Put Up Your Tewkes

Put Up Your Tewkes

(The following was written on Friday, but internet issues meant I couldn’t post it til now. Sorry)

Hello from Tewkesbury, after what has been a long and trying day.

After 3 hours, two trains, a stale railway station sandwich, no buses, and a hastily called taxi, I made it to my hotel and then to the lovely Roses Theatre, where I unpacked my bag, only to realise I had left my “suit what I wear on stage” back in London.

I have made an effort in the last year or so to dress nicely on stage, to look like I have made an effort for the paying public, so was quite annoyed with myself when I found that the only clothes I had with me were the jeans, t shirt and leather jacket I had been wearing all day.

A quick scout around backstage revealed that there was a pantomime starting in a few weeks time, and that the costumes had been left in a dressing room after a photo shoot. I worked out what would fit me and hatched a plan.

Once the audience were seated, I took to the stage to make an announcement. I explained to the assembled mass that I had forgotten my suit but still wanted to make an effort for them while also punishing myself. So I promised to do the entire show dressed as one of the Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters.

I left the stage, a few minutes later the intro music swelled, and I introduced myself back on stage dressed like this:
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Apparently it was a Superman-inspired ugly sister called Flatula. How appropriate. You can’t see from this photo, but I even put on the pink spandex tights and fake boobs underneath.

To be honest, I’m not sure everybody liked it. Two older women seemed to be exceedingly nonplussed by the whole affair, glanced disapprovingly at each other throughout the first half and left during the interval.

Three young men in the front row (two of whom looked like the Gloucestershire Proclaimers) were both amused and scared. I chatted to them a bit in the second half, and asked what they do for fun in Tewkesbury. They replied “Go somewhere else”. When I asked if they go out a lot, one of the lads (Ben) replied “Oh yes, we’re men of the world”

I then tested that sentence by asking if they had ever 1) drunk alcohol 2) kissed a girl 3) dressed in women’s clothing. Ben said he had. When I asked Ben to expand, he said “When I was small, my Nan used to come to our place to have baths, and whenever she did I would dress in her clothes and run in and show her while she was wearing a towel.”

You can imagine the laughter from this took a while to die down. When it did I suggested we should re-enact that, and took Ben backstage to prepare. Then, Ben and I presented the scene of him dressing in his Nan’s clothes while she scolded him while wearing a towel.

It looked like this:

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Once again, I’m not quite sure what the audience made of it. Afterwards as I sold shirts to raise money for the theatre, a lady said “I enjoyed your show. It was very, um, original. That’s a polite way of saying it”

Speaking of raising money for the theatre, a great comedian immortalised The Roses Theatre after doing just that 25 years ago. Eric Morecambe made his last appearance at a benefit event for The Roses Theatre in 1985. Legend has it he walked off stage, said “Ooh I’m glad that’s over” then promptly had a fatal heart attack.

Turns out I was in the same dressing room he had on the night. Dressing Room Two however was where his heart was worked on, and bears his name on the door. It was a beautiful, solemn honour to perform in the same place, and I’d like to think I paid honour to the great Mr Morecambe by not only raising a little bit more money for the theatre, but also by dying a little bit on stage too.

Here’s to one of life’s great inflators:

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Adam

5 Comments

  • Martin S Smith

    26.10.2009 at 04:10 Reply

    I was one of the three guys at the front (the middle one) and after the show, Ben got mobbed by an adoring public in the theatre’s lobby and even in the chip shop we stopped at afterwards.
    Thank you for bringing such humiliation into his life and joy into ours.

  • Leah Jones

    26.10.2009 at 06:24 Reply

    Thank you so much for brightening Tewkesbury for the evening! After a tough time recently I felt uplifted and like summer had made an unexpected return for a day in the autumnal gloom! I wish i had been able to stay and thank you after the show!

    Please don’t forget us and let the lack of public transport deter you from coming back to the Roses again very soon!

  • Lindsey

    27.10.2009 at 20:53 Reply

    Hi Adam.

    My family and I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and thought the outfit was excellent. We were down south from Edinburgh for a wedding on Saturday in Cheltenham, and although we’d seen your show during the Fringe, we enjoyed it just as much the second time around.

    Keep on inflating

    Lindsey

  • Jany

    27.10.2009 at 23:34 Reply

    omg adam 😀 LOL

    don’t u think they should make a suit that u can put in a box in a size of a cigarret box 😀 then u’ll never leave ur suit back anywhere 😛

    🙂 ty adam for drawing such a smile !

  • Sharon

    28.10.2009 at 20:26 Reply

    Hi Adam,

    My family and I thought the show in Tewkesbury was fantastic. You were the first live comedian my son had been to see and he loved the show – although his teachers may not appreciate his new interest in sign language. His inflatables t-shirt now has pride of place in his room.

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