Bill (Daniel Hayns) in MYCOs Me And My Girl

When MYCO decided to stage the classic musical Me And My Girl, they immediately set about adapting it for the modern day, transforming the 1930s setting to something more contemporary, to enable younger audiences to relate to it.

The farcical elements however are still at play, as is the premise of the story – that of Bill, a Cockney from Lambeth who inherits a vast country estate, and The Harefords, who endeavour to turn him into a gentleman befitting his new station while getting rid of his girlfriend Sally. Bill however has other ideas.

Bill is played by 18 year-old Daniel Hayns, who’s been preparing for this lead for his whole life. Joining Stagecoach age 4, the 18 year-old got into the prestigious Oxford youth company three years ago, so was “over the moon” when, after extensive auditioning, he landed the part.

Hareford family with Bill (Daniel Hayns) and Sally (Hetty Hughes)

And with rehearsals well underway for the upcoming performance at Oxford Playhouse (April 3-6), the energy and excitement around the show is building.

So what does Dan think of the modernised Me And My Girl? “It’s much more relatable now and really funny, with lots of jokes. So it’s more of a farcical comedy than anything else and really fast-paced, as well as being a very physical show,” says the A Level student at The Marlborough School in Woodstock.

“So yes MYCO has taken a few risks with it, but the changes we’ve made have been really collaborative to ensure it’s as good as it possibly can be. We are really happy with it,” Dan adds. “It’s now really upbeat and fun.”

The Musical Youth Company of Oxford (MYCO) is a teenage musical theatre group based in Oxford. Formed in 1988 its members range in age between 12-19 and hail from all over Oxfordshire.

The Hareford’s Sir John (Ozzy Phelan), Duchess (Hannah Peel), Jacquie (Eden Strickland-Bennett), Gerald (Caleb Gill)

So what can we expect? “Well the staging is amazing, split between the stately home and the Lambeth crew, who have more of a street vibe,” he says.

“There are also a lot of dance elements; from ballroom and tap to street and ballet, so I’ve had to learn the routines and the lines really thoroughly. I’ve never had a part like this before, so it’s really exciting,” he adds.

And how about the love scenes? “There are a few kisses in the show,” he says coyly. “But I’m really good friends in real life with Hetty Hughes who plays Sally, so it’s been great to play this part with her.

“And the rest of the cast is amazing too, especially when we sing the big numbers together in a five part harmony. It just feels really special,” he adds.

Anyone who has seen MYCO before will know it’s so much more than am dram, their high quality performances well known in Oxford. But for those taking part, to be performing in the Oxford Playhouse is a huge thrill.

Bill (Daniel Hayns) Sally (Hetty Hughes)

“”It’s such an amazing space to perform in,” Dan agrees, “so we can’t wait to get started and get out in front of all those people and show them what we can do. We have worked so hard on Me and My Girl and I have the utmost faith in this show so we just want to see what people think.”

Or as Creative Director Guy Brigg MBE put it: Introducing a group of teenagers to a musical originally produced in the 1930s has been a challenge and a joy. Their energy, ideas and inspiration have helped bring a 21st century twist to the production and the company has revelled in the dance numbers. We hope our audiences enjoy watching it as much as we have enjoyed the creative process.

You can see Me and My Girl for yourselves when MYCO opens at Oxford Playhouse on April 3-6. Book here