So Cats is heading back to London. And I suppose you might expect that, as a fan of the show, and as it is so close to my heart, I would be delighted and excited to hear this news. But, I will be absolutely honest with you all, I have such mixed feelings about it all! On the one hand, it is exciting to see the show get a chance to play a run in Theatreland. But on the other hand...all this talk of making changes to it has me very worried. I know this makes me sound terribly picky and snobbish but...messing with Cats for the sake of trying to modernize it, or even just for the sake of trying to impress London, is such a risky thing to do and I can't say I agree with it at all. Cats as it is...is beautiful. It's magical, it's wonderous and it has been touring the UK and Europe for over a year now PROVING that people love it and appreciate its magic just the way it is. I never deal well with change, and when something is as close to my heart as Cats is it makes me outright nervous. The theatre these days so often seems to be deserpately seeking some mysterious popular-culture approval - I think Les Miserables being such a runaway box office success and all these musical movies which are following it has created this want from a lot of corners for the same mass-appeal, unexpected sensation thing to happen in everything. And honestly, they try so hard that a lot of the time I think they ruin it for themselves, because it SHOWS that they're tyring too hard and that just spoils it. And I can't help but be anxious that this is what Andrew Lloyd Webber seems to be thinking with Cats - though obviously I'm prepared to be proved wrong! Still, I can't help but feel it's a bit of a kick in the teeth to the current touring cast...though I'm sure they won't feel that way, I feel very defensive of them all as I am so attached to them and their take on it. It was only earlier this month that Andrew Lloyd Webber went to see these wonderful people in Llanduno and now he's announced a potentially different version of the show they performed for him will be heading to the West End and a whole new cast will have to be in it, presumeably, since the current cast are Europe-bound and still tied up on tour in the time this London cast would be being assembled. Unless, of course, there is enough of a break to rehearse with them in at the Palladium at the end of their European adventure so they would go straight through to the London show seamlessly? That would be a nice surprise, though a nightmare from my personal point of view in terms of trying to get down to London to see them!! It would just feel very, very wrong to me to have this tour be steamrollered, if this cast aren't going to continue through to London, because then they would have all their hard work shunted to one side (admitedly somewhat accidentally) by all the press attention on the West End run. So yes, I don't know how I feel about the news, honestly. Mixed emotions, generally, and I just sincerely hope it turns out for the best and that this talk of change is very much overstated and that the cast I've come to love so much stay on. And of course I also hope that any change won't be forever, regardless of how significant it may be: when a new tour eventually comes around, I would dearly like it to be the show I know and love and have loved since I was six in essence, sound and feel, even with a brand new cast making it their own every night. I suppose I will get a clearer idea when they announce the casting - and I think it will be the casting announcement which I will leave to be the decider as to whether I try to get tickets or not.
John McManus - the lovely, wonderful soul who I knew as Skimbleshanks in the 25th Anniversary Tour of Cats - has joined the national tour of Top Hat as part of the show's ensemble alongside my favourite Super Swing from the Cats 2013 Tour Matthew Caputo! John has been all over the place since Cats ended, but I haven't had the chance to go and visit him for far, far too long because he's always been so far away! But a national tour means I should be able to see him again before the end of the year and I couldn't be happier as I've missed his gorgeous, warm personality so much! Tickets can be booked through the Top Hat official site and the tour will being in Wimbledon on August 12th 2014. Anyone who remembers Matthew's excellent performances from the Cats tour or John's delightful, eccentric Skimbleshanks should definitely go and support him - I know I will be there! In the immortal words of John himself: 'This is so much better than Christmas!'
So I'm back at home again, recovering from three fabulous nights of theatre in Llandudno - a place where I had so many happy memories already, and now I have a whole bunch more to add to the collection. I don't even know where to begin with explaining how amazing my time in Llandudno was, how special the performances I saw were, or how brilliant my time at stage door there was either. There were so many highlights, so many amazing moments. I have now seen 37 performances of Cats - no two ever the same, several different casts, lots of different interpretations of characters. But I think these last three have to have been up there with the best ever. This cast...I don't say this lightly: they are amazing. I adore them! They're so talented and sweet and their interpretation of the show is so wonderful. I was so attached to the 2006 cast, and I was so worried I would never feel the same way about the show again after seeing that tour. But this cast are simply stunning. Adam Lake the anti-gravity Alonzo, Cassie Clare the most expressive and beautiful Cassandra I've ever seen, Dawn Williams my adorable Rumpleteazer, Natasha Mould a simply precious Jemima, Benjamin Mundy a gorgeous Coricopat, Benjamin Yates a michieveous Mungojerrie, Callum Train a delightful Munkustrap, Adam Salter a fantastic Bill Bailey...and two FANTASTIC Carbuckettys for me to watch in the form of Dane Quixall (nights 1 and 3) and Ryan Gover (night 2) - and those are just my very very favourites, because honestly, every single member of this cast should really get a mention. They were stunning and there are so many things I feel I should say, but then this post would turn into less of a Theatre Diary entry and more of a full-blown stage door/show report.
