Monday, 31 October 2016

NYMT 40th

A very proud man went to sleep last night after watching the cast of Brass absolutely acing it at the NYMT's 40th anniversary West End gala. The show happened at the Adelphi theatre and I'd written a special medley version of Barnbow Lassies and You'll Always Have a Friend. Because I couldn't help myself, I added a little chorus of Billy Whistle at the end. I was glad I'd thrown a blast of that particular song into the mix because, as the melody started up, the couple sitting in front of me exchanged approving glances in that "ooh, we like this one don't we" sort of way.

The cast performed wonderfully well, the segment went down a storm with a riotous audience response, and I felt like the proudest Dad in the world, in fact I got really emotional. I hadn't been in any of the rehearsals so was touched and thrilled to see that nearly every single one of this year's Hackney Empire cast had turned up to be part of the occasion. Even the actors who weren't on stage when the two songs happened in the actual show had learned the choreography and were giving it everything. The entire cast shone. Literally glowed like little beacons of light. Total professionals.

I realised last night how blessed I feel to have had my show performed by two remarkable casts. Genuinely special young people. I walked away from the evening feeling sure that, in ten years time, at the NYMT's 50th celebration, it would be members of the two Brass companies who would be famous actors sending messages of support to the NYMT from theatres and film sets around the world. What a fabulous thought.

I'd written a little brass fanfare to kick the show off, which didn't quite seem to go to plan. One of the trumpeters was missing from the line up, some of the players were a bit nervy and the decision to place four of the trumpeters in the royal boxes lead to everything getting a bit out of time and imbalanced volume-wise, which was a slight shame. But it was what it was, and I was proud to be having a premiere of sorts. 

It was a proper misty, moisty day in North London yesterday. I think someone must have told nature that the clocks had gone back because we got a thoroughly Autumnal Hallowe'enesque display. There were spiders' webs almost everywhere with dew dripping from them like precious jewels. It's the time of year when the giant the spiders appear. I love spiders. Nathan and I encourage them as much as we can. They catch and eat all the horrible creatures that we hate.

We walked up to my new favourite cafe in the grounds of Alexandra Palace, the one where they play opera music really loudly. The mist was thick, and had wrapped itself around all the trees in the park like ghostly grey chiffon scarves. I had a toastie and Nathan had pumpkin soup, which he proudly ate whilst wearing his hand-knitted pumpkin hat.

The mist makes everything seem that little bit more significant and mystical somehow. Sitting on one of the dustbins in the park was a piñata in the shape of a dog. On a normal day, I might have merely assumed someone had had a Hallowe'en party for children and thrown the piñata away afterwards, but in all that mist, it took on a sinister, somewhat supernatural quality. Like someone had left it there as a warning of some sort!

The other thing about foggy days is that sound travels in very unusual ways. There was a classic sports car show going on at the Palace, and periodically, we'd hear the sound of a roaring engine shooting out of the gloom. Somewhere else - probably at least a mile away - a rugby game was happening. The sound was so clear, however, that the match could have been happening just the other side of the trees.

We met Brother Edward, Sascha and the parents in town for a bite to eat before the show. The mist had cleared a little and there was a pink, smokey sunset which gave central London a sort of New Yorky vibe. A great day.

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