Monday, September 30, 2013


So the weeks of hard work, shredded nerves, tensions, tantrums, preparations and rehearsals are behind us. Well, there you go then, as my dear sainted mother used to say, all over bar the shouting. Except of course the shouting isn’t quite over as congratulatory messages keep on arriving. What an evening Friday turned out to be. Chris was on top form and, like the man on the flying trapeze; he flew through the show with the greatest of ease. He had the audience from the very start and proved himself to be not just a singer, an actor, a dancer, but the complete entertainer. It must have made quite an impact on me because I find myself still thinking about it, the subtle changes he made in intonation, in gesture, and expression. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been living with Champagne Charlie one way or another since the eighties and, familiar as I am with it, this came as a completely new performance. He well deserved his standing ovation. So I reckon I was wrong in not wanting him to do it and an apology is forthcoming but it was only because, at his age, I wasn’t at all sure he could do it.
Even taking into account the audience’s enthusiastic response it was certainly a triumph in every sense and hats off too to Douglas who just has to be the supremo of stage managers. Finally Paul Knight’s contribution as MD and the musicians. There must have been something to criticise surely? Well, yes, only a minor one, but I did feel the trumpet was too loud and it should have been muted. Much to my surprise Douglas informs me it was.
The only disappointment of the evening was the failure of the “streaming” to live up to expectations and we were looking forward to it so much. The gremlins really got in the works in particular as far as the sound was concerned. The opening number for example, “Music Mad” was performed (for us watching the film that is) in complete silence and there were glitches most of the way through. We thought it was just us suffering but according to some of the e-mails it seems it was pretty universal. Fortunately the last twenty minutes or so went smoothly which was some consolation.
So, what a delightful evening it was. While the guys are in London I have been looked after by our friend Judith who is a gem. I think she can either read my mind or she is psychic but never have I been so spoilt. Friday was also her birthday and mutual friends Derrick and Joanna wanted to celebrate by bringing us dinner: smoked salmon and rocket salad for starters, beef cooked in red wine with mashed potatoes and green beans Cretan style, that is with onion and chopped tomato, and for dessert a pear, apricot and almond crumble; and to wash it all down celebratory style champagne of course. Actually I’m not a lover of champagne. I find it too dry so I like it as a bucks fizz. This one though was a Greek version and I found it most potable as, even though labelled brut, it had just the tiniest edge of sweetness and went down a treat.

I have been watching “Cranford” again. I know it is only a short while since I watched it previously but it is such a remarkable piece of television, and as Judith hadn’t seen it, we have settled down to watch every episode before she leaves. She loves it and I am enjoying it as much as first time round. I just needed the excuse of watching it again so soon. With a stupendous cast, the crème–de-la-crème of British acting talent giving perfect performances; beautifully written, beautifully photographed, beautifully directed at just the right pace it is, in my humble opinion, the best thing the Beeb has done in years. I have no doubt, after an interval, I shall watch it again.

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