During the interval members of the cast of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” were discussing the audience reaction thus far. “Did you hear that woman cackling at the jokes?” one asked.
My lovely granddaughter Hazel (Bagel), starring as sassy Dorothy Shaw in a role made famous by the legendary Jane Russell, had to explain that it was, in fact, her Nanna.
Also known as Yours Truly. I really do have a dreadful laugh - Macbeth’s three witches have absolutely nothing on me…
As regular readers know only
too well, I can’t bear missing out on anything important where my family is concerned. Hazel’s big third year production on the stage at Arts Ed’s Andrew Lloyd Webber theatre in Chiswick was just such an occasion. One way or another, I just
had to be there.
Obtaining a ticket turned out to be the easiest part of the challenge - Hazel secured a number of tickets for friends and family while her proud
mamma made sure I wouldn’t miss out. Finding someone to keep Mr B company while I was away, answering to his every need and keeping him in food (his main interest in life, after Tottenham Hotspur football club) could have been more tricky. Step forward
the Really Rather Wonderful Rosalie, who can’t help me out with weekend live-in care anymore but was only too pleased to do a mid-week stint for me. What’s more, she was more than happy to accompany Mr B to his Sporting Memories meeting on Thursday
morning. You can’t imagine how grateful I was to her for going the “extra mile”; it didn’t seem fair that Mr B should miss out on his favourite weekly meeting because I was off on a Jolly Outing of my own.
Then there was the decision about travel. To drive, or not to drive, that was the question. I could have let the train take the strain (as those old-time adverts suggested) but the journey seemed more
tortuous and lengthy than I remembered. My car (the Grand Old Lady) had recently undergone extensive transplant surgery (aka a new battery and alternator) but really needed a long run to keep her in tip top physical condition. My confidence as a driver had
taken a few knocks while she was having periodic tantrums before her surgery; a long drive on a route I knew well might be just the answer. Another decision taken.
Then disaster almost struck. My mobile phone informed me that I had been “in close contact” with someone testing positive for Covid. Being fully jabbed and boostered, I didn’t need to self-isolate but I did need to take lateral flow
tests for the next seven days - right up to the day I was to leave for my Jolly Jaunt. I immediately decided I was feeling proper poorly and that all my careful planning would come to nothing. I went to bed that night and didn’t sleep a wink, so convinced
was I that my outing was, in those immortal words of Private James Frazier of Dad’s Amy fame, “doomed!”
The next morning, and every morning
hence, my test was reassuringly negative. It was, however, touch and flow as far as I was concerned.
All that was behind me as I took my seat in the theatre yesterday
evening. We were a merry group of fans - ten of us in all, including the proud parents, my Little Sister and her Fella and lots of supportive, long-time friends who remember Hazel from her earliest forays onto a theatrical stage. For Saturday’s last
night performance, no fewer than twenty family and friends will cheer our girl on. A local hostelry has offered free Prosecco for the family and friends of cast members - do they really know, I asked my granddaughter, just how much support she will have?
What a talented bunch, these third year Arts Ed students are! And what a brilliant production in which to showcase their talents; every cast member having an opportunity
to shine through their singing, dancing and / or acting. A special shout out to Hazel’s lovely friends Teddy, calling on her inner Marilyn Monroe, and Antony proving that carrots are a far more interesting vegetable than you ever imagined (sorry, you
needed to be there!) Well done to the director for bringing out the best in them all.
Nobody, of course, shone more brightly than my Golden Girl as far as
I was concerned. One of her big song and dance numbers early in the performance started “I love what I’m doing / and I’m doing it for love!”
Watching her make the stage her own, as always, I couldn’t help thinking: “How very, very true!”
Shine on, my Golden Girl!