Ovens and reprobates

I’m heading home with Tom and Tristan. I’ve put myself on total vocalrest and they are very aware of it. Despite both being close friends and Tom being the director they’re trying to goad me into speaking by making scandalous remarks about me. I’m not rising to it. No bloody way. A: I’ve got lots of run left to do and B: I’m stubborn as an ox. So I’m writing my blog instead. Here they are. Dangerous reprobates.


Tristan has got involved solidly in the show now. We needed a front of house person that knows catering. He was the man for the job. He knows kitchens after working as a manager at St John’s. He’s had a couple of Michelin stars in his workplaces. Now, despite the fact he’s working in an empty warehouse with a kitchen, his goodwill and attack has made him indispensable. He’s the first thing the audience meets, and he did it in character this evening, and once the audience are all in he gets stuck in behind the scenes. He’s dayjobbing here. I know what that means having done plenty of dayjobbing myself.

Tom (the director) is down from Hull. He’s an Associate Director at Hull Truck Theatre and this is his holiday, directing us. God I’d sooner go somewhere hot and lie on a beach for a holiday. He’s chosen a freezing haunted East End warehouse. 

Tom and Alexander made this show in a pub in York 7 years ago. Tom’d just finished working with Jack and I on As You Like It. A few years later he got me onboard, and shortly thereafter Jack got the call. It’s a show with food. But the problem is, this year, the food is front and centre. So the majority of people are expecting a meal, and they can take or leave the narrative. Knowing as I do that this show works, it’s a strange experience to have so many audience members utterly disconnected from the story. We are still winning and having fun. But it’s full on. Tristan has had a few people on the door say “yeah we’re not here for the theatre, we’re only interested in the food.”

This evening the oven broke down. Electrical fault. There goes the food. First of all, Tristan was roped into doing an announcement about a delay. He tried to keep it in world “mister Scrooge won’t pay for the coals etc” That was while people tinkered with it in the hopes they could fix it. I’ve never been more convinced a show was going to be pulled. A little bit of me hoped it would be to ensure full vocal recovery after getting into a bit of a pickle yesterday.

Eventually they got a choice. Full refund, reschedule or stay and have “something to eat.” It was nebulous because nobody knew. The people that stayed were lovely. There were two women who were unutterably smashed. But it was good to play an intimate house. The majority of our audiences are too big for the show, and many are mainly there for the chef. We just have to adjust our strategy and play the shows we’ve got. Crowd control is what ravaged me vocally. That and the cold. I reckon I’ll have it sorted next week but it’s a new dynamic, and one that Jack and I are well up for.

On which subject, does anybody have a victorian megaphone, or a metal one that looks like it? Might be fun to play with. Probably won’t make the show. But there are times where it might be funny and helpful for one of us to use it.

Day off tomorrow. I can’t wait.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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