BSC Address

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dubai and Danny

I don't know how we got back to Dubai so quickly - but walking into the Novotel a week last Sunday it didn't feel like we ever left. This time we were here to perform THE JUNGLE BOOK with five of the second cast and three of the original cast plus myself as Tabaqui. Unusally we met the audience after every show and we all fell in love with the adorable Alice, who at four years old asked Shere Khan the most interesting question ever posed by a child seeing one of our shows: "When you were dead, could you hear Mowgli saying you were dead?"

Dubai is strange place. I wouldn't want to live there for more than 30 minutes, but being there on vacation with a show, it once again provided some of the most wonderful nights in the desert, on the the river and the glamorous bars. Most notably, everyone is extremely friendly and polite and perhaps it is this that makes it so strangely enjoyable.

And so back to reality! We now have to produce three shows in three weeks. KENSUKE'S KINGDOM started rehearsing last week, DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD started this week and PROOF starts next week!

We arrived back from Dubai yesterday and immediately drove to Cardiff to see the read-through for DANNY. Peter Brook says that the terrifying thing about a read-through is that it reveals whether or not you have the potential for a great show. An average reading can still produce a good show - but a great show is only possible if the signs are there at the very first read-through.

It looks like we could have a great show on our hands!

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Little Known Fact

I didn't know this Little Known Fact until my publicist Judith pointed it out today:

The BSC has staged more productions of Roald Dahl than any other theatre producer in the world.

:End of Little Known Fact

Roald Dahl

Wow! I've just spent the afternoon at Roald Dahl's house, home to his extremely hospitable widow Liccy. We were filming a news item for Roald Dahl day (13 September) about our forthcoming production of DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD. It was a gentle afternoon so we had time to chat to Liccy, play with the dog and his ball, eat delicious brownies and drink copious amounts of tea!

But the special moment came when Liccy allowed us to enter Dahl's 'hut' - a small brick building where he wrote most of his work. It stands exactly as he left it in 1990; the cigarette stubs still lie in the ashtray. I would liken it to finding the house where Tolstoy wrote his novels. For here was where some of English literature's greatest characters were born. Charlie and his Chocolate Factory, George and his Marvellous Medicine, The BFG and his Wizzpoppers.... There were goosebumps on my arms as I stood in this small room and thought of everything that had been created by the man who once sat in that old chair.

The universal legacy of the human race still puzzles me - I doubt anything will be excited about our creations except other humans. But as a human being, it was genuinely awe inspiring to get close to something so special - and something that had played such an important part in my personal and professional life.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

New laughs

It's a strange thing to find three new laughs in one week - and they are fabulous new moments in the show. But it makes you wonder what other laughs are lurking within the show, waiting to be discovered. If you can make 600 people laugh loudly in a place where there was previously silence, could there be other unearthed treasures just waiting to be found. Of course there's no prize in creating an inappropriate laugh that takes people 'out' of the play, but having found three this week, there must surely be others. The problem is that discoveries of this kind are usually accidental and often unrepeatable because you are sometimes unsure as to what exactly caused the laugh - the feed? the situation? the unconscious look? With only a week of the tour left to go, I'll probably have to settle for what I've got so far. But you never know..!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Jungle beat

THE JUNGLE BOOK is coming to an end this Saturday, after two years on the road, although it's not quite over. We all travel to Dubai for a week from 20 August for our third trip to that extraordinary place. Well, not quite all! Five members of the company decided Dubai was not for them (!?!) so four members of the first tour, plus myself playing Tabaqui, will join the remaining five to make up the company.

We rehearsed last week in Chester and it was very strange to be performing in a play I have been watching for two years. But there's no denying it's a great show and it's marvellous to be up there singing the last number! I'm really glad to be playing Tabaqui, who is mad as a march hare and perfect for me!

This week we're doing HORRIBLE HISTORIES in Southampton and having a great week. It's another huge theatre which is wonderful to play and the audiences have been great fun. We threw in a new line today to get a laugh we've been looking for and it worked a treat! Doubtless this will be one of those annoying shows where I'll find myself trying something new on the last night and it will work wonderfully - which only makes you think "why didn't I think of that three months ago??!".