Guest Blog: On Showbiz - And Being 'Stagey'
My relaxing, recharging break under the warm blue Spanish skies is sadly over. Returning to the UK was a shock to the system to say the least. On our arrival Britain was basking under, well, not blue skies but horrible grey, dark skies and London was covered in a thick blanket of snow. BRRR. Leaving the tube, suitcases full of new purchases, it started to snow, what a greeting! My left wheel on my suitcase had broken so as I dragged it along it gathered mountains of snow, leaves, rubbish, dogs and small children.
I arrived home and it was straight back into the world of showbiz: unpacked, changed and grabbed a sandwich and was out of the door before you could say, "There's no place like home."
The comedy group I have been directing, Vocalarity, were performing at St James Theatre and I have not seen them perform since pre-pantomime. The first half, Life in The Middle Class Lanes, was excellent, the second, Spin The Wheel, their new show, needs some work but was a brave and bold piece and has huge potential. They are going to be huge! They are original, fun, dynamic and all have individual personalities and strong voices. It's a joy as a director to work with them and see how they have grown in the past six months. Directing a small group is like having a garden - you have to water them, take care of them and watch them grow.
The next day began with a bit of a panic! The cabaret season at LauderDale House - which features an array of West End starlets I had programmed before going away to Spain - went a little haywire. Well, one of my acts had landed a lucrative UK tour and was unable to perform their allocated Sunday in February. So there I was going thorough my address book (then I closed it again as everyone in there were relatives or people I had slept with) then I opened my performers' contact list between various meetings, trying to find a suitable replacement.
I tried at least five shining beacon performers and alas, alack, no-one was available. So a phone call to the producer and the only person available to perform 45 minutes of songs was your good old self Mr McArthur. So on Sunday February 17 I am performing Sunday in The Park with Tim, a tribute to Mr Sondheim himself, and guesting for me is my dear friend Ray Rackham from 2nd Company Productions who directed me as Sam Byck in Assassins last year. Just another show, another day, you know.
Not that I have lots to learn with launching my new comedy show McArthur's Parts on Feb 13, 14, 20, 21. This business is funny, isn't it? Sometimes you have no work and then all of a sudden it's manic- feast or famine. It's that interesting fact as well, as sometimes you have to say, "No, I am sorry can't do that." But then we always say "Yes" cause I suppose we love it so much, the costumes, the make-up...no, I am not going to break in to that well-known showbiz song. There's No Business like Show Business...OOPS...sorry.
I suppose deep down we all love not just the performing side of the business, but also the environment, atmosphere and the people we work with. Recently through the power of Twitter and the Book of Face the term "stagey" has become a word associated with our industry regarding the behaviour and attitude of professionals within the day to day running of our industry. I promised myself I would never use this word! However, I did have a very stagey day at The Stage Newspapers New Year Party held at the New London Theatre. It's a short event from midday till 3pm to guzzle down as much free shampoo as you can, and chat to and meet new professionals from all sides of the entertainment business. It is compulsory to wear a coloured badge you are given with your name on and job description for all to view. As the booze flows, the gossip heightens and the one thing people love to do is promote what they are doing with their showbiz lives.
I love this event and it is gorgeous to hang out and meet new interesting people who are all trying to survive in this ever changing, exciting, challenging, rewarding, fun business we call show...oh gawd here I go again..."There's no business like show business, like no business I know, everything about is appealing"...
Enough now...till the next time..."Curtain Up...Light the lights" - "Don't pop the head, Cassie!"