More Tales from the Musical Front Line

My ex husband, who is somewhat of a guru type figure (he has always wanted to start his own religion, in a shed), used to say: ‘What you resist, persists.’

What this basically means is, stop thinking about the things you don’t want, and start thinking about the things you do.  It’s all part of a kind of general ethos of manifesting stuff and things. If you think about stuff, your energy kind of makes it, and then you get it, so it’s better to think about things you do want/like/need, rather than the things you don’t.

It makes sense, really. I think about biscuits a lot, and there are always a lot of biscuits in my life.

I don’t resist them though. No sirree Bob.

Clearly I have not taken this philosophy on board in relation to the world of musical theatre, however, and my worrying about it is paying off in strange ways, i.e. it is proliferating in my life like mould on cheese.

My friends and family think this is hilarious.

Andrea practically had to be resuscitated when I recounted this week’s adventures in theatre to her.  She said, and I quote: ‘Stop telling me any more things. I might need to wee now.’

She then said: ‘You must have been a very naughty beetle in a previous life.’

Indeed, yes.

The anti-christ of beetles.

So yesterday afternoon saw me dashing home from the school run with Oscar, leaving Tilly with strict instructions as regards to tea, and laundry and when Jason would be home, flinging Tallulah into the car and haring off to Northampton for the evening.

I know. This is not my usual haunt or habit.  Let me explain.

My father is a huge fan of musical theatre, and he and Tallulah have been known to go on jaunts together to see shows.  This works perfectly for the most part. They enjoy each other’s company, they have a great time, and they save the rest of us from having to go.

Months ago, my dad booked tickets for the two of them to see the musical, Anything Goes, which is currently touring the country to great plaudits from all those who know about these things.  The show was not coming to Leicester at all, the nearest theatre to us was Northampton’s Derngate theatre, so he booked that, for yesterday evening’s performance.

At the time I did question the wisdom of booking a show on a Friday evening. Northampton isn’t very far (about an hour away), but you do have to factor traffic into the mix, and travelling during a Friday rush hour is not ideal.  My father was adamant that all would be well.

Then my dad wasn’t well.

So he couldn’t go to the Derngate theatre on a Friday evening in May, rush hour or no, and he couldn’t bear the thought of Tallulah missing out on her show, so my better nature was appealed to.

As we know, I struggle to have a better nature. I am not a better natured person. I am a grouchy, ungrateful, curmudgeon of a person who won’t even smile in photographs.

Nevertheless, I thought about my previous existence as an evil beetle, and decided that if I was really good in this life, and embraced musical theatre, maybe someone would let me be an aardvark in my next incarnation. It was a cheering thought, so I agreed.

Hence Tallulah and I travelling towards Northampton yesterday afternoon with as much rapidity as I could muster.  This, it turned out, was not a lot, as almost the entire section of the M1 that relates to Northamptonshire is currently coned off into strange sub-sections of lanes and has an average speed trap/limit of 50 mph for its duration.

Not helped by the fact that it was Friday, nor the fact that for some time I was trapped behind a woman in a Toyota Yaris who insisted on doing between 35 and 40 mph and slamming her brakes on every time someone farted in Tokyo.  I would have overtaken her, had I not been wedged into place by a Romanian truck driver who had a penchant for randomly weaving about the middle lane. By the time we hit the outskirts of Northampton I was a bit sweaty with fear, and more than a bit sweary.

We gyrated around Northampton for some time until I had taken into account one way roads that Sat Navs cannot predict, closed car parks and filter lanes that filtered me into places that the Sat Nav didn’t like.  Eventually we found a car park, and then a bank, because the car park didn’t take card payments, only cash.

Once we had done that, and swapped my theatre ticket from a senior citizen to a full price ticket (I did look haggard enough to be taken for senior citizen by the time we got there, but couldn’t take the risk that they would throw me out of the theatre just as I was about to take my seat, given how much effort it took to got us there) we had just enough time to eat before curtain up. I had thought I might have been overly cautious with regard to what time we left home.


Interestingly, Ruby Wax was doing her show Sane New World at the same venue, and I did think about sneaking out and seeing that instead. I think Ruby could do a lot for me in my current state. Sadly, Tallulah wasn’t keen, so jazz hands it was.

The set was great. The costumes were wonderful. There were some nice touches with regard to humour. The plot was risible (as you would expect) and was basically: ‘Whoops there go my bloomers!’ set on an ocean liner.  Thankfully the American accents were not too bad, although there were a few hairy moments, and the singing was good, and not drowned out by the orchestra, which sometimes happens. The tap dancing was superb, although there is only so much of it you’d want to live with.

It is the songs that get me. The songs drive me crazy. I just don’t like this kind of narrative singing. The weird rhyme schemes, the mangling of metre to fit the music, and the incessant need to break into song every time your heart is broken.

Who does that? Who really does that? Surely you just reach for the gin and biscuits and shout ‘All men/women are bastards?’ into the howling vortex that was once your life, while mascara streams down your cheeks in ugly train tracks?

Nevertheless, we participated in the convention that is the willing suspension of disbelief, and I made notes to book my dad into the Samuel Beckett festival when he is well again, in revenge for the emotional and physical toll the evening had on me.

It’s alright, dad. It’s in Leeds, on a Friday night. Starts at 7.30.  Traffic won’t be a problem.

You’re taking Oscar. He’ll love it.

Nothing to be done…

P.S. Tallulah loved it. Every single, glittery moment.  And we had a voice mail message when we got home that she has got a part in the musical she auditioned for.

I must stop thinking about musical theatre.

5 responses to “More Tales from the Musical Front Line

  1. Oh, oh dear. How lovely for Tallulah. Oh dear.

  2. i had a good friend who was in the *original* production of Anything Goes… she was a “hoofer” as she put it and i even have a photo of her in it. sadly for you, i do like most musical theatre (an exception being Carousel) but have a friend who agrees with you — it’s so unrealistic that people burst into song.. dare i ask if you hate Sound of Music too? however, a voice like Tallulah’s will naturally take to musical theatre — it gives the voice soooo much to do. hope your dad is up for the next round.

  3. Well done Tallulah! And as Julia said… Oh dear. I hope your Dad is feeling much better. x

  4. Congratulations Tallulah! Ummm . . . . and commiserations to you Katy, I foresee a whole lot of tuneful but unwanted ear-worms in your future months. Hope you get some sort of shared taxiing arranged very soon.

  5. I really don’t envy you one bit!

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