I think there was just something in the air in Llandudno - the sun was shining every day, a lovely sea breeze in the air. The audiences were so amazing, and the cast's energy was up and so was the audiences and each fed off the other and it was glorious to be in. I don't think I stopped smiling for the entire show, or stage door for that matter. I'd say the entire time I was there - but getting up early for breakfast at the B&B after being up late at the theatre the night before wasn't really conducive to a big grin!! Perhaps a post on show highlights might follow, or perhaps I'll save it for when I get round to typing up the Llandudno page, but for now I think the thing I most want to say is that this cast is a glorious cast and there are so many individual moments of brilliance that it's hard to know who to look at at any given time! Adam Lake's Alonzo and Cassie Clare's Cassandra are definite show-stealers, that's for sure, but really, every one of this cast is on form and fabulous and I feel so happy, proud and honoured to have been able to spend three nights watching them shine, cheering them on like crazy and smiling up at them from the front row of the stalls, willing them on for every leap and turn. There simply aren't words.
I always love my Carbuckettys, he's always going to be my favourite Jellicle, but some CBs just capture your heart more than others, and last night I got to see one last performance from possibly my favourite ever Carbucketty: Joel Morris, who's leaving the tour before I next see it. This little dancing dynamo won my heart back at the first show I saw of this cast and he's just this perfect bundle of fluff. Adorable, talented, and oh-so-sweet. My last image of him as CB will be the adorable Proud Kitten Pose he struck as I gave him one last, big cheer, before he tried to march centre-stage for a final star turn, only to be told off by the grown-up cats. He blew me a kiss before he had to leave the stage and I got a lovely kitten shoulder-nuzzle from him in the Finale too, a moment I will definitely treasure! We parted at stage door with a hug and I'm gutted I won't get to see his sweet Carbucketty again, but I would love if I ever got the chance to see him dance again at least. So all the best Joel - and thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your amazing performances which brought my favourite Jellicle so perfectly to life! I'm proud to have been able to cheer you on for nine whole nights and you will always be one of my favourite ever Carbuckettys! Keep your little Carbucketty as a good luck mascot and know that you're a star! All the best for the future and thank you again.xxx
You know you've been to the stage door of a show too many times when you end up taking photographs with the tour's company manager!! But come on, he's Steve Diamond! This man is a legend! I remember him from the 25th Anniversary Tour, and I couldn't resist talking to him when I saw him at stage door. After all, returning to Nottingham to see Cats again for the first time since the tour's cast change brought back a lot of memories of being at the Nottingham Concert Hall back in 2007 for the Anniversary Tour's cast change day. And one of those memories of that day? The cast's traditional mischievous final matinee antics, including changing Gus the Theatre Cat's 'real name' to being Steve Diamond! 'Did that they really do that?!' Joel Morris (Carbucketty) asked, wide-eyed at that cast's boldness, as I mentioned this at stage door the first night, and Steve Diamond rolled his eyes: 'Yes. They did.' I think he was long-suffering with that cast!
