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Opening ceremony a ‘spine-tingling’ spectacular

LONDON, England, July 26 – The London 2012 opening ceremony will be a spine-tingling extravaganza that exceeds expectations, thrilled audience members said after witnessing the final rehearsal for Friday’s showpiece spectacular.

And despite their excitement, those lucky enough to get a sneak peek vowed to keep the surprises secret after the show’s Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle pleaded with them not to ruin it by giving the game away.

Games volunteers and troops were given tickets to the final run-through as a thank-you for their efforts, while members of the 15,000-strong cast were able to reserve tickets for friends and family.

The 60,000-odd crowd seemed filled with enthusiasm as they flooded out of the Olympic Stadium late Wednesday.

“That was absolutely amazing. I wanted to whoop,” said Hilary Midgley from Darwen in northwest England, whose daughter was in the show.

“She hadn’t told us anything so we didn’t know what to expect. She told us how she was dressed and I was just about able to pick her out.

“It was beyond my wildest expectations.

“It would have spoilt it for us had we already known what was in it so we’re not going to tell anybody.

“Anyone who does should be ashamed of themselves!

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“My daughter’s been rehearsing since the beginning of May, we know how many hours she’s put in and it would just spoil everybody’s hard work.”

The theme of the £27 million ($42 million, 34.5 million euro) spectacular is “Isles of Wonder”, inspired by a passage from William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”. The show is set to be watched by a vast global television audience.

Boyle — who won an Academy Award for directing “Slumdog Millionaire” — and his team, have explained their guiding ideas for the spectacle.

Fellow film-maker Stephen Daldry, the Games ceremonies’ creative director, revealed the show champions “the rich heritage, diversity, energy, inventiveness, wit and creativity that truly defines the British Isles”.

It is “a journey which will celebrate who we are, who we were and who we wish to be.”

But there are some bits of it that are so secret they did not even appear in the final dress-rehearsal.

Ollie Wright, 27, from Christchurch in New Zealand, who is volunteering at the modern pentathlon, was among those who saw it.

“There’s lots of different things in there that triggered memories. It was spine-tingling at points,” he told AFP.

“Every time they have a Games they try and ramp it up to get better and better and following Beijing 2008 they’ve done this in a very British way.

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“It’s hard to tell what the final product’s going to be because there was quite a lot we weren’t shown.

“But if my friends ask me what’s in it, I’ll just lie through my teeth!”

A group of Royal Navy personnel from HMS Bulwark, who are guarding the sailing venues on the southern English coast, were released from duty to attend before having to head straight back to their posts.

“We won’t see anything else for the next three weeks, so it’s really good that we’ve had this opportunity,” said one, known by the nickname “Rio Grande”.

“It took five hours in the car to get here but it was definitely worth the effort.”

His colleague, chatting on the phone to his wife, told her: “One word: amazing.

“Danny Boyle has earned every single penny putting that show on.

“If you don’t record it, I will shoot you! Seriously — amazing!”

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