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Signs and Firsts - 18/09/2012
09/19/12 @ 03:48:41 am, Categories: General, 818 words   English (US)

At home we have one of these calendars where every week shows a different picture and you can rip them off and keep as postcards. For years we have this with photos of the UK naturally. And you know what the picture for this week was? “A pieshop in London”!! We are not making this up. Actually we almost collapsed with hysterical laughter when we tore off the picture of the previous week on Monday morning and texted each other about it. Surely this has to be a good sign?

So for our final trip to the demon Barber we had formed an ambitious plan: We wanted to arrive in time to see him leave on Monday. Seeing that our planes would leave Germany at 8pm and take an hour and a half to get to the UK this has never really worked out before. What we would need for this miracle to happen would be the perfect journey. No delays whatsoever - clear roads, punctual trains, a quick passport control, quick luggage reclaim, catch the earliest possible tube and hope for no delays en route. And guess what? It really happened! Never ever did we experience a journey as smooth as this! We were in the flow. It was almost spooky.

We couldn’t believe it when we turned into Maiden Lane (where the stage door is) with our luggage and everyone was still there, waiting patiently for the Ball. We said hello to our friends and joined the fans. It felt so good to be back and also surreal – one minute we are still all stressed out at the office and the next we are in London at the Adelphi. Just like that. It was lovely to see him again, looking yummy in jeans and a dark shirt. After he left we made plans for meetings with our friends and couldn’t stop grinning on our way back to the hotel. We were back. Life was good – as you can tell the finality of this week hasn’t yet sunk in.

So that was the first first. We made it to London in time for the leaving stage door.

The weather is lovely but chilly. Lots of sun though which suits us just fine. And we have amazing views from our room – we can see Tower Bridge and the Shard and are staying right next to the Shaftesbury Theatre where Hairspray played.

We got to the stage door with plenty of time to chat to friends and exchange the latest news – also we came prepared as we wanted to give Mr Ball his end-of-the-run pressies today instead of Saturday as it would be madness at the door then. When he finally arrived he was in great spirits, chatted away happily, posed for photos and signed stuff. He also got loads of early pressies and we felt bad for adding to his load of gift bags but he said we shouldn’t appologise for giving him presents! He also said he was so unsure whether the fans would embrace his career choice of playing a serial killer but was so happy we did – on an afterthought he added that we all coped fine with him being a mother of one, so why did he ever worry?

It felt like coming home when we took our seats in the stalls. But here goes the second first: we were freezing in the auditorium! The air condition was working overtime and we sat directly underneath the vents, we think. There was a constant cold draft and we had to put our jackets and scarfs back on in the interval! LOL this has never EVER happened before. Usually theatres are boiling hot.

But this did not mar the joy to behold the Demon Barber on his dark journey. Sweeney still does fly by far too quickly and we have to say that “Johanna” gets better every time we see it. He finds these long notes at places we would never expect them and it is such an impressive display of his enormous talent – how he can hold these notes every night (as our friends assured us he does) and still have a voice at the end of the week we will never know. Again we found numerous little changes in the acting that have happened after we left in July – they are still playing around with it, changing only subtleties but they do make a difference when you have seen the show several times. A wonderful performance from start to finish and another well-deserved standing ovation.

Stage door was relatively quiet as he had guests in and took a while to come out. Still he was every so patient with everyone and we had a lovely good night moment.

A wonderful first day.

Now we are off to get some breakfast before it starts all over again for the final Wednesday.


On the road with Michael Ball.
September 2012
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