Saturday, 4 January 2014

Bristol

I've been in Bristol all day, running auditions for the National Youth Music Theatre. I think we must have seen approaching sixty young people, split into three age groups, who stayed with us for a full day, doing work-shops auditions which focussed on the three strands of singing, acting and dancing.

We saw some lovely kids, some of whom were incredibly talented. One girl in particular could very easily be right for the pivotal role of Eliza.

There are, however, as ever, never enough young men. Here's a staggering statistic. When it comes to young people wanting to get involved in acting, the ratio of girls to boys is 8 to 2. Out of the 20% of men who audition, 80% will be recalled, but of the 80% of women who audition, only 20% will be recalled! The odds are seriously stacked in favour of men!

We're currently auditioning for all three shows for the  NYMT 2014 summer season, which means there can be something of a bidding war for certain performers. When two of the shows (namely Brass and Howard Goodall's The Hired Man) have very large (Northern-based) male casts, the tussling can be intense, with everyone fighting for their own corners. Heaven knows what will happen when we get up to Leeds next weekend and find a 23-year old bloke with "leading man" written all over him! I'll fight to the death for someone like him, but suspect the director of The Hired Man will be equally viscous!

The day was immensely enjoyable. The NYMT team is so much fun to work with, but I can't wait to get back home to a nice warm television set! I only managed four hours' sleep last night after getting back from York and sorting out all the audition pieces for today.

Producer Jeremy listened to some of the songs on the way home, on the computer with its ghastly synthesiser sounds whilst the train rattled through Wiltshire. It was probably not the most ideal circumstances in which to hear music from the show for the first time, but he said how much he'd enjoyed them.

Obviously my insecure, caveat-soaked brain immediately assumed he'd feel compelled to say he'd enjoyed them out of politeness, but I guess, other than spontaneously bursting into tears, dropping to his knees and proclaiming me the saviour of British musical theatre, there's very little else I could have hoped for him to say!

I am now (and not for the first time) stranded at Edgware Road tube station, which, because it's open to the elements, is always one of the chilliest places on the planet. Trains come into the station and are promptly terminated, which means all the passengers are turfed out onto the platforms and everyone stands in miserable huddles waiting for the next one to come in. This can take up to twenty minutes, which is not great when a load of pissed-up hetties in Ted Baker shirts are yelling and screaming around you. They're no doubt off to the ghastly clubs in Leicester Square to chance their luck with a load of mingettes, who refuse to wear coats at this time of year. It never ceases to amaze me how profoundly touchy-feely straight men get with one another when drunk. It makes me wonder how tragically devoid of physical contact they must feel when sober. Maybe we should initiate a "hug a straight man" week, to do our bit for this awful situation. Maybe my charity work on behalf of the gays has been badly misplaced!

Returning to the issue of Edgware Road and it's sub-zero temperatures, I genuinely think that stations where passengers are regularly turfed out of terminating tubes should at least be fitted with waiting rooms for cold winter nights like tonight.

Bah! You invest too much in the notion of getting home speedily and what can you expect?

Delayed tubes, that's what... and trains for the wrong blinking branch of the Northern Line turning up whilst the recorded voice says "customer announcement - a good service is reported on all London Underground lines." London wishes all of its customers a very Happy New Year!

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