SEP 00] BELGRADE THEATRE NEWS
Takes Lead in ska Music Story
BY ARRYN BUGGINS
A convert to the sound of
ska is an actress who was barely around when 2-Tone was all the rage, but
now takes a leading role in a play about how it put Coventry on the map.
As one of the five actors
in the Three Minute Heroes show opening next week, Lindi Smith takes to
the stage in her home city, giving her first major role in a professional
It was a strange
coincidence that the auditions were in London, and Lindi was in the
capital at the time for her RADA course, but the play was for a Coventry
story set in the city’s main theatre.
Set in the 1979-81 era of
ska music, the fictitious story uses Coventry and its locations and music
for a tale about five youngsters, their lives and their music.
Lindi, aged 23, has
appeared at the Belgrade before mainly musicals and youth performances,
including Chicago, Godspell, and Boy Band.
said the Three Minute Heroes show there is a thirst for local plays for
local people, and building on from The Blitz last year, future productions
about Godiva for the Sky Blues would not go amiss.
Could this show follow
Return to the Forbidden Plant and hit the West End and tour?
Lindi said it has that
potential and not just for this country, as the sound of ska is far from a
distant memory in the US.
The former pupil of
Coundon Court and Bablake School said:
“They all seem to
know The Specials over there and they are more into the 2-Tone than we
are in Britain today.
“Perhaps it is the
American idea where anyone can make a go it.
"I am not saying
you don’t have to be talented, but 2-Tone was about ordinary people
getting up and having a go.
“It really does mean
a lot to me that my first big show is in Coventry, and about
While the two-hour show
featuring 20 numbers – all the real 2-Tones hits – has proved
‘physically demanding’ Lindi has got off lightly in one department.
The three northerners and
a Londoner have had to get to grips with a Coventry accent, Lindi of
course has already perfected hers.
She has helped her fellow
actors with their vowel sounds, and they had to be told to forget their
preconceptions of talking Brummie!
Lindi admits that, at her
age, the 2-Tone music meant little to her ahead of this show, where she
won the part in April.
Coming from Coventry, she
knew about The Specials and The Selecter, but her musical tastes, although
wide ranging, covered punk, trance, rock and even classical tastes.
But now with her five CDs
of the ska sound, she knows them all. Her favourite songs from the
production are Ghost Town, Three Minute Hero, Message to You Rudi and Too
The set is based on The
Precinct and most of the locations are based on the actual scenes that
shaped the music at the time, including Pioneer House and Lanchester
Polytechnic (now Coventry University).
Lindi, who grew up in
Radford, Earlsdon and Allesley Park, said:
“I hope it will
appeal to everyone, to those who remember the 2-Tone era and those aged
20 to 25 who have probably only heard of it. I am sure they will enjoy
“It has been written
for a Coventry audience because 2-Tone was Coventry. It would be like
writing a story about the Beatles, and not mentioning Liverpool.
And the team have
received helpful words and advice from The Selecter's Pauline Black who
has chatted ot the cast and director, and visited a rehearsal and offered
advice. Lindi said:
“She was very nice
and very helpful. She said we had done some of the songs better in a few
weeks than they did back then!
“She came to one of
the rehearsals and we thought they were joking when we were told Pauline
"It was good to
hear what she had to say and great to hear she liked what she saw.”
The show opens on Tuesday
12 September, and runs until Saturday 30 September, with tickets costing
£9 to £15. Sales have gone well, with limited availability now in the
THE BLACKROOM - THE SELECTER'S PAULINE BLACK ON ska