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Edinburgh - 9 January
01/10/11 @ 04:03:48 am, Categories: General, 563 words   English (US)

We are quite used to the Saturday being the last day of performances. So it was a nice change (apart from Cardiff) to have a Sunday matinee. A much better feeling to be seeing it again on Sunday.

The stage door was something to be seen. After Edinburgh the cast will have a week off. So you can imagine they wanted to make the most of it, meaning almost everyone went home straight after the show. It was amazing to see all the luggage that was involved. Tiny girls with positively enormous luggage. Poor things. One dancer even arrived with her own radiator. Amazing.

As this was supposed to have been Michael’s last night as Edna (until he added Bristol and Wimbledon) we knew it would be very crowded and it was. Mind you, not as bad as we initially expected.

Michael arrived rather late, got out of the car, smiling at the gathered crowd, saying “Now, is this a good time to announce I’m not finishing in Bristol and there’s another 7 venues?". You should have seen the faces and hear the strangled noises! Everyone was struggling with the urge to shout NOOOOOOOO! He had SUCH a laugh but was just kidding of course.

He was really good and took some time to get inside. Once he was in we left for a final hot chocolate in our usual haunt and the time flew by. None of us could believe it would be our last show out of 9! Incredible how this week just went.

The show itself was a joy to behold (as it would be). During Mama I’m I Big Girl Now Tracy got a bit overenthusiastic and accidentally nearly slapped Edna. You could tell Laurie was killing herself laughing whenever she wasn’t singing, also during the scene at the record shop Link nearly missed catching Edna’s earrings, went after them in a hurry and nearly fell. Off stage we could see the conductor laugh throughout. They have little cameras and monitors installed so that he can see what goes on in the wings and they can see what he does to get their cues. We think they must have held messages in the camera as he kept looking at the monitors and chuckling. At one point he himself held a note into the camera that read Dancers Go Home! LOL

The cast got a good send off we think. We had experienced more eager audiences but it was good fun and they got a massive cheer and standing ovation at the end.

Stage door afterwards was busy as it would be. Everyone got to say their good byes and off he walked into the sunset - or rather the cold, cold night up a steep slope.

It is a weird thought that the next time we will see Hairspray there will be only three performances left until it’s bye bye to Edna forever (well, for the time being, we are positive it will not be forever actually).

We had a lovely dinner with friends and then saw The King’s Speech. Fantastic movie!! Very impressive acting.

After that we joined Joan and Faye in their hotel room and once again wouldn’t leave until they made us. Thanks to you girls for your patience and hospitality all week. It was such fun!

The bags are packed, skies are grey…and off we hop.

Edinburgh - 8 January
01/09/11 @ 04:08:58 am, Categories: General, 628 words   English (US)

We had snow! We are almost afraid to admit that as people obviously had problems with travel etc. but we really had hoped for a bit of mild snow as we simply knew Edinburgh would look amazing in snow and it does! On our way to early morning shopping we had to stop several times to take photos of the Old Town (which is on a forma volcano, meaning above the newer bits) looking very romantic. Especially the castle.

Anyways, we got to the stage door in time. There were more fans than in the last few days but considering this was the last Saturday it was quite empty down there. Many had apparently sold their tickets on as it now wasn’t his last week. It was a joy as always to see him arrive and do his bit while we all did our bit (he signs, we swoon). We then passed the time till curtain up in our usual café and actually they could have charged us for the view that day. It’s situated right at the exit driveway of a shopping centre and apparently the road that lead out of the centre and onto the main road was covered in ice…it also is quite steep (we are in Edinburgh after all). So you could see cars sliding down every now and then. It was always a bit of a shock when some drove with neck breaking speed regardless of the street conditions, it has to be said. Those ended up sliding down sideways. But it was only a small part of the street that was really bad. So thankfully nothing happened and we did keep in mind to only cross the street when there were no cars in sight.

The Matinee was madness, not with regard to what happened on stage. Everything was business as usual on that front (meaning nothing went wrong, everyone was energetic and enthusiastic as always) but the audience was really…shall we say into it? They certainly loved every second of it but towards the end it was a bit like being in panto! When Penny’s mum makes her way through the audience some woman shouted “She (Penny) is behind you!” But it was good fun and the roar of applause in the end gave everyone such a buzz. It was wonderful. Another reason why we wanted to see Hairspray in Scotland. Brilliant audiences all week.

Stage door in between shows was a bit weird as it was only “the usual suspects”, no audience member who just wanted their progamme signed or something. So it was a quick one for him.

