WATCH: ‘Sam & Isla Forever’ rehearsal

With each new show, Tideline Runners raise the bar even higher and they’ve upped the ante this year by staging their first ever musical.

Masterminded by Robert Wilkinson, who has established himself as a fantastic writer and director, Berwick’s thriving independent theatre group will enjoy a three night run at The Maltings next week when it performs ‘Sam & Isla Forever’.

Rachel Cross and Fraiser Smiles are in the final stages of preparation for Sam and Isla forever

Rachel Cross and Fraiser Smiles are in the final stages of preparation for Sam and Isla forever

A much anticipated production following the superb ‘The Words in the Wires’, the group’s new musical is also very timely , addressing the repercussions of something that happened during the First World War.

During the 100th anniversary year of the start of the Great War, Robert has come up with a musical that looks set to further enhance the Tideline Runners’ glowing reputation.

“It started off as a pipedream 18 months ago but we’ve done it,” Robert explained while taking a quick breather from rehearsals.

“I am feeling the pressure as I think there’s a weight of expectation after the success of the other shows, but also because the First World War is such an emotive subject. I did loads of background research to make sure we’re getting it spot on.

“So many awful things happened during the war and while recognising that I also wanted the show to have real hope and be uplifting.

“It’s strange to think that if we get good audiences more people could see ‘Sam & Isla’ in one night than the entire run of ‘The Words in the Wires’ even though that was a sell out.

“The step up to the main theatre is a big one but it would be great if we packed it out.”

“Playing the title roles of Sam and Isla are one of ‘The Words in the Wires’ leading men, Frazer Smiles and Rachael Cross, who appeared in Tideline Runners debut show ‘Human Interest Stories’ in 2012.

It’s the first time the talented pair have played opposite each other and they are completely immersed in the show.

“It’s a great privilege to be the first person ever to play the role of Isla and the first ever cast to do the show,” Rachael enthused. “It’s a really emotional show. Everyone has worked so hard and there have been tears.

Frazer admits: “I cried when we did the final scene last week. Robert is a great director and his shows deserve to be in the main theatre. The music is fantastic. There’s everything from a Disney style ballad to some dubstep; he’s a genius.”

‘Sam & Isla’ sets its action in two different eras, the second being the 1970s which has meant that a lot of the cast haven’t spent a lot of time rehearsing together.

“It’s not until you see scenes that you’re not actually involved in that it really hits you what a big deal this is,” says Maria Tucker, who will be making her debut with the Runners.

“I’m really excited to be working with Robert for the first time and I even get to wear a Bay City Rollers style outfit which I can’t wait for!”

Although he is the main man behind the show, Robert has had help from: choreographer Chloe Smith creating high impact routines; such as opening number ‘We Were Here’; Anna Emmins and Tamsin Davidson, who helped with the musical score; and Karen Page who has had to pull fashions from two eras as the show’s costume designer.