I am sitting in a room somewhere in Ealing whilst around me twelve West End performers sing songs from the shows in multiple-part harmony. They're currently singing Seasons Of Love from Rent. No one seems worried that an enormous vat of multi-coloured popcorn has just been spilt all over the floor. They're all too busy singing at the tops of their lungs. It's amazing what happens to a group of Wendies when someone begins to play songs from the shows. A similar thing happens to dancers when you say 'a five, six, seven, eight.' Try it some day. Nevertheless, I consider myself to be hugely lucky. There's many secretaries in Leicestershire who would pay at least sixty quid to hear this many show queens doing their thing. They're doing One Day More at the moment. Hysterical.
Last night, after my trip to Southend, I went into Soho for food with Nathan and our friend Cary, who is currently writing the book for the production of Flashdance which is about to open at The Shaftesbury Theatre. Yet another musical based on a 1980s chick flick! Next up; Ghost.
We ended the evening in Shuttleworths; a dive of a bar which sits underneath the Phoenix Theatre. It attracts theatricals, and is a rather glorious place, lined with posters from previous shows and countless signed headshots of actors. It's normally a charming place to sit and while away a few hours but last night it was horribly crowded, hot, sweaty and noisy, so we made a speedy exit.
350 years ago, Pepys and his wife spent the morning interrogating their boy, Will, in an attempt to discover whether he was the thief who had been stealing things from around the house. He denied everything "with the greatest of subtlety and confidence". But later, Elizabeth, no doubt by using her feminine wiles, managed to eke a confession out of him. And more besides. Pepys became incandescent with rage and swore to "put the lad away".
The incident obviously made everyone a bit jumpy for in the night, Jane the maid heard a sound downstairs, which was assumed to be the lad, who'd been unceremoniously thrown out of the house, plotting his revenge. Poor Jane was sent downstairs on her own to lock all the doors, Elizabeth went into a proper panic, and the entire family ended up sleeping in one room with candles burning all night!