The evening show was fabulous. Audience reactions were great, everyone on stage was really giving it their all…. The perfect theatre evening.

A bit more crowded afterwards at the stage door but not much. The slope downwards had been cleared and so a few more fans had braved the decent. He was very good, signing away and then told us all how the cast were having a bit of a party in the pub and could we please respect their privacy and so on. Yes sure, we all said – and later learned that nevertheless some followed Michael up the street and inside the pub. Why, oh why would you do that?
We had a lovely after show party ourselves…without the Ball but with good friends in a hotel room being up till 2 am. Then had to walk home to our own hotel and to bed around 4 am. The alarm clock wasn’t our best friend this morning! Ugh.

So here we are, our final show for four months. We will only be back for the final three performances in Bristol. We will keep you posted.

Edinburg - 7 January
01/08/11 @ 04:39:32 am, Categories: General, 240 words   English (US)

Greetings from snowy Edinburgh!

After a day of sightseeing and moderate shopping (luggage weight restrictions are a pain!)we met with our little group of fans and had a lovely pre-stage door meal. A mere coincidence (well, the price of the buffet went up after 5 pm) got us to the stage door rather early and we prepared for a long, long wait in the cold. But a mere 10 minutes passed and here he was. On foot again. Had a quick chat (only six of us, so no photos, sorry) and off we all went.

When it was time to walk up to the theatre it had started snowing! huge flakes, really romantic.

We sat on the very end of the front row and on the not-Michael side. This side of the stage was where Hairspray had started for us so it was quite nostalgic actually.

The audience loved it, but wasn’t quite as loud as the night before. That had been special, really.

Only three of us braved the snowy slope down to the stage door afterwards (it wasn’t that bad really, fresh snow has lots of grip. Michael was out first of the cast! Quick good nights and the hint that everybody else was waiting at the top of the hill. No problem for the lovely Audi so everyone up there got their wave and good night as well. :-)

Now off into the snow for two shows today.

Edinburgh - 6 January
01/07/11 @ 04:37:57 am, Categories: General, 315 words   English (US)

Yesterday was the first day without a matinee so that meant we managed a bit of sightseeing and shopping, paying a visit to the Royal Mile etc. The weather was glorious, blue skies, not too chilly.

We had a lovely meal with Joan and Faye (these poor things really cannot escape us this week!) and then went back to the stage door (as you do). It being winter means it is dark outside by 5 o’clock. Hence there are only a few photos. You don’t want to flash him too much. The little group of us formed him a guard of honor and he quite enjoyed that. We all had a laugh. We tried to get some tour info, but oh no, he couldn’t be persuaded.

The show did get a stunning reception. Really enthusiastic audience, hysterical laughter all around us. It was great!

Afterwards they did open the fire exits and leaving the building took only a few minutes and was not traumatic for once. Yay! A little group had gathered at the stage door. There was no car waiting for him so naturally we had a moment of panic, but no, he didn’t leave via another exit. All was well. Took his time with us all and told the small gathering that even now, after all the publicity Hairspray has had, there had been a stunning 17 people at Southampton who complained that Michael Ball was not in the show!! Imagine that! He is on every poster! Also someone commented on his beautiful legs and oh yes, he knows! (You could guess I think by the amount of leg Edna shows off…)

He then took off on foot.

Another day of sightseeing for us (we intend to do a bus tour – now that was a really interesting bit of information, ey? Sorry) before we do it all over again. Talk soon!

Edinburg - 5 January
01/06/11 @ 06:06:32 am, Categories: General, 365 words   English (US)

Here we are with our second day at Hairspray and our second consecutive matinee day. This meant we were back at the stage door around noon, again having a lovely time with fan friends. No rain, no snow. All was well. Despite a few autograph hunters present the stage door war another relaxed affair. He caught us out on not having listened properly to the new Asians/agent line due to laughing too loud at the time. So stage door was a laugh.

Back at the theatre we started feeling for the cast. 4 shows in two days must be extremely exhausting. The show went smoothly but the audience reaction was a bit slow we felt. Standing ovation took a long time coming. Didn’t stop us though.

As usual it was a question of grabbing some food in between shows and heading back to the theatre. Matinee days mean you do not really see much of your surroundings sadly. But that’s what we have planned for today (Thursday) and Friday.

The audience for the evening show was much more lively. No glitches until we got to You Can’t Stop The Beat when Mr Spritzer offers Velma a new job and completely forgot all the wonderful benefits he offers her. It was good fun for the audience. Great reception and well-deserved standing ovation at the end.

