Its been an ice-age since my last entry ( No, Matron! ) and, to both my readers, my humblest apologies, and I hope they’ve been letting you out into the prison yard more often.
Things have been a tad hectic; nay, VERY hectic. The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane has been dark for the get-in of ‘Shrek’ but, now the show has opened, we’re back to doing the tours of the theatre and I can once again be seen strutting around the place in a wig, frockcoat and tights. After which I get changed and do the tour. We’re very busy at the moment so, what with this and follow-spotting at Phantom of the Opera, I’m pretty busy earning money as well as trying to be creative. (When I say ‘follow-spotting’, I really mean ‘spotting’. I have trouble remembering the ‘follow’ bit. My mind is usually off on its own, ruminating on ideas for a new play or trying to remember whether or not I took the fish out of the freezer).
On the ‘artistic’ side, a friend of mine suggested I do a reading of my second play, ‘The Moon is Halfway to Heaven’ or ‘Moon’ as its affectionately ( or otherwise ) known. This we did, with the help of my friends, Case Eames and Ben Stevens, who co-produced and stage managed respectively. Also, the lovely people at Jermyn Street Theatre who allowed me to do the reading there and the wonderful managers at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane who gave me the rehearsal space. Its amazing when your only costs are a couple of bottles of champers and enough Fererro Rocher to feed a small African country.
The wonderful Lucas Hare played Jamie and I took on the role of Paul, the quiet one; much to the hilarity and urine-extraction of several friends. It all went extremely well, and the upshot is that Sally Humphreys Productions have taken on the play and it opens at Jermyn Street Theatre week commencing 5th September 2011 for a four-week run. Its amazing news; simply awesome, he says, reverting to being a sixteen year-old again! To put the icing on the cake, the producers want the same cast as the reading so I get to act in it too. I’m just going to take a valium and lie down for a year.
Before I forget, huge congrats to my God-daughter, Leila Mimmack, who’s playing the juve lead in , er, something at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, which I’m going to see later this month and will then let you know the title, by which time it will be too late to see it. She’s got great reviews, and thoroughly deserved too.
And, on a final note, I played tennis a couple of weeks ago for the first time in nine years. Thirty-two operations during this time have stopped me from being able to play and, at one point, I was told I may never play sport again, but I lasted two hours, occasionally got the ball over the net, and sometimes into the same group of courts as the one we were playing on. I lost 6-2, 6-2 to my brother who, in my defence, is an ex-county champion. Sometimes life deals you something so simple, so ordinary, and yet so personally uplifting, that you wonder why you ever let things get you down.
Anyway, I now have to leave you and don a wig, tights and a frockcoat – but what I do in my local Sainsbury’s is my own business.
Oh, nearly forgot. ‘Pride and Prejudice’, which I adapted earlier this year, is now into final rehearsals and opens in Leamington Spa on 22nd June, prior to a national tour. I went to a rehearsal the other day and its looking terrific. Great cast and director. I’ve given it the ‘Downton’ treatment and made it quite contemporary and bitchy. Do get to see it if you can. Details of the tour are at www.heartbreakproductions.co.uk
‘Choose life’! As a certain rather excellent film, quoted.