Last Sheffield show

It’s ten past four. Our last Sheffield show is at six this evening. Then we’ll break up the set and get it ready to load the into the van for York. Jack and I have got use out of our Ikea flat with its dry heat and sweaty bedsheets. Sheffield has been good to us. Who knows what York will bring, but whatever it does it’ll be fun.

There’s a pleasure in the prep. Here we are again, dimly lit, adjusting candlesticks and moving books. Even if we were doing the last show ever we would still be tweaking and improving. It’s in our nature.

But today we’re knackered. It’s not about to let up either. After the show we have to break the set. Then tomorrow in our day down we’ll be dragging around steeldeck and dropping flats and loading a van. Then we’ll drive to York and unload a whole load of tables and build an approximation of something that’s playable, and do it all again in an amazing room in York with a very expensive carpet and no tricks.

It’s going to be lovely… Send your Yorkshire auntie. Consider coming on the 19th. We have 8 people in that day, and one of them is my agent. Tiny audiences can be very special, but it’ll be the devil’s own job to persuade Jack out of cutting Fairytale of New York…

Last Sheffield show done. We had a good Sunday house too. Lots of kids. Some Morris dancers. Friendly geeky people. I got them to sing a beautiful song together. They took no persuading, really. They are company regulars, and had come dressed up – they tried to persuade Ebenezer to let Jay Gatsby off his debt. I refused. “He’s an Oxford man”. (Oh God. Immersive theatre in-jokes. Here we are eating our own tail).

Then after the show we took the set down. Still filled with adrenaline, occasionally slurping alcohol, the three of us went at it with knives and wazzers and sweat. We worked out what we have for York. We put things into piles. We stripped wallpaper and moved furniture and took off shelves and dismantled tables and hazers and sound systems. Some of the audience were still the other side of a curtain from us as we deconstructed the magic and put it in boxes for next year. We have to treat York as a totally different show. Because, essentially, it will be. The focus will be much tighter on the two of us. “Oh look! Traps!! Shiny things!! Shadows!!” Nope. It’s gonna be Jack and Al in a bright room vs buskers. “Do some acting, you wankers.”

We will. York is the city this show was made for and made in. It’s a city I’ve worked in so many times now it really feels like a second home. I’m really looking forward to going back to basics. And the experience of unscrewing all the traps is only going to help me remember to let go of them.


It remains to be seen what form of vocal subtlety will be possible in that room. I kind of look forward to finding out live on Tuesday.

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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