One has to say that vacating the theatre after the shows is a nightmare. There are fire exit right to the stage door or the other side of the building. But they rarely open these. So some 3000 people have to squeeze their way back up to the main doors. This takes aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaages. You do not want to contemplate what would happen if a panic broke out….

Anyways, we finally made it down to the stage door and Andrew told the waiting fans Michael would have to leave in a hurry. Well, as usual this did not work as people still needed things signed and photos to be taken….

So today is one show only (feels weird to still be at the hotel and not on the way to the stage door!) and we will report back tomorrow morning.

Edinurgh - 4 January 2011
01/05/11 @ 05:59:12 am, Categories: General, 901 words   English (US)

Edinburgh – 4 January 2011

For some time we all believed Edinburgh would be Michael’s last venue of the Hairspray tour. Therefore we planned to stay a week for once. Usually it’s extended weekends for us. But this is Edinburgh – our second favourite place in the UK.
In the meantime of course he has extended and will be doing Wimbledon and Bristol as well. But seeing that we had plenty of front row seats and it was Edinburgh we did not think long about changing plans. So here we were after an uneventful journey. The second we got off the bus we knew we had made the right decision to come and see Edinburgh in winter. There is a fun fair all around Princes Gardens, the trees a beautifully decorated and we even had a bit of snow. Magical.
We arrived on Monday evening (very relaxing to arrive on a day when there is no show on, no rush) and decided to go to the cinema. We went to the one just adjacent to The Playhouse (where Hairspray is running). And guess who greeted us on the glass front of the VUE cinema: Edna, Tracy, Link, Motormouth and Wilbur printed a lot larger-than-life on the glass front. Really impressive and of course we will take some photos and post them. Brian Conley’s Edna dress is on display as well.
We saw Burlesque by the way. Stunning dance scenes, great soundtrack. Go see it, if you get the chance.
Due to the holiday season Hairspray does have 9 shows this week. A really tough schedule (we actually thought we got the schedule wrong on the website until we got to booking tickets).
The stage door was a pleasant affair (it’s sheltered by other houses so NO wind!!). Just a hand full of fans and we had a great time chatting to everyone. Michael arrived eventually and wished us all a happy new year. He told us all he had had a magical festive season and that Edinburgh is the second place in the UK where he would consider living at (man of good taste obviously! We had a laugh and said that’s what we were always saying, too). Apparently they had struggled with cast members falling ill and at one point there were 9 original cast members off sick! “There was only one black boy in the whole of Baltimore!” is how Michael put it.
After that we grabbed a hot chocolate nearby (poor Joan and Fay, they could not get rid of us all day…).
When it was time to take our seats for the matinee it was so wonderful to be back in a proper theatre again. It felt just like home (the Shaftesbury). The playhouse is all plush and dark red, also you are very close to the stage. We all felt a bit nostalgic.
The show was great as ever. Michael was on such a high, whatever he had taken we want some of it. He really enjoyed himself. There were some glitches and as we learned later a bit was changed. When Tracy is back home and receives the call from Mr. Pinky with the offer to become his spokes person, she says “I am very flattered , but all business must go through my agent” Edna now says “I don’t know any Asians. There’s a nice Samoan family down the road.” Well we were killing ourselves laughing and then we thought it was a glitch, but it appeared again during the night performance and Laurie (Tracy) later said they changed that and she was doubtful it would work.
Apart from that nothing really has changed and as already mentioned we were lucky enough to have just one boy off. Everyone else was there although some of the cast are suffering from end of flu symptoms.
It’s a bit annoying to get out of the theatre. The theatre holds something around 3000 people and all have to exit through one and the same exit. So it takes ages to get out of there. But we made it eventually, risked the steep climb down to the stage door (glad it’s not freezing) and he did come out to sign stuff and have his picture taken (which is when we took the photos on the website, no chance with the arrival stage door as we were only 5 fans there).
We had lovely company to pass the time until the evening show would start.
Again Michael was having a blast. The Asians stayed with us, as mentioned beforehand. The only glitch happened at the beginning of Scatter Dodge Ball. The teacher usually blows a whistle, but as that still hung around her neck she threw a raspberry instead. Again much to our laughter.
The stage door was quite fun, with much chatting to friends. Then Michael emerged and something happened we never ever experienced at a stage door: It was absolutely quiet! You actually had the urge to whisper, like in a library! The quietest autograph signing ever.
Mr Ball than gave us all a royal wave from a very nice car and (after making a derisive sound along the lines of “ugh” on learning we were staying at a low price hotel chain – cheeky!) disappeared into the night.
And now we are almost on our way back to the theatre , another matinee and other evening show. Yay!


January 2011
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