A rather belated report on the two brief runs of The Dress Circle for which I must apologise, particularly considering the song and dance I made about it before it opened. It was a mixed experience but the mix contained far more good than bad. I handed the script over to the director last year, and to the actress who was to perform it earlier this year. Then I walked away. My work was done. So on the opening night in London I had no idea what I was going to see.
My nerves, jitters, fears, doubts and uncertainties disappeared within fifteen minutes. They had done a great job and the script worked. Well, most of it did. There were a few jokes that always fell flat, so they were excised before we transferred to Brighton. The most surprising thing for me was the moment when I was moved to tears. ‘How can this be?’ I thought. ‘I wrote the damned line.’ Well, that’s theatre for you.
And the negatives? I think the Q&A panel after one of the shows was a mistake. When a play is over the audience don’t want a discussion, they want dinner. Also, with the exception of one full house we played to very small audiences. I don’t know how actors do it. It must be so dispiriting to come out onto the stage and see just your Aunt Gladys and a man who’s come in out of the rain. I had the option – though I never exercised it – of slipping away and going to the pub, but Sian Hawthorn couldn’t. Whatever the turnout she gave it her all. I take my hat off to her.
You can hear a brief and extremely impromptu after-show interview with the pair of us here .