Genius

I went to see Forced Entertainment’s Spectacular at the Playhouse this week. A guy sidles onto the stage through the backwall curtain. He edges on muttering and shrugging. Saying “something’s not right.” Oh, and he’s wearing a black T-shirt and tracky bottoms with a skeleton painted on it. and a skull painted on a mask.

He then proceeds to tell the audience how the stage is ‘normally’ set and what ‘normally’ happens. Then a girl (Claire Marshall) comes on ready to do her big death scene. She goes on to ‘die’ for the next hour, while the guy tells us what happens in the show. I was trying to stay awake at times, and wondered whether to head for the pub (three people did walk out), but I stayed just in case anything happened.

When I came out, I was in two minds whether to be pissed off, but I got talking to various people, and it all clicked. People were saying they were insulted that ‘THAT’ could call itself theatre, and what had British theatre comes to - then we had a whole discussion about what theatre is, and what performing is, and what an audience is. Everything they said, every question raised was exactly what Forced Entertainment wanted. Even the people who I heard coming out saying “It was good” - GOOD?! No-one could come out of that and just say good. It was the Emperor’s new clothes. People were scared to say anything negative in case people thought they just didn’t get it. There was nothing to get. FE gave us everything by giving us nothing - but the audience had to do it for themselves!

I also REALLY wanted to be the guy in the skeleton suit (Robin Arthur). To get a chance to push the audience as far as you can but keep them there (or not!). He even challenged us to leave. A dangerous game.

An interesting night. But not Spectacular, as someone complained. Then again, that was the point.

Mayday mayday…I have no voice and I must sing

Happy Mayday. Hope it was a good one. I went into the Jam for one pint at 4.30pm and got back to the boat at 4.30am. Then I got called at 6am to get back to the Fir Tree for breakfast. Good fun (and 3-2 J-M!)

Shanghai didn’t come off, so I agreed to do Joe Graham’s new play, A Fistful of Mondays. Unfortunately, when I read all the stuff Joe sent, and read the script, I failed to register one tiny, crucial word. MUSICAL.

SO….I’ve got to sing Johnny Cash’s A Thing Called Love, Jerry Reed’s When your Hot You’re Hot and - get this - Billy Ray Cirus’ Achy Breaky Heart. Ok, Ok, it’s a romantic comedy about life, love and linedancing, allright?

Ach, it’ll be fine. It’ll be fun, it’ll be…whatever it’ll be.

I might just do all three as Bob Dylan. I took my oldest son, Dylan, 12, to see Bob Dylan in Birmingham. He was on good form. Even spoke to the audience in mysterious ways. I think I may have been spoiled, cos the only other time I saw Dylan (I never wanted to see him live, it’s about the words, and the records, just read and listen) was in Las Vegas on October 20, 2002 in the Joint. There were about 800 people there and I was six feet away. I could see his eyes, I could see every line on his face, I could see every day he’d lived in his face and I could see his spit flying. And he was on fire that night.

Birmingham was different. It was special because Dylan (my Dylan) was there, but it was weird cos I got the feeling half the audience were there just to say they’d seen Bob Dylan, before he dies. Must be mind-blowing for Bob! He’s a genuine curiosity.

Since I took Dylan to Dylan, I told him he’s got to take me to one of his gigs soon. Hopefully it’ll be sweaty, thrashy, loud and full of passion and energy.