Sunday, 27 March 2011

I love a good shoe fetish!

Yesterday afternoon, we went to see a show. I was able to enjoy it properly because neither I nor anyone else I knew was in it. When you're an actor, doing a show is easy, but going to see someone else's show? You have no idea. It's like trying to navigate the Titanic through the eye of a needle, whilst riding a unicycle.

Consider this: if you think a show was really bad (or worse: average) you have to lie. You have to. There's no two ways about it. Because if it's someone important (read: someone who can get you an audition or an acting job or someone who can blacklist you) your instinct for self-preservation will make you lie through gritted teeth. And if it's someone you care about, you have to lie by omission because they know that you know it was crap. If you're lucky and there was one small detail you enjoyed then you can tell them how much you loved that one bit and say nothing about the rest. (Unless of course the one bit you enjoyed was someone else's performance.)

On the other hand,  if it was good (or the PR was excellent which amounts to the same thing) and the show has that je ne said quoi buzz and everyone and his dog thinks its fantabulous and it's getting a transfer to Broadway where everyone who matters will see it (or more importantly hear about it) then it's time to turn green because next thing you know, your mate will have moved to LA, been offered a lead part in a successful TV series, become "richer than God" (as someone else once put it), deleted their FB page and stopped returning your phone calls and emails. This has happened to me. I won't tell you his name other than it begins with a T. (T my darling, all these years I let you call me Isy even though I hated it, so if you're reading this, stop ignoring me and give us a job! Or introduce me to someone who can.)

So what did we go and see? It was a musical, called Shoes, by Richard Thomas (who did Jerry Springer, The Opera) and Stephen Mears. It was billed as a wonderfully fluffy confection of songs and musical sketches all to do with shoes. We went along with some friends who are straight out of a Jackie Collins novel in that they and their lives (down to their children and pet chinchilla) are picture perfect. He is an attractive and successful serial entrepreneur and she is his beautiful and uber-elegant blonde wife. Not only are they perfect, they are also lovely people.

I took us to the wrong theatre. I kid you not. Now, before you judge me, let me explain and give you some background. The show was at the Peacock Theatre which is an annex of Sadler's Wells (another theatre). Confusingly, the show first opened at Sadler's Wells before transferring to the Peacock. Are you still with me?  Also I was feeling a bit rushed (what with my yoga class with George not ending till 12:30 and having to meet our friends by 2 o'clock for the 2:30 matinee performance). Don't know why but rushing always seems to addle my brain: I can go from super brainy Hermione Grainger to Wizard of Oz scarecrow in a split second - only it doesn't show until it's too late.

Anyway, after yoga, we had a quick bite to eat, I tried to style my hair (still waiting to get a haircut) and then we walked up to Islington (about 25 minutes) to the theatre. We got there with plenty of time to spare (it was 1:45). He went to relieve himself  (and I think maybe get away from my slightly passive aggressive vibe which had to do with the fact that we had got caught in the drizzle on the way because he didn't have the umbrella even though I'd suggested we should take it. The feline in me cannot abide getting wet when I have clothes on. And just in case you think I could have taken it myself as any self-respecting independent female would, let me just tell you that it's a huge golf umbrella and that whenever I try to carry it it tends to drag on the ground.)

As I stood around waiting for him to re-emerge, and for our friends to arrive (as I said, we were early),  I noticed that the programme sellers were selling programmes for an entirely different show. I can't remember now what it was but it certainly wasn't Shoes, the Musical. After a few seconds in my alternative universe (the theatre must have a second studio) it came to me in a flash:  I was standing in Sadler's Wells and the Peacock Theatre was not at Sadler's Wells... it was - I checked the posters... in Holborn. About 45 minutes on foot, or a 10 minute cab ride. I felt the panic rise from my ankles upwards.

Just then he came back up the stairs. Me: "We're at the wrong theatre!" He gave me that pained look which he saves for those times when I do something so incredibly stupid that it makes him want to cry and shout "Why? Why? WHY?"

Still me: "But it's ok, we just need to go to (pause as I darted over to double check the poster)... Portugal Street."

He looked relieved. "I know where that is." (So did I, after all, we'd both been to see shows there before).

