Authors: Louise Dearman &Mark Evans
Publisher: Nick Hern Books
Reviewer: John Roberts
Musical Theatre performers Louise Dearman and Mark Evans’ book Secrets of Stage Success is aimed at “anyone who’s seen a show and thought: “That could be me…’ While this might have been the original aim, the way the book is written and presented, one perhaps would change that description to “Anyone under the age of 14 who has seen a show and thought that could be me…”
The above statement isn’t meant to undermine the advice Dearman and Evans share within its pages; there are without doubt some really useful bits of information being delivered among the anecdotal stories they share – and it’s perhaps of the decision to use questions sent in by fans of the performers that the book never really scratches deeper than the superficial surface of the industry.
Topics such as: What is typecasting? How to a create a new role? And what do actors do as their main job? are covered alongside more practical advice on how to stop nerves and your voice shaking in auditions – all very helpful for the younger less experienced performer, but don’t reveal that much to the older and more experienced hands.
Dearman and Evans write with a genuine love for the industry they have built their careers on, and that comes across as you read through Secrets of Stage Success;however, both have had very similar career trajectories (they even share the same manager), so the advice being shared can, at times, seem a little one-sided. They often fail to look beyond their own careers to other pathways of entering the business and one would argue that the book could have benefitted from a few more case studies from other people in the business to help balance the advice a little more.
Secrets of Stage Success will without a doubt be a good starting block for the many young and aspiring performers currently in weekend theatre schools up and down the country, but for more in-depth advice, you might be better off searching for other books in the same category.