Relaxation And Reflection

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Relaxing has always been a difficult state of mind for me but over the years, as I approach a certain age - my close friends will tell you I have been 30 for ever and even they don't really know how old I am - I am increasingly throwing caution to the wind and appreciating holiday/vacation time. Over the past five years since meeting my partner, we have enjoyed many glorious late-summer trips to the south of France.

I can often been found relaxing on a sun lounger, reading scripts for my forthcoming projects, and downing a giraffe, sorry, carafe, of rose wine. The past two years I have regressed and even purchased a bucket and spade. I've even found myself competing in sandcastle-'offs' with groups of small children as I build a moat, a bailey and a magnificent castle towering alongside the colourful parasols. Yes I am seven again - if a rather hairy seven-year-old. My sun-creamed hirsute body glistens on the beach and I wear my white chapeau with a stripe of sparkle around the brim - not camp at all, more Jane Birkin if you get my drift. You can take the showbiz away from the girl, but you can't take showbiz out of the girl.

Under the influence of the bright sunshine of the Cote D'Azur my mind reflects on my life thus far personal and professional: past challenges, decisions to be made, what the future will bring and what lies ahead in this crazy monde we call spectacle (in French).

I think it's fair to say in all our lives we don't necessarily have regrets but what-ifs. Listening to the soothing sound of the Med's waves tickling the pebble beach, one gently reflects. This period of time for me is actually more beneficial mentally for making changes in my life than, say, New Year's Eve. To be more focused, to stay truthful to my being and my creative desires, and to push the boundaries a little further each time; but above all to embrace and enjoy the sometimes random nature of my current career path - for the next six months at least.

Because in no time at all, I will be stepping off a plane back to the long dark days of London's autumn. After one day at home I'll be boarding the train to Hereford for this year's Pantomime Press Launch - yes, only nine weeks till rehearsals commence. Then back to the Big Smoke for auditions and rehearsals for Howard Goodall's dark and disturbing musical "Days of Hope" that I shall be directing in late September.

On top of that, after a six-year absence I shall be returning to don my hosting duties on Sunday afternoons at Cabaret in The House in Highgate's LauderDale House, with fantastic artists such as Summer Strallen, Kim Ismay and Wendi Peters. Come and join us!

Boo! Before you know it it's Halloween, for which I devise and direct a site-specific theatrical spooky walk, as over 150 children descend on Lauderdale House like a gathering of small goblins. Another quick transformation and it's time to get filthy and dirty for the outrageous Royal Vauxhall Tavern, directing their annual adult pantomime.

My alarm clock will then go off at 5am the next day to hopefully get me up to make an early journey back to Hereford for my fourth year performing panto there. It's time once again to glue on me lashes, attach me false bum and strap on me big boobies for the Christmas period and 70-odd shows later it will all seem like a dream or nightmare, depending on how you look at it.

Back home for just one week and then it's bye-bye London again as I head upt-north to The University of Cumbria in Carlisle to direct one of my favourite shows, Sweeney Todd. I am sure I will be back to all me old haunts there in no time at all - Outrageous, Number 3 Guest House and not forgetting Gala Bingo. Swing Your Razor Wide, Sweeney.

Before we know it, it's the end of February 2014. And that's without mentioning my two live radio shows - The Curtain Up Show on Resonance and Sunday Brunch on Jemm 3, which I will try my best to still present through all this chaotic time.

So it's almost time to lay down my bucket and spade by the calming Med for the next six months of theatrical whirlwinds around the UK.

Au revoir, mes amis !



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