We continue to kick Dream in to shape.
Me and Rowan do our corruption strip which looks great as the smoke machine pumps away with Dick Johnson’s brilliant lighting. Rowan sings ‘He was Despised’ like a choir boy, whilst I exit stage left at 100 miles per hour to jump out of my fishnets and change into the star costume which has been set earlier backstage. I cover myself in baby oil and glitter, light a sparkler, (no strict fire regulations back in the day) meanwhile the backstage techies like to look on whilst this all takes place…
I dash round the entire theatre having made sure earlier that no doors will be locked so I can make an entrance from back of auditorium. I rush headlong through the audience towards the stage with sparkler on fire, whilst Rowan sings ‘I see a star’ Olly is waiting for me on stage with Dave the cockeral to lift me on to the trapeze. This it’s done & dusted in about 3 mins, and coincides with the doves being let free and (hopefully!) landing on Roderic.
Sheila backstage with tutu
We do both shows, An Die Musik & The Dream. An Die Musik still packs a punch where ever we go, you love it or you hate it. We all stay in same B & B usually for a week. Occasionally the owner will ask if he can come and see the show. So the owner and his wife turn up to see An Die Musik thinking they are going to see a proper play with words and acting. We all got our notes next morning as he served us breakfast and we all sniggered in to our eggs and bacon. This man did NOT like this show, and as for you, he said pointing at me ….. you look better with your clothes ON ! …… That has to be the worst review I ever did have. He was right but he didn’t have to tell me.
An Die Musik is equivocally my most terrifying theatrical experience – Robert Cushman 1975
The boys play football in Sheffield, this is Pete
If more than 2 members of the company are reading the same book, you can bet your life its because it may be the next show (we have to prepare for next year!) Here Ben and Rod are both reading Billy Bud in the back of the van, so Roderic must be driving. So Billy Bud is on the agenda. Ben would make a beautiful Bud, after all he has just finished playing Rocky in the Rocky Horror Show. Both Rod and Ben have the gift of being able to blow, strum or bang any instrument and make it sound good. Rowan and Pete on vocals, Chris moog and piano & Emil on gun (prop). Me, Roderic and Olly make other noises. Olly is Peter Oliver, ‘father of the fringe’, founder of The Oval House and good at playing the frail old man even though he was only 40 and fitter than the rest of us.
Ben Bazell, Rod Beddall back of the touring van reading Billy Bud
Roderick was born to play the Ridiculous Man with his silly grin and bambi eyes, he gets good reviews. We practice our Tai Chi to make it perfect, we practice the songs and we all love doing ‘Corruption’ I tripped over the coffin last night, the coffin turns up in most of the shows, this one is covered in tin foil to make it shimmer.
Peter Ansorge: review: Plays and Players, Oval House 1976 …The Ridiculous Man ( Roderic Leigh ) is saved by a vision of Paradise just at the moment he is contemplating suicide. Leigh complete with nightcap and a terrorised gaze, confronts death in the murderous shape of a gigantic Emil Wolk on stilts-who ragingly insists that both actor and audience face complete dispare and self destruction with a traumatic Nietzshean drive and panache. Leigh eventually crucifies himself against a meccano cross with a smile of delighted doomed glee. Chris Jordan’s score is conceived as nothing less than a complete rock opera, it contributes a major part to the success of the piece …….
Robert Cushman : review: The Observer 1975 .. In the middle of the dream, blending wit and enchantment, is the most idyllic tableau to be found on the London stage: a Polynesian paradise, represented by palm, bare breasted girls, a couple of doves, a fruit vendor & zany but harmonious additions, an old man knitting in a deck chair and a live chicken. The scene of course is created only to be destroyed would be fair enough except that the cynicism is cranked up in excess of the situation.
Roderic and Rowan-Bourge Cathedral
And now we pack the van and off to Europe
All photos © Sheila Burnett