As ever the show itself was brilliant and I was in tears by the end of it all - eventually it shall all be written up properly in the Nottingham Concert Hall page for the 2013-2014 tour cast, but for now, I will say that, perhaps the highlight of my first night watching the show again was when the new Rum Tum Tugger picked me to dance with him during his song. As he twirled me round and then guided me back to my seat, he asked confidently 'Who's your favourite cat?' - not expecting me to unapologetically reply 'Um...Carbucketty!' - the look on his face was classic! 'Carbucketty, she says!' he retorted, looking back over to the stage. And just over his shoulder, my lovely CB Joel Morris was just about managing not to laugh outright, though he was grinning widely and was no doubt at least a little smug! At stage door later, Tugger (Filippo Strocchi) recognised me - he came out just as I was talking to Joel - and he went 'Carbucketty?! Really?!' playfully, no doubt enjoying teasing Joel a little more. Joel was so sweet and funny, airily going 'Of course!' and waving his hand fake-dismissively, and I shot back 'If you ask me my favourite cat, you're going to get an honest answer!' before telling him, with a wink, that I felt that Tugger needed an ego check every now and again and he sportingly winked back at me. I later got the chance to talk to him properly and he couldn't resist telling Grizabella when she came out 'She's the one - I pulled her up to dance and I asked her her favourite cat and she goes 'Carbucketty'' and Grizabella found it very funny - I get the impression word had spread quickly about the incident amongst the cast! The next night he managed to appear when I was talking to Joel yet again - he saw who I was with and gave a little mock roll of his eyes! Upstaged by a kitten...again!!! hehe
The first night I stuck mostly to talking to Dawn Williams (now playing Rumpleteazer) and of course Joel (my lovely CB) as I wasn't fully confident I was ready to risk making guesses as to who was who amongst the new cast members. But night two I made sure to take my courage in my hands and I successfully identified a full house of the people I wanted to see; Adam Lake - the fantastic, hilarious, acrobatic Alonzo whose Rumpus Cat has me in stitches, Adam Salter the new adorable Bill Bailey with a mischievous streak, and Cassie Clare, who is in fact the new Cassandra, but I was lucky enough to see her take a fiery and fabulous star turn as Bombalurina and let me tell you, gorgeous does not even cover it...think Rosemarie Ford in the DVD cast and then times that by a thousand and put a cherry on top. I told her as much and she seemed so happy and excited to hear it, I think I may have made her night! I love giving credit to fierce understudies like her - they never get nearly enough credit for the shifts they put in and the performances they turn out!
So now it's no more Cats until Llandudno for me - by which time there will be even more new faces to see! But I'm definitely looking forward to seeing these newbies again. Alonzo was so appreciative, and Dawn was kind enough to pop up as I was talking to Bill Bailey; 'Carbs, Jemima and Bill are her favourites' so he was very happy about that. And like I say, Cassie Clare was just over the moon that I liked her performance. They're a sweet bunch and they're soooo talented, really bringing out some new things in the roles which I loved.
More to follow when I eventually type up all the stage door reports, but for now, just know that you should be getting yourself down to see these talented guys! Cats is still touring the UK until the end of the year and this bunch are super-sweet and super-talented. Remember: it's not all about Grizabella and Mistoffelees! The other Cats are funny, fantastic, fierce and hard-working and they don't get nearly enough recognition, so go ahead and make an under-appreciated actor's day with a cheer or a compliment at stage door! It'll pay off - you'll get stage door hugs and love in return that way and you get to remind an actor that, even on bad days, it matters what they're doing out there.
Guess who I went to London for again! The Voice. The Maynard. The Deankerstrap!! And boy was I relieved to see him after missing him the last time I went down there. I must’ve looked odd in that theatre when he stepped forward and he gave me his traditional little eyebrow raise hello because I just sat there laughing to myself! It was hysteria induced by relief and excitement and the joy of him being there was immense. I admit though, Dean or no Dean, I’ve grown to love Billy Elliot. A lot. I will never, ever get over how talented these ten and eleven year olds are. The ones who play Billy...I mean, honestly, the dancing! And the boys who play Billy’s best friend Michael...they’re ten and yet they know where ALL the laughs should come from and they can improv and draw laughs out and make things funnier all by themselves and awkward-up pauses and it’ just....you’re TEN, how did you get this good at comedy?!?! And on top of that, they manage to set me off sniffling alllll the time with their friendship – these young boys portray such an incredible bond between these two kinda-quirky kids stuck in a very dire situation and when Billy leaves Michael behind to go to ballet school it breaks my heart – the music combined with how the boys play it, with Michael on his own on stage on his bike watching Billy walk off down the centre-aisle of the theatre...it’s really rather beautiful. Honestly, I’m going to be sad to see Dean leave this show because I think it’s really won my heart.