Me: "We've got plenty of time." Him: "Let's get a cab."

He launched out of the theatre, and still shaken by my monumental lapse in anything resembling intelligence and common sense, he stepped onto the bicycle path to hail a cab that was just pulling away. The first cyclist swerved to avoid him. "T...." ( I know it's confusing, his name also begins with a T) I shouted out his name in a panic as the crowd on the pavement looked on with horror at the impending mangle of body parts. But he was too busy running after the taxi to hear me. There is definitely something terrifying about shouting a warning to the person you love only for them not to register it. I shouted his name out two more times, rather shrilly. The second cyclist also managed to swerve to avoid him. I jumped onto the road, grabbed him by the arm (the love of my life not the cyclist) and threw him back onto the curb. I then crossed the road and climbed into the waiting cab (who'd done a u-turn and was patiently waiting for us to finish our dance with death).

I looked out the cab window and saw that he had come to his senses: he looked both ways before crossing the road to join me.

Me: "You almost got run over twice back there. What were you thinking?"
Him: "What do you mean?."
Me: "What do I mean? Why do you think I was hollering your name out like some sort of demented screaming banshee?"
Him: "I didn't hear anything."

Oh, honestly.

Me: "How am I supposed to ever save you from danger if you don't register me yelling out your name in sheer terror?"
Him: "I just didn't hear you..."

Words failed me.

We got to the right theatre with 5 minutes to spare before we were due to meet our friends (and 35 minutes before the start of the show). Howzat for planning?

What about the show? The show was great! Fluffy and silly as advertised, and also rather subversive and full of rude language. We were a bit appalled by the presence of half a dozen little girls in the front row. Not least because they were gorging themselves with sweets. Luckily great unsuitable parts of the show went way over their heads both literally and figuratively speaking. Especially the song about the Mary Janes.

He liked the leggy and rather sexy girl of Afro-Caribbean descent who I have to admit was the prettiest but I preferred the taut and hard blonde girl who'd previously played Roxie Hart in Chicago. She wasn't classically pretty , but she had at-ti-tude, she was a better dancer and she had the kind of muscular definition that make you think that maybe food is over-rated.

It was great fun (especially the nuns' song) - and some of the performers were truly outstanding so I hope that they'll remain in the cast when the show transfers to Broadway as it's bound to do. If it ever comes to your neck of the woods and you want to indulge in a bit of fluffy nonsense, do go and check it out.


Deborah Lawrenson said...

Great fun review. And I love your line about panic rising from the ankles upwards.

I've visted you a couple of times before through SheWrites, and now I'm going to follow.

Accidental Londoner said...

Oh god, I've had a couple of moments like that! Always so much funnier AFTER the event. Very glad you made the show eventually though.

MuMuGB said...

Looks like you had a busy Saturday! I love your review too. I badly need to go to a good show! Might give it a go...

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Oh, my! Glad you made it to the show (and that it was worth the scramble to get there!) :D

isabelle gregson said...

Good news: this blog entry got re-tweeted as "a fun review" by Sadler's Wells this morning! By the way, if anyone (MuMuGB) in London wants to catch the show, you'd better hurry up, it's closing next week... (I hasten to add that these two statements are completely unrelated!)

Cathy K said...

Love the review and well done to have caught the Twittering eye of Sadler Wells this morning. Maybe the eye will translate into a part for you ;)

Claire Vorster said...

Why does that always happen - when we are about to meet perfect people life becomes anything but? Must be a law, like gravity or something.

London's full of things that are nearly called the same thing. Not as bad as Ireland though.

Great post Isabelle. Hope T. is reading 'sort it out T!'

Claire x

Anonymous said...

Isabelle - This was fun to read! Good it caught someone's eye - someone special, too.

2r1n Christ Marriage and Relationship Ministry said...

This was a great read not what I expected...I was looking for something more about shoes!!! I'm really a shoe girl and love to wear all types...I always start with the shoes and then get the outfit to make the shoes pop..however now I want to see this play if nothing more than to just see what they do with the you and your time in the spot light is about to come take my word for it...just don't forget your She Writes pals and if you do we understand..ha,ha,ha great review RevLa