Waiting in the wings for my big moment, dressed in knight’s armour and pantaloons, the nerves ahead of my West End debut began to take hold.
On Tuesday night I had been invited to play Sir-Not-Appearing in the Monty-Python-inspired Spamalot, at the Playhouse Theatre in London. As the character’s name might suggest, he is not supposed to be in the play at all. So when he does show up with the other knights, he has to say “Sorry!” and exit the stage.
Simple stuff, I thought as the night approached. But it turns out that if enough people ask if you are nervous, you start to worry that that maybe you should be worried.
The possibilities of what could go wrong skip through your mind, like what if I impale a fellow cast-member with one of these swords everyone’s carrying around? What if I suddenly and temporarily develop the symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome? What if my trousers melt under the harsh stage lights?
Actually, were any of those things to really occur, then the anarchic Spamalot would probably be the best place for them.
Fortunately I was not on the stage long enough for any of those things to happen. And my brief moment under the lights was such fun that I considered staying on longer: breaking into song; doing “jazz hands” or segueing into an observational routine on life as a knight “funny thing happened on the way to the blacksmith...”
But I wouldn’t want to worry my wife and parents in the audience that I was going to trade in one precarious profession (journalism) for an even more precarious one (acting).
Anyway, even if I wanted to, I’m not sure I’d keep up with Stephen Tompkinson and the rest of his talented cast, whose show off extraordinary levels of energy they ran on and off stage, singing, dancing and switching more costumes that Lady Gaga on International Fancy-Dress Day.
My one-line delivered, I watched second half from the comfort of the stalls. The audience were enthralled, making me even more proud to have been a part of it, and idly dreaming of doing it again sometime.
But for my next go, I’d like my name in lights. And I’ve always liked the idea of Broadway....