Friday, 12 February 2016


Days are lasting for years at the moment. We're so knackered that we ended up on the wrong branch of the Northern Line, and then, on our way back to the right station, we almost forgot to get off the train again. Earlier in the day, whilst heading to Elephant and Castle, I got off at the wrong stop, and had exited the tube at Kennington before I realised the errors of my ways! Gah!

Elephant and Castle is a horrible place. I've never really spent any time in that particular shit hole before and today I realised why. The whole district is a bewildering mass of market stalls, dangerous concrete underpasses and grotty-looking shops and garages stuffed into railway arches in the middle of a giant roundabout. Trying to get anywhere from any of the exits is almost impossible. It's difficult to even leave the station. There's only one lift. I queued for ages...

I was in Elephant and Castle to meet the lovely theatre critic Mark Shenton at the Southwark Playhouse. He was interviewing me, one assumes, for an article in the stage. I really like him. He is the only British theatre critic who truly gets and actually reveres musical theatre. His opinion really counts. He is the reason why Brass won the UK Theatre award and he is a huge supporter of my work. I hope he likes Beyond The Fence.

I was keen to speak to him so that he could get a real sense of our project: its genesis, its goals, and the nitty gritty of how what is seen on the stage has been created. I think many critics will instantly want to slate the piece. The computer angle will mean they'll almost certainly put everything good that they see down to a talented cast, and look for every flaw they can possibly find to blame on computers. I'm resigned to that as an idea, but I'm really pleased that Shenton will be able to judge the show from the perspective of inside knowledge... It was a pleasure talking to him because the questions he was asking demonstrated his true understanding of the form of musical theatre. "How on earth did they expect you to marry computer-inspired lyrics to computer-generated melodies?" He asked. "Thank you" I said, "you're the first person to realise the enormity of that particular problem..." He got it. Entirely.

Whilst I was being interviewed, the cast were running the show back in Pimlico. Act 1 is now a lot tighter. It's a full three minutes shorter, which is a relief because the running time of the show needs to be no more than 2 hours for television purposes.

This evening we were back in King's Cross for another band call. I managed twenty minutes on my own in a silent studio, sitting on a sofa whilst eating a sandwich. It was blissful. It was the first moment of calmness I've had on this project. I have delivered all the material and there's nothing more to do now other than watching other people doing their jobs.

I can finally start to focus on myself. What do I now need? Can I go back to the osteopath and sort out my back? Can I go back to the gym and lose the two stone in weight I've put on in the last four months! Do I need a holiday? The answer to all questions is yes.

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