Nothing like a week to the Fringe to start focusing the mind. Although I don’t really have a spare moment to think about the stand up show (except when I am doing it on stage), on the drive from Rasputin rehearsals to the Battersea Arts Centre for tonight’s preview, my brain kicked into overdrive and in thirty minutes I’d had several crucial thoughts on the structure and themes of the show. Although ostensibly I have put together a selection of true stories from my life, without a conscious theme beyond the fact that they have happened to me and that a few of them are about dancing and a celebration of uncoolness and daftness, I realised that the overarching theme in them is about movement versus inertia, with a subplot involving solitude versus sociability. I realised how weirdly connected the routines about no man being an island, the man in the vacuum and even Dave Manager’s refusal to interact with the teenage me were. And how Ted Roger’s slightly tragic seaside performance (ruined by me my friends) resonated with my own story about my most successful joke. How we can look backwards but maybe it’s better to look forwards, how we can dance alone, refuse to dance or just joyfully dance together. I think I knew all this was under there, but today the pieces started to slot into place. And I’ve come up with an ending which I think neatly draws a lot of these themes together.
And with a lot of these bits put into place now, in front of slightly warm but still appreciative audience, I got the sense that it’s going to work out. For the first time the show came in a little long, so I might have to drop a routine or two. In my enthusiasm to demonstrate the fun of the dance settee (that the BAC had kindly let lent us) I managed to break it in the rehearsal, snapping a piece of wood inside (almost like settees aren’t meant to be danced on). And then in the performance, perhaps over estimating my physical fitness and overwhelmed with joie de vivre I tried to jump up on to the arm of the sofa, didn’t get high enough and scraped my shin across it and fell. It was a little echo of the stupid attempt to leapfrog onto a stool that had caused me to crack my rib in Edinburgh six years ago (when similarly fit and exuberant). During the performance my shin only hurt quite mildly, but when I looked at it afterwards I saw that I had scraped the skin off about four inches of my leg. It hurt a bit, but I was relieved I hadn’t broken anything (apart from the sofa). There are some physical moments in the show and I want to use my new found energy, but I do have to remember I am 47 years old. It’s quite apt that I have injured myself in the way that an eight year old would manage and I am glad in a way that I am still bouncing on sofas irresponsibly at my grand old age. But I hope this will be my only serious injury this year. I suspect it might not be though.
This is going to be a fun show to perform whatever happens. I will dance on regardless of reviews and ticket sales. I think it’s going to make you happy. And I won’t be able to do the full show as it is at the Fringe at all of the tour venues, so come along to the George Square Theatre if you want to experience the full fun and danger!
This month’s prize for the monthly subscriber prize draw is my rehearsal script from “I Killed Rasputin” complete with bits that didn’t make the final cut and hand-written notes. Given that first folio copies of Shakespeare’s plays are now worth millions (and he wasn’t even funny) then you can pretty much guarantee that this will be worth billions of pounds within a decade or two. And it only costs you a pound a month to be in with a chance of owning what can be called without hyperbole, the most important artefact from 21st Century drama (though you get an entry for every pound a month you donate). And on top of that you will get a badge, access to exclusive behind the scenes content and extra questions from RHLSTP and RHMOL and more. And all your money will be put towards funding future internet projects. Subscribe via this link. (you can also make a one off donation and I think Chris Evans [not that one] also sends secret channel codes to those who give £12 or more.