It's nearly time for my final trip to stage door for the year as I'm due to make my way to Liverpool in December to take in another performance of my beloved Cats before Christmas. The Liverpool Empire theatre in December is a cold one - I know this from experience! - but that's not stopping me planning a nice outfit to go in. I'm braving a lovely dress and getting in the twinkly festive spirit even though it's only the first week of December as my outfit plan includes red and green as well as blue and of course a little bit of sparkle!
This lovely blue dress caught my eye when I was in Chester a few weeks ago - it was my graduation day and we stopped off at a Tesco Home for a coffee (there was a Costa inside, we didn't just set up a picnic in store!) and, because it was a special occasion, my dad bought the dress for me as a bonus graduation gift. The scarf is an Accessorize one - as I've said before, Accessorize are usually my first port of call when I'm planning a stage door trip, because scarves and hair accessories are a cheap way of making existing outfits seem different and new, definitely cheaper than buying a new dress every time, at least it is if you're up and down to the theatre as often as I try to be! The scarf was actually bought to go to London to visit Dean in and it worked so beautifully I'm happy for the excuse to use it again. The scarf just happened to be hanging next to the dress and I noticed the other day how well they went together and I think, paired up with a simple black coat, my go-to black 300 denier tights and my reliable Dorothy Perkins deep red court shoe style boots. Sadly, although they're great for wearing with dresses at winter stage doors, the boots are no longer available but you can still buy the dress from Tesco for a very reasonable £25, the scarf is still available on Accessorize for £19 and my go-to tights are £12 from Dorothy Perkins.
As always, I'm planning on giving my outfit a bit of sparkle with some Accessorize hair accessories. I have all three of these gorgeous hair slide sets which I'm planning to use to pin up one side of my hair and then leave the rest loose in the same way I did for my trips to West Side Story and Billy Elliot in November. These pretty hair slides can all be found on Accessorize for £8 each, but Accessorize also have some really lovely flower corsages and clips in stock at the moment too if they're more your style. The reason I like these particular slides is because they feel and look perfect for the outfit I've planned and somehow they seem wintery to me too. I'm planning on leaving my other accessories to a minimum for the purposes of this look to show off these gorgeous twinkly slides; no necklace and a simple bracelet of dark red to match my scarf. I'm definitely looking forward to this theatre trip; it's my last trip to see Cats for a while and I'm hoping it will be festive, magical, wintery and beautiful and I can't wait to start getting ready and making this look work the way I'm planning! So excited!!
I got to see Rachel Ensor again!! My very favourite Victoria remembered me immediately when I turned up at West Side Story's stage door in Stoke-on-Trent tonight. She's every inch the superstar she always was and I'm so glad I put my post-Dirty Dancing shyness behind me and took the gamble on her being there and booked the tickets. The show is fantastic and it's such an incredible cast, I highly recommend it if it comes anywhere near you. But Rachel was the star for me - yes, even though she was in the ensemble. I just couldn't take my eyes off her when she danced; as I've said many times, she's just one of those people who you want to watch when she performs, your eyes are just drawn to her. At stage door she remembered me immediately and gave me a hug - she'd wondered if I'd show up because she knew that Stoke was one of the theatres the Cats Tour Fangirls had shown up at. I told her it was actually the one that started it all before we started turning up everywhere they went and she said that we'd made their day whenever we did show, which was lovely to hear. I told her how much I missed her as Victoria and she told me how grown-up I looked now and all in all it was just a lovely, sweet reunion that made me love her even more than I already did. Thank you Rachel for an amazing night and for being just as sparkly as I remember you - I knew it had to be here standing with her back to me as she signed out because I knew there could only be one girl in all the theatre with such ridiculously good taste in shoes! Some things never change!!
I'm delighted to say that I have now added ten whole brand new stories to my book of short stories 'At The Stage Door'! The book now includes a few stories and people from the Cats UK Tour 2013 as well as revisiting a few familiar faces from the tour cast of 2006. Stories added include 'Joel', based on Joel Morris of the 2013 Cats cast, and 'Rachel', based on Rachel Ensor of the 2006 cast, as well as 'This Is The Way The Tour Goes', 'Join The Club' and 'In Moments' as well as several others. I have also updated the Foreword and several of the original stories have been improved and updated too. This is my far my favourite revision of my book to date and I really hope to start spreading the word about the book a little more soon too. You can buy the new version of the book from Lulu.com right now!
So, I just got back from seeing Stephen Mangan as Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster at the Duke of York's Theatre in London, with Matthew Macfadyen making a brilliant Jeeves (amongst other characters - HILARIOUSNESS ENSUES FROM THIS FACT!) The show was SO good! Even better and funnier than I expected it to be – and it puts Stephen’s amazing face muscles to such good use! I hardly stopped laughing the entire time, and if you can get your hands on a ticket then I recommend you grab that ticket as tightly as possible and get yourself along there before the run ends. I went to stage door after and Stephen was the last one out but he was sooooo ridiculously sweet to me!!! I asked him for a photo and he said ‘Of COURSE you can have a photograph’ and then he said ‘You’d better come up on the step because I’m a lot taller than you!’ and he bent down to my level and did this big goofy grin and once the photo was taken he said ‘I’m so sorry I took so long, I know it’s freezing out here, thank you for waiting’ and he was just apologizing and being lovely to everyone and I already knew he was a lovely person but it’s so nice to see he’s just as lovely as I thought! (I already knew he was a lovely, charming, funny person though really - I met him once a while ago at a Green Wing DVD signing and he he asked my name and I said Malinda and he went 'Malinda! You look very happy!' before looking down at the DVD and signing 'To Malinda. You're very happy! Love Stephen' and it is one of the best things that's ever happened to me to this day! hehe) Ahhhh, I'm so happy after tonight! Such a lovely trip and such a great night at the theatre and I got to meet one of my favourite people from one of my favourite TV shows just after he played a character from some of my favourite books and made me laugh all night. Wow. Highly recommend you go book your Jeeves and Wooster tickets now people, everyone should see this show and see just what great actors it has too. Quick, before it's sold out!
This is me surrounded by Cassandra (Jessica Buckby), Bill Bailey (Will Lucas), Alonzo (James Darch), Carbucketty (Joel Morris) and Jemima (Dawn Williams) from the Cats UK Tour 2013. I was standing at stage door, with a semi-circle of my FAVOURITE performers from the show all smiling at me and these angels just were so precious and sweet to me even though I was babbling like an idiot because I didn’t know who to talk to because they were all so perfect. They're often some of the most under-appreciated characters by a lot of the audience, but they seriously made my night and their characters (certainly when portrayed by these lovely people) are always some of the most fun to watch. These guys can dance…and they also happen to be super-adorable too - especially Joel Morris (CB) and Dawn Williams (Jemima) who frankly are incredible in every way. It was an AMAZING night and if you find yourself at the Cats UK Tour 2013/2014 then you should try and show these guys some love, because they’re basically incredible human beings who are ridiculously talented and they will make you laugh with their background shenanigans for sure. It's a situation that has never happened to me before and it was brilliant and bewildering! Of course, this website is still very much a work in progress, but I hope to be able to tell you more about the amazing 2013 tour cast of Cats very soon and I will hopefully be adding pages for Joel Morris and Dawn Williams to the 'The People' section in the future as well. Keep checking back!