But, Dean won my heart before Billy Elliot did, so he takes priority, of course. And of course, I went around to the stage door afterwards. You know how there are some people in the world who are just so...genuinely good that...you could watch ‘em kick a puppy right in front of you and yet you know you would believe wholeheartedly whatever dumb reason they gave for their actions and accept their apology immediately because you just KNOW they deserve it? Yeah, Dean is one of those people. Even if I’d intended to, I could not possibly have pouted at him for not being there last time – not even jokingly! He’s just...he’s a pretty special human being. So seeing the show AND being able to get hugs from him afterwards...there is no substitute for that feeling! More or less the first thing out of his mouth was an apology for not being there last time, bless him. And as I’ve already mentioned, I just rolled my eyes at him and assured him it was fine. I could never hold anything against him I don't think. We had a lovely chat – I got a tiny bit of singing out of him. The ‘Are you blind when you’re born?’ opening line of Cats, the very line which caused me to fall in love with him in that show! He didn’t full-on power-sing-it as he was literally just trying to remember the lyrics for story-telling purposes, but still, hearing his singing voice, a capella and right in front of me like that...wowwww, the man can sing. I kind of want to beg him to record some of my favourite songs for me! Cannot wait to see him again - just two more trips to Billy Elliot for me before Dean leaves it now, but hopefully there's still a lot more to come from the ever-charming Dean!
Thank you to all the people I've met and spent time with at the theatre this year; it's been a year of extreme stage doors (back to back West Side Story and Billy Elliot!!!) and of new friends (Dawn Williams, Joel Morris and the Jellicles of 2013's UK Tour Cast of Cats!) and I even got to meet Stephen Mangan! So, thank you 2013 for being such a year of theatre, here's to hoping 2014 will bring even more stage door memories!
Happy New Year Theatre Fans!
Hope we all have some of the best days of our lives at the theatre again soon.xxx
I got to dance with Jemima tonight! But what a show it was...the atmosphere in the Liverpool Empire tonight was electric! Iooooved it! Some highlights; being pulled up to dance with Jemima (Dawn Williams) and then Bill Bailey (Will Lucas) of course, but also, having Alonzo (James Darch) right in front of me for Naming of Cats NAILING the Alonzo eyes and smile, seeing Carbucketty and Bill Bailey (Joel Morris and Will Lucas) be super-precious giving Munkustrap a headache in Bustopher Jones, so much so that he had to move CB, much to CB's annoyance! The Jellicle Ball...just....so magical. Every single person on that stage just kicked it up a notch tonight. It's such a shame so many people will be going and changing round in this cast because they're just starting to really click and kick into gear and I just...wow. Loved it. Such a fantastic night and a great stage door experience too with all my favourites stopping to chat and have photos with me! Got a lovely Jemima and Bill Bailey sandwich and thanks to the lovely Matthew Caputo (swing and superstar!) I also got to chase through Liverpool Lime Street and get a photo and chat with James Darch, who I think was possibly my hero of the night with that Naming of Cats rendition...because seriously, he just WAS Alonzo in those minutes. Wowwwwww. Seriously, I've gotten attached to them just in time for them to leave, how is that fair?! I'm seriously going to miss Will Lucas as Bill Bailey and Jess Buckby as Cassandra, and when he goes eventually I'll really miss Joel as CB too! But yes, it was an excellent show to end my Cats tour of 2013 with and an excellent show and stage door to remember the leavers by...but right now? I'm exhausted and need my sleep before I upload any photographs. Look out for the pictures popping up on the Cats Tour 2013-2014 section soon though! And I promise, the text on all these stage door pages is an ongoing project!
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!
When Liz and I first began going to stage door, one of the first ways we learned how to spot theatre people was their sense of fashion! And I'm not going to lie, we tried so hard to replicate that fashion! Because whether they realise it or not, a lot of theatre people tend to have a certain look to their outfits which is hard to pinpoint, but once you've spent a while at stage door, you can just recognise it. One key aspect of this theatre wardrobe though? The scarf!! Theatre people seem to love their scarves - and as a result I've come to love them very much too! I love a good bit of theatre trip outfit planning and, with a potential November trip to see Dean Maynard again in Billy Elliot, I'm already on the lookout for a good outfit for my first winter stage door of the year. Accesorize are my go-to shop these days and I am absolutely spoilt for choice as to which scarf to choose for this trip!
