I can’t really think of a world other than this one in which I would have driven to Eastbourne and back on a lovely day like today, despite being as busy as I am, in order to see a French 1960’s bedroom farce at wee theatre in Eastbourne.
It’s a lovely little theatre, don’t get me wrong. We caught the matinee and so we were surrounded by old folk. Twas the usual quiet house for the afternoon, and I knew that the actors would be feeling the matinee because they always do. As in Stratford so in Eastbourne. “People were concerned as it was such a quiet house,” said Minnie up in Stratford, said John down in Eastbourne, when I went to their matinees. We should know it. We should expect it. Actors. Bunch of fragile darlings. It’s always quiet at the matinee. Half of the audience are already dead but haven’t quite had the ticket punched.
I was there to support one of the fellowship. John. My dear old friend Flavia – she does PR now but has had her finger in many pies… John is Flavia’s pie. He’s an actor. They do the relationship thing. I like the people who like my friends. This tendency took me to the coast in order to see this Boeing Boeing. You see how it all fits together. He’s the lead. It’s a route I pretty much do in my sleep now, down the 23. Just a bit further than stopping at Lou. And it gives me grounds to write to the producers if I fancy working with them. “Hi, I saw your thing and x y z” is just a much better vibe for a letter than “hello I actor want jobjob pleeez”. I’ve written both versions multiple times and neither of them really yield fruit, but we have to keep aware of what’s going on.
What a lovely theatre, with that silly safety curtain and the decor and the chandelier. It’s cute. Every year, more and more of these places end up with Bastardspoons or just dead and dark and listed. It takes work to do more than tick such a place over and to wait for the panto. Frankly, it takes full time work. Very few places have that person doing that work, so most lovely places become chocolate box receiving houses. Beautiful architectural hosts to short term tours that exist in order to exist, and recent TV talent show runners up doing occasional bumseat runs.
This afternoon I saw 6 actors having a whale of a time. Big obvious characters. Great big broad strokes. One man in Paris with three international air hostess girlfriends who don’t know about one another. Six doors. All the confusion. Accents and silliness. All in the afternoon.
I’m back in London, writing this before midnight. Right there – that’s the joy of joining the matinee audience. Sure, the actors aren’t having as much fun as they might with an evening show, the audience is always a bit sleepy. But… the show is usually pretty much the same. Unless everybody is hanging. I’ve heard of actors unexpectedly going off stage mid scene in a matinee in order to emergency yark into the fire bucket. But the London Classic Theatre Boeing Boeing company are consummate professionals, all working together beautifully, getting on well, and doing the job wonderfully without any of that alcoholic nonsense. Twelvety-seven stars!!!! I’m not here to write a review, but … I had a brilliant day. Sunshine. Theatre. Oh, and the fish and chips at Holiday Inn (no not that Holiday Inn)? Masterful. Generally, a fine day and back in plenty of time.