Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Brighton Show

Sunday morning (actually Sunday afternoon now, but these things should be relative.) We slept late before rising and having a tasty fry-up for breakfast. I’m now lazing on the sofa, warmed by the winter sun streaming in through the window and looking back on last night’s concert at The Dome in Brighton.

We arrived in good time at the theatre but, as always seems to be the case, the tech setup was running behind schedule, so we were late doing our soundchecks and run-through. The result of this was that we had lighting riggers pushing scaffolding around stage throughout the top-and-tailing and only had half an hour between the end of the run and the call to warm up; ‘dinner’ was made up of about fifteen Pringles and a Vocalzone pastille as I changed into costume in our super-heated dressing room.

When we arrived I had looked out from the stage and my first thought was that it looked like a small, intimate theatre but apparently it had a capacity of 1,800. We filled it to about two-thirds I hear, but it certainly felt full enough. The downside was the acoustic which, in stark contrast to Birmingham, gave you nothing back on stage. Apparently the audience could hear every word, but it felt like you were the only one singing and we depended a lot on the foldback (which wasn’t great!) to hear each other. In fact the sound setup generally left a lot to be desired; Rula’s mic wasn’t on for her welcome (fortunately her voice and the acoustic meant that she seemed to be heard by everyone); one of the stage mic’s failed just before our ‘Divas’ came on stage to lead the congregational carols and then the sound guy cued the track for Bootylicious way too early and, instead of stopping it, just started the track again so we had a very confused, messy start to that number.

Apart from that, though, I think the show went better than Birmingham. The running order was changed slightly and some pieces shortened to make the whole show shorter and the first half brighter (and easier on our feet by moving the Finzi up the order!) Personally both my words and choreography were sharper.

I didn’t spot Janice in the audience and only spotted Rich because I knew where he was sitting. We caught up with him briefly after the show, before the coach left for home, and he and his guests seemed to have really enjoyed it. We reflected on how long it had been since we’d seen each other and agreed it would be too long. We really ought to get down to Brighton more often. Rich is always offering us use of his spare room and I think it could be a very cheap and enjoyable long weekend away from the hustle and bustle of town.

The journey home was uneventful; I spent most of it sitting on the back row of the coach watching people animatedly chatting and joking. I had a lovely contented feeling all the way home; partly from the sense of a job well done and partly from observing just what a great social group the Chorus is. Towards the end of the trip, Brett came back and snuggled with me and we listened to Kander & Ebb’s Kiss of the Spider Woman and watched the lights of South London slip by the windows. Very cosy.

We finally made it home around 1am, which wasn’t that much earlier than we got back from Birmingham. It was a bitterly cold night, so we threw another duvet on the bed and I crawled straight into it.

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