenter for Granada Television working on ‘World in Action’, ‘Granada Reports’ and also contributed to ITN before he became an executive and later Board Director of the company. He has worked in the independent sector and for the BBC as well as channels abroad. He created ‘The Virtual Grand National’ (ITV) which replaced the real race in the lockdowns of 2020 and raised millions for NHS Charities Together (their covid campaign raised £160m and NHSCT credits the programme with raising awareness of the charity). He first went on stage as an impressionist as a child and then as part of a satirical show which
toured universities, colleges, and arts venues in England. He began broadcasting professionally with Radio City in his hometown of Liverpool and in 1994 was one of the first voices on BBC Radio 5 Live
as he hosted ‘Morning Reports’ and ‘Weekend Breakfast’ alongside Jane Garvey. In 2015 he was appointed an OBE for ‘Services to Broadcasting’. He first suggested the story and characters to Mark in Derwent College, York and they began writing the music in 2015.