In the Dead of the Night: The Musical!
last updated 09 February 2024
In the Dead of the Night, a wonderful collaboration between Bright Author Arthur McBain and Bright Artist Tom Knight (a double whammy!), has been adapted into a musical by the wonderful Faceplant Theatre. Touring the UK from February until May 2024, this adaptation is the perfect family day out.
We went to the opening performance of the show at the Lyric Hammersmith and met Lily the ‘wussiest sister in the world’ who is struggling through the dead of the night as tap tap taps at the window lead to unexpected visitors. This is a story about bravery, as Lily endeavors to conquer her fright.
Faceplant’s Owen Jenkins commented: “Working on the stage adaptation of ‘In the Dead of the Night’ has been such a joy. It’s been so encouraging to see the love which the audience has for this story, we’ve seen children turning up to the show dressed up as characters from the book, we’ve seen such a buzz and excitement when Arthur has been present for after show book signings and we’ve seen real passion and positivity from our audiences during the performance. It seems to have really captured people’s imaginations and we can’t wait to share it with more people during our tour.”
Illustrator of the book Tom Knight said “Having a book that i have worked on turned into a musical is a dream! In the Dead of the Night has got such a good rhythm and hook to it that i can see how it would be perfect to transfer from page to stage. Arthur is a lovely chap and i’m looking forward to coming to see the play and catching up with Arthur in person too. We’ve been talking about having a drink together for literally years!”
After the show, we sat down with Arthur and asked him a little about this Book to theater Journey.
Rachel: Tell me a little about the In the dead of the night journey.
Arthur: I wrote In The Dead of the Night in 2015. It took a little while for it to find a good home as it’s basically horror for 3-6 year olds; that’s quite a risk for a publisher. But things have a strange way of working out… Just as I’d given up on the idea of it getting published, I found myself shooting a TV series called Friday on my Mind in Sydney, Australia (as an actor) and mentioned it to the director. Turns out his neighbor is a children’s editor. She worked with me on the book before linking me up with Hardie Grant, who bought it and paired me with (Bright’s own) Tom Knight. It then came out in a handful of countries and also led me to working with Bright as a client (via Tom). This book is a gift that keeps on giving, particularly with this new stage adaptation.
Arthur McBain signing books and chatting with audience members after the show
Did you ever imagine you’d be touring the show when you First wrote the book?
When I first wrote it, being published was enough of a crazily impossible idea, let alone it being turned into a show. I popped into rehearsals the other day to say hello and I really had to pinch myself that all of these people were employed to bring my story to life. Though, I probably could have seen it coming, as the man who adapted it for stage (and the artistic director of Faceplant Theatre) is my best friend Owen Jenkins (along with fellow Faceplant artistic team, Max Tyler and Alice Bounce), with whom I have collaborated for many years on a podcast called ‘At Your Peril’. One day he said “Hey Arthur, can I have the rights to In The Dead of the Night” and I said yes without a second thought.
What do you think of the show?
It’s amazing. It’s the perfect family show. Often the whole audience will be in stitches, Faceplant Theatre are very skilled at writing jokes that make both kids and adults laugh at the same time but for different reasons. It’s very clever. And charming. And joyous. The stage adaptation has managed to flesh out every element of the book, adding layers and depth that continue to thrill me. I couldn’t be more honored. Kieran Mortell has done a remarkable job directing it - he’s an extremely talented and passionate theater maker. The actors, Charlie Burt and Jonathon Tynan-Moss, are incredible too and have brought it to life with so much skill and energy. I love watching them perform.
The opening performance
What’s been your favorite part of this whole journey?
I was away filming when I first got sent the script. I was too exhausted with work to read it at first, so it sat there in my inbox for a few days. And then one evening I got to sit in the accommodation to read it and it completely woke me up! I couldn’t believe how vivid and entertaining it was. I had no notes. I’ve seen every live performance so far. I’m like a proud parent. It’s also been amazing to see kids who have come along dressed as characters from the book. It’s also been a total delight meeting audience members, authors rarely get to interact with their audience directly, so that’s been pretty rad.
To work with Arthur, get in contact with his agent Katie here.
To work with Tom, get in contact with his agent Susan here.