Thursday, 20 August 2009

Yes, it's still about that.

Now then, where were we? Obviously I’m on a train again (I’m not going to tell you where, location fans. I feel like I’ve overindulged you lately) and I ought really to finish this megablog about the show before it passes into prehistory. There are a few more people you need to know about first, though.

Scott (played the Hoff/ the Crap DJ): A question I have been asked quite a lot in the last three weeks is the inevitable ‘What’s Scott Mills like then?’ And nobody looks the slightest bit surprised when I say that he’s a really lovely bloke. This is a man who is able to get my 70 year old mother listening to Radio 1 (she thinks he’s ‘an excellent broadcaster’). I was dead impressed when I went into the studio a couple of times, too. He makes it look pretty effortless. The Pinot Grigio gags, by the way, have a certain basis in fact. I thought I had a good line in inhaling bottles of wine, but I look like a slowcoach next to Mills. I’d challenge him to a wine-off, but I don’t like losing.

Beccy (played KylieWhileyMyleene): What have I done I’ve only met actual Beccy. Listeners to the show will know that Beccy is really, really funny. She reminds me of David M in the way she’ll cut right to the chase whenever someone says anything illogical or unlikely, and get comic capital out of pointing it out. Essentially, the one-liner is her forte. She’s also really good value in a game of ‘would you rather’ and is the first person I know who has ever priced herself out of the market with the ‘tramp’ question (and if you don’t know what that means, you don’t want to). Has a scald on her arm in the shape of pepperoni, and seems to be under the impression that all listeners to the Scott Mills show are from the West Country.

Rob/ Emlyn/ Lyndsey/Sam: Our Radio 1 angels. Emlyn (the real TOTDS) wrote the show and was its chief cheerleader- his enthusiasm for it kept us all going, and he has an uncanny ability to say ‘does anyone want a drink’ at JUST the right time. Rob- or Linda, as he now prefers to be known after his discovery of the ‘Broadway’s Leading Ladies’ DVD- couldn’t be less like his counterpart in the show, although he does have the same surname. Lyndsey mainly spent her time with actors saying ‘where are my keys/ tickets/ Pleasance passes/ contract/ money’ which can’t have been much fun but somehow resisted the temptation to slap anyone upside the head. Sam the internet guy took more photos than anyone ever has in the world ever, and managed somehow to upload them before they were even taken. He also made a very convincing, um, photographer in the Brits scene. R1 in general was incredibly supportive of the show, and it made such a difference to know they were right behind/ alongside us. There was no divide, I suppose is what I’m saying, between ‘radio show people’ and ‘people off of the musical’- we were all in it together, which was what made it all so ace.

Patrick/ Ollie/ Roshni/ JP/ Nick/ Robin: Ok, I know this is turning into a tedious Oscar speech now, but hey, nobody asked you to read it. Patrick, our director, made it into a proper show. We’d have got away with something endearingly chaotic, but Patrick insisted that we come up with something as tight and as slick as possible, which I think made a real difference when it came to audience expectations. He created a smashing atmosphere in rehearsal too- surprisingly few directors seem to realise, as Patrick does, that you’re allowed to like your actors and tell them that you think they’re good. Ollie, Patrick’s assistant, is possessed of enough charm, enthusiasm and charisma to persuade a bunch of cynical actors to do a Peter Brook-style workshop with sticks, without ending up wearing one. Roshni, our company stage manager, managed somehow to co-ordinate the whole show, set, props, costume and all, on a budget of tuppence ha’penny and a diet of fags and whisky. The woman is a legend. She fell asleep at one point during the overnight, and immediately sat up- in a moment of silence when nobody had called for her- and said ‘NO, SORRY’. You have to love that. John, the production manager, and Nick the LD seem to have smiled their way through the whole job. And Robin, on sound, put up with us blocking his radio mikes with our sweat, which, if you think about it, is pretty disgusting.

So that, at some length, is the gang. Now, you left us having just finished the all-nighter. We went off to get varying degrees of sleep (the R1 team had three hours of Drivetime to do, remember, the poor sods) before reconvening, white with anticipation, at the Pleasance that evening. To say that we were nervous would be to say that Chris Moyles is carrying a few extra pounds. Pacing was the order of the day, along with that kind of half-conversation you have on first nights where you say to each other ‘IT’S GOING TO BE FUN, ISN’T IT? YES. YES IT’S GOING TO BE A LOT OF FUN’ while trying to ignore the fact that you both have crazed eyes. The turnaround from the previous show was pretty smooth (apart from one actor having lost a crucial item of costume, and, what’s worse, attempting to lie about it. Pond scum. Yes, it was me. Shut up.) and, shatteringly quickly, it was time for the actual punters to come in. All 300 of them. This is where we began to visualize 300 angry, tired drunks who had queued for four hours to get their tickets. This is where we realized that the opening number went on for seven minutes and Scott, the man they had come to see, wasn’t even in it. This is where we began to get REALLY scared.

I might tell you what happened next, sometime.

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