Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Dramatis Personae

As promised, then, a few words about these people I keep insisting are such smashers.

Them what was on stage (in order of appearance):

Kathy (PR4L): You know her voice because everyone does, and at first it’s strange to hear it coming from a person rather than from the Today programme. She is a ukelele-toting, tiara’d streak of elegance with a singing voice as beautiful as her speaking one, and a devilish quick sense of humour. Kathy’s enthusiasm for the whole project was always a boost and my word she can make people laugh. It’s also fun to get her to say rude words. Formed an unholy alliance with Andrew.

Laurie (played Beccy): The best thing ever to come out of Belgium and yes, I am including waffles in that. We were gutted to miss her burlesque performance (although it was sold out, which is of course the best possible reason) because playing Beccy required her to be sweet and musical theatre-ish (which she did as if to the manner born) whereas I’m pretty sure our Ms Hagen would be great at the darker, more decadent side of performance. Taught me the running man, for which I will be forever grateful. Can inflect the simple word ‘Babes’ in at least 48 different ways. Formed an unholy alliance with Andrew.

Simon (Dep musical director, cameo as ‘man on intercom’ in the opening number): Baptism of fire. Simon agreed to come in and play for the times that Des was unavailable and, due to various unforeseen circumstances, ended up as our de facto MD. I have never before attended a music rehearsal where the cast had to teach the MD the songs, but Simon showed himself to be a quick and, fortunately for us, patient learner, and when it came to notes, an even better teacher. He got a great tight sound out of his small band, too (also comprising Dominic on bass and Andy on drums). Didn’t to my knowledge form an unholy alliance with Andrew but the signs were there that he would have done, given time.

Joe (played Scott): I’ve mentioned him a couple of times before, so you’ll know about him. Joe joined us as a fresh-faced, eager drama student, and left us three weeks later as a seasoned pro with a shattered liver. So, as mentors, you’ll see that we could hardly have done a better job. He reminds me of myself when I was his age, (back in the Pleistocene epic) in many ways, chiefly in his refusal to sing the end of any given song as written if there’s a gala high note to be had. But beyond his performance, which as you’ve seen was great, he handled the pressure and the madness of the whole project- which must have been twice as intense for him as for anyone except Scott- with real maturity, modesty and grace. So probably not that much like the younger me, after all. Formed an unholy alliance with Andrew.

David (played TOTDS): The straight man who is always in gay plays. We tried to insist that this one didn’t belong on his impressive gay theatre CV, but round about the first rehearsal of R.A.D.I.O it became apparent that that wasn’t fooling anyone. David came to our show straight from his wedding (that’s a pun, kids) and having lived abroad for a while, so he must have been pretty dazed by the whole thing. Being the great galumpher that I am, I was very envious of his physical precision on stage, and I think his performance is one of the highlights of the video version, as that kind of precision translates so well to camera. Fans of the song ‘We’re Not Allowed’ will be interested to learn that David used this very laptop to perform one of the taboos mentioned in the lyric, while we were ON THE TRAIN to Edinburgh.

Andrew (played Chris Moyles/ Andy Parfitt/ a Stepsesque cowboy): As I thought to myself what to say about Andrew, I found myself smiling. He’s that kind of person. He is responsible for christening me ‘Jennifer’ (it’s a long story, but basically think Dreamgirls) a name which I haven’t answered to since I was teaching English to a girl from Hong Kong who couldn’t quite manage ‘Jonathan’. He appointed himself as ASM to our stage manager, the estimable Roshni (with whom he formed an unholy alliance, and of whom more later) and worked his butt off helping to marshal the scene changes while retrieving the necessary props that his colleagues (ok, ok, me) had left in eccentric places in the wings. Had less to do in the show than some of the rest of us, a fact he occasionally mentioned, but you wouldn’t know to watch it, because everything he did was so memorable. I suspect he may have a slight tendency towards corpsing.

Guy (played Rob the boss): Current holder of ‘Wales’ nicest man’, a title he has held every year since his birth, Guy is one of those sickening people who you can’t imagine ever hearing a bad word about. Like, ever. Anyone who laughs at jokes like Guy does- the laugh sort of takes over his whole upper body- is always going to be popular with them as makes jokes, which is to say most of us. Irritatingly, he is of course also very funny in his own right. He’s getting married in a few weeks time, and his fiancĂ©e is a very lucky woman- except, you’ve guessed it, she’s irritatingly lovely too. Guy is a bit of a worrier, but in social and professional terms he has nothing to worry about, the lovely talented jammy bastard.

Bloody hell, that’s about a million words and I haven’t even started on the crew and the Radio 1 brigade yet. In fact I haven’t even finished on the cast- I’ve missed Scott and Beccy. But once more I’m on a train nearing its destination (my mum’s place in Norfolk, persistent location fans) so that, along with the madness of the performances and my fun on radio wun*, will have to wait for another time. This is turning from a few blog posts into a fucking novel, but I want to get it all down while it’s in my head. So, y’know, tough.

*it’s to make it clear that it rhymes, ok?


David said...

Sounds such fun, Jon, but am I being thick if I say I have no idea what it was all about?

Anyway, a pity it's finished as I would have gone to see it when I'm in Edinburgh.

jondrytay said...

Not being thick at all, David, you'd only really have been caught up in all the excitement if you were a Radio 1 listener, which I suspect you're not (and which I wasn't, until this job came along). You can see the whole show- if you really want to- online at the Radio 1 website.

Now the Beeb has set a precedent though, I see no reason why it shouldn't extend to other stations. 'Late Junction The Musical'? 'Building A Library The Musical'?

David said...

Building a Library as musical wouldn't be a bad idea. After all, Alan Hollinghurst made a 'bright young man's BaL subject of a chapter in The Line of Beauty. As Strauss was the subject, I gulped to think it could have been me. But maybe that's just vanity and delusion.

Oh dear, Radio 1...am I being snobbish? That, or more likely Radio 2, is where the middle of the road Ukulele Orchestra belongs. Just left half way through.

jondrytay said...

You're not the target audience for R1, David, and I don't think there's anything snobbish about saying so.

We'll have to have a civilised falling out about the UOGB though- I adore them.

David said...

Yes, an oblique twitterline made me think as much. Guess I was expecting balalaikan virtuosity, whereas it turned out to be a suburban - there I go again, the snob - singalong. Their Danse Macabre wasn't great, either.

Ah well, can't win 'em all.

Is this possible, the rumour on Parterre about the death of great Hildegard Behrens?