Well folks, yesterday I didn't have enough functioning brain cells to string three words together, and today I shouldn't have been allowed out - I drove to Asda with more than half my brain still in Newcastle!!
Haze and I drove down to Newcastle - that is, she drove while I navigated, and we only had one problem, right in the centre of the city, where we couldn't turn right into the road with the car park on it - no problem. Newcastle welcomed us with pouring rain, so we felt a right pair of lemons waiting outside the stage door for the guys to arrive
I've never done anything like that before, and even getting soaked was fun!! Michael arrived first, we had a brief chat, and he invited us back in the break between performances. We then waited a bit longer for Simon, and it really rained! Once Simon arrived we went into the lobby, finding 3 people who'd been sensible enough to go in and wait! Clare - Simon says "Hello", and I have a signed book for you. Heidi - Simon says "Hello"; he hasn't had a chance to read the book yet, but said he will.
We collected our tickets from the box office, and Haze went in to the matinee. I had a quick wander, bought a magazine, then settled in Costa across the road from the theatre to read, drink coffee and anticipate the evening performance.
I met Haze out of her 10th Sleuth, and we went round to the stage door again, where Michael collected us and took us to the Green Room. There were 5 of us - us two, Jane who was local, and two women from Taunton who'd flown up from Exeter that morning!! Simon popped in twice, once to collect his cousin, and the second time to say Hello. He recognised all of us except one of the ladies from Exeter, so he shook her hand and said, "Hello - I'm Simon!" She said "Yes, I know!" - aah, bless! We spent the rest of the time with Michael, initially chatting while he ate his tea, but when he'd done he took us on to the set!
He showed us how things worked, and how rickety the balcony was, and answered all sorts of questions. He showed us the back brace and knee and elbow pads he wears - not just to protect him when he falls, but also to protect him from Simon, who was a bit too good at hitting him!! One time he tore the ligaments between about 6 ribs, which was very sore and took about 5 weeks to heal! He did still say that Simon was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet!
One of the subjects for discussion was long words - I wondered how many people would actually know what hebdomadal meant!! I first met it in a cat care book, so I looked it up, and it means "weekly"!!! Andrew refers to Milo's "hebdomadal meetings (or couplings)" quite early in the first act, and Michael said that he felt it was just Shaffer showing off. Towards the end of the play, when Andrew is rushing around looking for clues, he says something about "the triumph of mind over atavism", and Michael said he always thought "What??!!!". Well, that last performance, he looked down at the five of us in the front row and said it!! Just for us!! It's not a funny bit, but we laughed!! Anyway, I'm a little ahead. We saw and talked about so many things, and I can't remember everything - it wouldn't have looked too cool if I'd taken my little notebook out!
We ate, then found our seats - middle of the front row. By the end of the first act I was afraid they'd have us thrown out, we laughed so much. The problem was that we started laughing before the funny bits!
"Milo, baby!" was wonderful, and Simon got quite carried away with Little Bo Peep; Brother Lightfingers was pretty energetic too. There was the usual hilarity prior to the blowing of the safe, and the novel's "veritable snowstorm" was played to the hilt. The whole performance was just fantastic, and so was the applause at the end, along with lusty whooping from us five in the front!!
And so we made our way to the stage door for the last time, to wait to see the guys for the last time (for this production!). Simon was out first, and was pretty well mobbed. We saw Lauren - that is, I heard Simon comment on the Harry Harper badge, so I knew she must be one of us!- and waited so long that we almost missed him! Haze and I got photos and a brief chat - he was in a hurry to be off - can't blame him!! Then we waited a bit longer for Michael, and got photos with him. My camera was having a strop, but he just waited - he's a star!!
And then it was all over bar the drive home! I wouldn't have missed a moment of this - I've got to know a great play, met two fantastic actors, and also met Clare, Heidi and Haze, as well as "meeting" all of you lovely folks. So, roll on the next project, and three cheers for Michele and her wonderful website.