This first snood is nice and simple, and I like having such bright colours at a winter stage door, especially if I wear my plain fit-and-flare black dress (which has done me good service at several stage doors now.) I also love the fact that it's called 'Copenhagen' and is in the Fairisle style - the style of knit-wear made in the Faroe Islands, which are part of the kingdom of Denmark. My Danish obsession gives this scarf a slight edge over some of the other possibilities, but I have to try and think more stage door. As for the second snood - it just love the autumn colours of it, it looks nice and cozy, but perhaps wouldn't be colourful enough to stand out in a London stage door crowd!
These three are very 'theatre-person' style, and again I like having the bright colours against all the darkness and greyness of a winter stage door. Rainbow stripes always remind me of John McManus (my Cats cast's Skimbleshanks) and his impressive scarf collection. He always used to have extra-long scarves which he would tie in all sorts of crazy knots and they were always in bright colours, stripes and rainbows. I don't even know how I'd begin choosing which rainbow I like best though...
Tartan is another theatre-persony look and I do love trying to emulate that sense of style they all seem to be gifted with. I'd miss the brightness of the rainbows, but on the other hand, these are scarves which can go with anything; a last minute outfit change, a new bag, anything. I love how wintery and cozy the tartan look is too.
So yes; stage door tip? Look out for stylish scarves and coffee-to-go. A much less obvious thing to be looking out for when in London, but for touring productions? It's often a dead giveaway. And if you want to look stage-doorish? A scarf is always a good start. As for choosing what scarf to wear? As a scarf addict...I am really not the person to come to! My annual scarf budget is ridiculous! But seriously, if you have some cash to spare, try Accessorize's scarf range - I can't recommend them enough.
One thing I am always fussing about before a theatre trip? What on earth to do with my hair! The thing is with a theatre trip, you often want to look dressed up and fancy, but you also know you can't do anything too intricate or fancy as you might well need to run for a train or have a long journey to make it through in tact - also, if you go out for a pre-show meal or a matinee, it's just odd to be wandering around town with your hair all done-up for the opera when everyone else around you is just out for a Saturday afternoon walk, and if you're going on the train down to London for a West End show then you'll be on the train with commuters. So anyway, given all these factors, I usually end up just leaving my hair loose and rarely do anything special with my hair - it saves time to leave it, even if I feel sometimes like my look isn't as theatre-ready as I would like! To me, going to the theatre is a real even though, and I'm always on the look out for solutions which tick all the boxes. Anyway, recently, I went out for dinner with some friends and, as I had a little time on my hands, was messing around with my hair accessories in front of the mirror once I'd got ready. And I might have stumbled on a new idea for a theatre/stage door look.
Basically, I just took two sections of hair from the front on both sides of my face and twisted them round as tightly as I could. My hair was already slightly wavy from having had it tied up in a plait that day, and I think if I were to recreate this for a theatre trip then I would definitely plait my hair tightly whilst wet to emphasise that effect. Anyway, once the two pieces of hair were twisted tightly enough, I pulled them around the back of my head and twisted them together before tying them tightly with two relatively thin bobbles so that they came together into one ponytail which sort of blended into the rest of my hair which was still loose at the back.
The reason that I used thin bobbles was because I thought I could make the hairstyle that tiny bit more fancy (without being OTT) with the right accessories, so I wanted the bobbles hidden to emphasise my next step: my rose hair clips. I have several pairs of these clips in various colours. My pale pink and dark pink ones came from my old friend Accessorize and my blue and purple ones came from Tesco (and are, admittedly, cheaper.) I thought adding just one of those in a colour which matched my outfit would make for a really pretty but simple look and I was pleased with the results, even if I do say so myself! My very final touch to the style was two or three hair grips, also from Accessorize, with flower shapes to match the flower theme I'd already started. I added these at the sides and they also helped keep the hair twists in place.
I think the Accessorize hair accessories really did give the look a nice finish and made it feel like something for an occasion whilst not being over the top. I definitely want to try out this hairstyle on a theatre trip and see how it holds up on a long day going down to the West End and back. I know that the pretty clips and things wouldn't be seen on stage door pictures but the point of doing my hair is more for the feeling of going to the theatre being an occasion than anything else.
I cannot recommend Accessorize's hair accessories range enough to you though, especially if you're looking for durable, good-quality stuff that even works with longer hair. I've often had a problem because my hair is longer and also very very thick and a lot of clips and hair bands just wouldn't stay in place because my hair weighed too much, but Accessorize's things are always up to the task and very durable. The specific items I used for this hairstyle you can find here and here if you want to try them out for you own theatre trip look. The prices are sometimes a little expensive, but it's well worth it I promise!
