Here we go again!

I always like an early start. This morning it was 3.30am so an early start to the day as well as an early start to the season. An 11.00 am show at the Savoy Theatre in Monmouth so three hours through the murk of the Marches and a traditional breakfast in Monmouth Wetherspoons before getting in. The get in. That's what it's called in the theatre. Lumping all the props in. Setting up.

The Savoy Theatre in Monmouth is a traditional Victorian (built 1859) music hall theatre and it's a great place to perform in. Slightly faded, slightly delapidated but oozing show business atmosphere. Reminds me of when I joined Salisbury Playhouse (the old theatre) fresh faced from drama school thinking I was Gods gift to the acting profession. More about that another day maybe.  No hot shower though which I had been looking forward to, but there was hot water in the dressing room so not so bad.  A raked stage proved challenging for the chair balance.  A rake is a slight slope towards the audience.  It makes the whole business of presenting the show easier with a raked stage, but the chair balance is much harder on a slope.  Never mind it was fine and apart from a couple of juggling drops (not enough practice recently) the show went well. About 150 people, mostly families with small children so it was a bit of a struggle choosing the right boy for the finger chopping routine.  The boy I picked was too young really but there was no choice. He did well until the very last moment before he had a wobble of terror.  I can’t blame him.  He thought he was about to lose his finger in a bizarre public ritual.  His mother hadn’t warned him! He will never go to the theatre again.  He will have a life-long phobia of magicians and theatres.  No it wasn’t quite as bad as that.  I made sure he was ok and came round and came back at the end of the show for his prize.  A finger chopper trick.  And he and his mum were smiling so it was all ok in the end.  Fingers crossed! The boy who sat on my shoulders for the unicycle finale was superb and had the whole place in hysterics.

After the show I packed the props away in the car when the guy who owned the sandwich bar next to the theatre came up.  I thought he was going to tell me off for parking in front of his shop, but no it turns out he and his daughter were in the audience, loved the show and would I like a free lunch?  I had a delightful home made veggie quiche with salad, a lovely cup of tea and a chat.  So thanks to David in his place next door to the theatre in Church Street.  If you go visit and say hello from me.

The show really hurt though!  The first one of the season always does.  The journey back from Monmouth saw me trying to shift around in the car seat to ease the pain of the muscle cramps and aches. My own fault of course for not exercising, training, practicing or even really thinking about the show in January and February.  I’ve made another resolution though.  I’m going to train in March.  I’ve opened up the stage in the workshop and will use the space for a daily workout.  I know that if I don’t, come May when the season really kicks off I will be really suffering. 

The man from the garage came to look at my broken clutch on the lorry and we have a plan, so all being well that will be mended too in time for the start proper.  All the props and flats are out of the trailer and spread round the workshop for renovation and repainting.  A long annual job but it does mean that everything will look good for Llandudno.  And there’s the final build of the new illusion to think about.  The materialising motorbike illusion.  More about that later too.

This afternoon I’m off to Shrewsbury to meet the organiser of the Shrewsbury Flower Show.  I’m there with the stage in August this year for the first time.  I performed there a few years ago but just mixing and mingling so it will be good to be there with the full rig.  Lovely event and a lovely town.  I’m looking forward to it, and, as I hope you can tell, the winter blues have all but gone as the new season can be seen coming up over the horizon with the spring sun.

All the best from a road near you,

Mr Alexander
Mr Alexander