It’s a two-part blog today – part one is being written as I sit backstage at the Ustinov Studio alongside the Royal Theatre in Bath. While I have a little time before the show, I thought I’d tell you about Thursday’s show in Lancaster.
Firstly, let’s all just take a moment to honour the Lancaster Grand Theatre, which is indeed grand. It is also a theatre, and in Lancaster, so a tick in all boxes there. The staff were lovely and attentive, and informed me that the Lancaster Grand is in fact the longest continuously running theatre in Britain, having been erected in 17hundred and something.
The theatre even has its own resident ghost, with a painting in an alcove to remember her. I took a photo of the audience when I walked on stage to let you see how beautiful it is:
As I walked down the stairs to chat to the crowd I felt like an old time cabaret performer, crooning while descending a staircase, so I grabbed a guy in the front row to do the same, so he would know how I felt. He was a scientist, researching something to do with carbon, so I asked him to give us a scientific theory while descending the stairs. He did, and even gave the mic a bit of a twirl around his hand:
I found another man in the balcony by the name of Greg, and when I asked him what he did for a living, he told me he worked for a company that recycles phones for charity. His company is called SHP (Second Hand Phones), but when I asked him what other companies there are in the same field he replied “I could tell you their names, but then they get extra publicity, and that would be foolhardy”.
Greg thus became the first audience member I have ever met to use the word “foolhardy”
During the interval I tweeted for suggestions for a slogan for Greg’s company, with the clear winner being “Where phones that have lost their bling bling can ring ring the charity tin tin”. I promised Greg I would send my old phones to him, and I suggest you do the same.
I also tweeted for a message to put on the microphone stand which, it turns out, had been left behind the night before by English comedian Roy “Chubby” Brown. After a few attempts at being not too rude, we somehow ended up with “I is watching you, innit”.
I still don’t know why that was funny, but I wrote it on a piece of gaffer tape and stuck it to the mic stand, which will be delivered to Mr “Chubby” Brown on Monday for his Glasgow show.
Not only was I performing a night after Roy “Chubby” Brown, but I found out I was on the night before the blue-haired ladies’ favourite – Des O’Connor. I told an out-of-school story about how dark Des’ make up is (in order to make him looked tanned) and suggested we leave him a note backstage as well.
Unfortunately all the suggestions were about the fake colour of his skin, and included “The future’s bright, the future’s orange”, “You know when you’ve been Tangoed” and “You’re looking a bit pale”.
I have to admit that although I promised to post all three backstage, when it came time I actually thought I was being a bit, well, “deflating”, so I just left a note saying “To Des, lots of love from Adam Hills and his audience”. I hope he liked it.
Finally I have to give a shout out to a lady called Vicky, who tweeted before the show that she was taking her 14 year old niece Charlotte to her first ever stand up gig. Luckily, we were in a theatre with Royal boxes, and thankfully those boxes were empty, so I moved Chaz and her Uncle and Auntie to the box for the entire show:
After the show we sold t shirts to raise money for a much needed upgrade to the theatre, and I urge you – if you ever feel the need to support a beautiful piece of theatrical history, then the Lancaster Grand is the place to send your donations.
Thanks to all there for a wonderful night in a beautiful theatre. It was only afterwards as I trudged out into the carpark, that I looked up and saw the lineup at the Theatre that week. See, it was comedy week in Lancaster, and as you can see, I was right up there with the big names of comedy:
Brown, Davidson, Hills, O’Connor, and best of all Pam Ayres! My Nana would be so proud. And if you scan further down the list, there’s a Take That tribute band called … Fake That. Brilliant.
Time to sign off from Part One now, and see what Bath has in store for me tonight. See you soon.