When I went to London and saw Chris in Wicked back in March, he told me he was involved in the workshop for the new Andrew Lloyd Webber. And now the casting has finally been announced for the show and he's made the cut! Of course, because he's amazing!! He said how honoured he was to be involved so I'm sure he's excited and I really hope that I'll be able to go and see him in it once it opens. It's based on the events of the Profumo Affair in 1963 and they're going to begin previews December 3rd. Chris is listed as playing 'Murray' and I can't wait to see him in another Lloyd Webber, as we all know I love me some ALW!
So, I'm currently still working through tonnes of old trip reports, diary and blog entires, programmes and photographs, trying to get more of the pages on this site up and running. I'm about to head out to join my parents in Seychelles where I will be working on several writing projects, helping my father at his office, but also, hopefully, getting this website fully up and running. However, I am still right back at the beginning of my stage door days in terms of uploading of photographs right now, and it will be some time before I manage to write up about my most recent trip to see the always-lovely Dean Maynard in Billy Elliot on September 5th. So whilst I play catch up and continue building this site, I thought I'd leave you a little teaser-collage of my latest stage door adventure! I don't even know where I will begin writing this one down when the time comes. I won't do a full-on trip report right now, for many reasons, not least because honestly, I was a total idiot at stage door and I just don't want to go into it! hehe I don't know what's wrong with me at stage door, I get bold and sarcastic and I say stuff that makes me want to facepalm later - it's odd that such a shy person should be so brazen when put in front of people she is in awe of, I'm sure it shouldn't work that way! But anyway - Dean was having one of those days where he kept making mistakes which was so funny and adorable (he tripped UP the stairs to the stage, hit himself on the head with his policeman's helmet and then to cap it all off he screwed up an intricate dance routine with rolled up newspapers by accidentally flinging his newspaper into the wings at the start of the song and so he had to mime his rolled up newspaper and the dance involves people holding each other's newspapers and swapping newspapers so there was a whole line of people having to mime because of him and it was so funny and precious!) First thing he asked me was 'Did you see all my mistakes?!' Afterwards, when I was at Euston, waiting for my train back to Stoke, I wanted a vanilla Coke, so I went into Smiths and just as I was about to walk away with my vanilla Coke...I saw it out the corner of my eye: a share a Coke with Dean label!!! The same thing had happened the last time I went to London to see Dean, so I think it's going to have to become a full-on tradition now that I find a 'Share a Coke with Dean' bottle every time on the way home from seeing him. When I got on the train, as it pulled out of London, I was there with my stage door playlist on and 'Memory' came on my iPod and I nearly cried [happy] tears right in the middle of first class...but I didn't coz I was there on a cheap ticket and didn't want to make a show of myself in front of the posh people! hehe So yes, that almost turned into a full-on trip report didn't it...oh well! Just look at the pictures and hopefully this website will be fully up and running soon so that I can tell you more about the marvellous Mister Maynard and me!
Rachel Ensor (my Cats cast's beautiful Victoria) is in the UK tour of West Side Story right now and the show is coming to my local Stoke theatre, the Regent. I don't know if I'll be able to go or not but I would love to see Rachel again. I haven't seen her since 2010 though, so I don't know if she'd remember me or not. I hope she would, after all those Cats stage doors, but you never know do you. Anyway, you never know when you book for an ensemble member if they'll be there or not I suppose, so if I do miss out then it would at least save me worrying over a repeat of the Callum Nicol in Dirty Dancing incident wouldn't it!
Look - it's Dean!!! Yes, that lovely miner you see in the bottom left corner is none other than my favourite Munkustrap! After seeing Cats on the Olivier Awards, I admit, I went on a bit of a rampage. You see, whilst I love the new cast dearly, I do so so so miss my cast, in particular seeing Dean as Munkustrap, because honestly, I don't want to be mean, but I don't like the new Munkustrap's interpretation - and that's the way it goes in Cats sometimes because everyone has their own interpretation and preferences. But anyway, it made me determined to find out what Dean was up to because I missed him so much. And after a good hour of Googling the hell out the problem? I found a cast change announcement which mentioned Mr.Maynard as joining the Billy Elliot ensemble. Within a fortnight I'd written to him to wish him luck, booked my own ticket to see him and bought the train tickets. So even if I never warm to the new Munkustrap? He will always be the one I have to thank for some lovely new stage door memories!