There was a horrible burning smell at Highgate tube this morning. I have no idea what it was, but it royally gave me the collywobbles. I think all Londoners have the right to feel a little jumpy at the moment. We've not had a good run of it of late.
...So we are two shows down now with four to go. I can't think what I'll do with myself when it's all over. I think last night was was fairy typical second night show. Nothing awful happened, but the cast were a tiny bit under-energised after the adrenaline injection of the first night which followed a day of rehearsals. An actor has to sort of psych his or her way back into performance mode when he's effectively had a day off.
There were some wonderful moments. In some cases the cast are literally ripping themselves apart for the pleasure of the audience. Because they're often less than a metre away from audience members, this can be a hugely exciting experience.
The response from the crowd was great. I had a lot of people in. Jake and Pippa, Michael and his crew, Matt Lucas, Anthony, Little Michelle and her dad, Julie, Sam, Nathan... the large numbers of friends abs colleague who are attending this show has made me feel very loved. I'm a little disappointed more producers and artistic directors haven't come, however. I hear time and time again from industry stalwarts that no one is putting on good, or innovative musical theatre, but they entirely base their remarks on the lamentable trash that's presently happening in the West End. It's incredibly depressing. I'm not trying to claim that Em is the greatest new musical of the 21st Century (it's the second best, after Brass) but I do feel it at least deserves to be seen! One of the problems with UK producers these days is that it always has to be their idea.
My prediction is that today's matinee will be good and that tonight's show will properly take off as the cast begin to find their feet.
I once worked with a director who believed the optimum performance in a show's run is the 40th. Up until this point everyone is learning the show and discovering what works, and beyond then, things begin to go stale. I think perhaps there's mileage in the idea. There's nothing worse than watching a long running show when it feels like actors are phoning their performances in.
Right. Back to the grindstone.