Travel: Your Holiday Disaster - Actor Nick Asbury got caught without his costume during a tour of 'Henry V'
Sunday 21 February 1999
We had checked into a five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur and then gone to drink the night away beneath the majesty of the Petronas Towers, the tallest buildings in the world. I caught a taxi back to the hotel at 3am and, pleasantly woozy, went straight to my room, stripped off and fell into bed.
Then I did something I have never done in my life: I went for a walk in my sleep. I awoke in the corridor, facing the wall, having a pee into a plant pot. I'd obviously missed the bathroom door. Thinking, "That's odd, never done that before," but still half asleep, I pottered back to my room. I really woke up when I turned the knob. The door had closed and locked automatically behind me. I was standing on the 21st floor of a five-star hotel, locked out of my room, naked as the day I was born.
I would have to go to reception and ask them to let me back in. I walked to the lift and pressed the button. But as the indicator approached my floor, I panicked. Reception was bigger than most shopping malls. For me to go striding manfully across it, trying to fix the sniggering receptionist squarely in the eye, with my "largesse universal" swinging in the breeze, was not only unthinkable, but probably a criminal offence.
I hid around the corner as the lift pinged open. I couldn't go in there. What if someone got in? ("Morning, er, just going for a walk. You mean you don't do that in Malaysia? Oh my God!") Besides, it was lined with mirrors. Anyone getting on would think they had stumbled into an orgy.
I toyed with using the plant pot, Clouseau-like, to guard what was left of my manhood. But that seemed too ridiculous and, anyway, the pot was full to the brim. Then, inspiration. A couple of the company also had rooms on this corridor. But which ones? There was roughly a 50-50 chance.
I cannot tell you the courage it took to hammer on what could be a complete stranger's door at 4am completely naked. What if I made the wrong choice? They would come blinking to the door and their eyes would pop as they saw what confronted them. A quick slam of the door, a dash to the phone and security would be up in a second, wielding batons and handguns. I would be thrown into a cell, still with no clothes, and left to rot a la Midnight Express.
Worse still, what if a woman answered? The scream would wake the whole hotel. Everyone, including my colleagues, would see me in my shame being led off to have various appendages chopped off. And I know which one would be first.
To untold relief, I had chosen correctly. It was the room of David, a fellow actor. He opened the door. "Whaddya think you're ..." He too was naked. We stood looking at each other. "David," I said, after a while, "I'm in a bit of a pickle." He collapsed, laughing uncontrollably, and I ran into his room asking whether he had clothes I could borrow. But all his clothes were in the wash, and he could only loan me a pair of shorts and a fleece. A fleece? In Malaysia? I sauntered down to reception with a new-found confidence, and demurely asked to be let back into my room.
After a few questions to establish my true identity, and not a few questioning looks as to my attire, the assistant manager took me back upstairs and let me in, with me carefully ignoring, yet shielding, the plant pot in the corridor. I explained that I must have been sleepwalking (which is difficult to get over in the mixture of sign language and pidgin English we ridiculously use when abroad).
The show went well that week. But I'm sure on the opening night I saw a receptionist from the hotel in the audience, sniggering whenever I came on. One thing remains certain: someone on the 21st floor of a five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur was lucky not to get "A little touch of Harry in the night".
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