Thursday, March 30, 2006

A West End State of Mind

A West End State Of Mind

I may understand having albums out, appearing on Top of the Pops and hearing people sing the words of your songs at gigs as major events courtesy of my having been on the outside looking in but I can only understand as far as I can look into someone else's dream. I can, however, fully understand appearing on the West End. Not because I want to do it myself - the thought in reality would terrify me - but because it's in my very veins. Just like I understand the terror of Press Nights, of wanting an audience to love the production you've worked on (to just pay for the tickets is usually a good enough step to start), of wanting that applause. So the thought of Fox, on a West End stage, with his name in a big font on the poster outside - I understand that. And it thrills me.

Given this shared ground I couldn't have imagined not being there for Fox's opening night in London on Tuesday. And I equally couldn't have imagined not dressing up. Because I need no excuse. And I spent literally weeks pulling together the outfit:

Girl Band

Which, admitedly, suggests that I spent a lot of time looking for a dress, but let me tell you there were many, many hours involved and several purchases that haven't made it on to camera. If you're wondering that's also Cat, Nik and I in Girl Band mode. We're a rocky-indie-pop trio (a more credible female Busted if you like) who spent our formative years at Girl Band School. And we play our own instruments.

But this isn't about our burgeoning fame, it's about Fox. And needless to say I was a little excited about seeing him after so long (not since we all won Elle Style Awards in Cardiff for our co-ordination) and given that train trips with Cat and Val involve wine (something which I wasn't previously aware of) I was moderately hyper prior to even leaving the hotel room. So being greeted by the sight of the theatre was rather awe-inspiring:

Apollo Victoria

Because it's real. And if I needed any more proof it came in the shape of Fox wandering down the street just as we were attempting to work out where to eat. And whilst he seemed thinner than I remembered (I clocked this even as Nik and I were running down the street towards him) he got immediate kudos for greeting us with hugs and "I didn't know you were coming"s. Because we like the love. And there's no doubt that Fox is good at sharing it. He hadn't quite had the pleasure of reading our good luck card yet having not been to the theatre in days (so much for rehearsals then...) but was already convinced of its comedy genius ("I wouldn't expect anything else"). And there had to be a photo:

Movin' Out

If you look I am conveniently wedged in Fox's armpit. I had thought that I'd been particularly good having not ended up touching him inappropriately during general conversation but clearly I wasn't as well behaved as I thought. I will, clearly, be mutilating the photo to rid Fox and I of the other participants.

After photos of Fox's trainers (strangely the same as a pair that Griffin used to wear), it was time for Fox to go and see if his piano had been removed and for us to try and find somewhere to eat WHEN EVERYWHERE WAS FULL. Once we'd had a rather strange encounter with some comedy waitressing it was back to the Apollo where I found myself being hugged by more people than I have been hugged by at any Griffin gig in the history of Griffin gigs. Maybe it's something in the Fox water. It makes you hug. It was also here that I discovered that there wasn't proper programmes. Now I know that this was the first preview for Movin' Out but this is NO EXCUSE. It just creates reasons for me to go back.

Then there was the show - of which I will write a proper review tomorrow - a good chunk of which I watched obscured by a man's head. It was also interrupted by a slight wardrobe malfunction that will be complaining to Zara about at the first possible opportunity. Needless to say I glanced at Fox a few times and got over excited when I saw him: looking excited, laughing, pointing, tapping his leg and playing air drums. I loved him just a bit when he milked the last moments of the show for everything they were worth (a "London state of mind"). And - despite the fact that I DO NOT STAND unless I consider a production to be in the top five percent of shows I have ever seen - I stood for Fox. Because I recognise just what last night was, after everything Fox has been through, and that thoroughly deserves an ovation. It also convinced me of the need to get 'I am standing for ...' cards into production for theatre snobs such as myself and Val to aid us with the standing thing.

When Fox left the theatre afterwards we were greeted by his discovery that the comedy genius of our card was Griffin's insulting message. Which had clearly been reitterated on the phone that day. All I can say is that Griffin needs to wash his mouth out and Fox needs to, well, stop doing things that can't be mentioned on a family friendly blog like DA. After Fox had checked that we were going to come again (erm, are we? it seems that we rather have to now) we left Fox intending to head for drinks with his family, Nik headed home and Cat, Val and I ended up drinking in a strange little pub not far from Dury Lane. And it all seemed rather perfect.

1 comment:

Val said...

I'm still disappointed at the lack of programmes - I don't like being without the biogs! - so as you (and James) say, we'll just have to go again.
Please get those cards into production, as I'm starting to get a bit traumatised by all this standing!