Before you go… #1

150th ticket

So, cast change. Not something I’ve really had to deal with before. I was quite attached to the original cast of Shakespeare in Love, but I ended up not going back after their last night in January (a combination of no money & going to Sunny Afternoon more often than not). I have dealt with a handful of Sunny cast leaving over the past few months, but an exodus of nearly everyone is difficult to compute.

I obviously do love the show itself, but after 150 times (as of last night!) it’s inevitable that you’ll get attached to the people involved in it. Especially with this lot – I’ve probably spent more time with them than my actual family this year, and they are the loveliest bunch of people you could ever meet. So for me (& my fellow Afternooners), we’re not just losing them as their characters but as themselves.

But so far so good. During the day time I occasionally think of something to do with this and it makes me well up (not helpful if the thought pops into your head when you’re sat at your desk at work), but at the two shows this week I’ve managed to not have a breakdown as yet. In fact, they’ve both been hugely enjoyable shows – last night in particular. Last Tuesday was rather good to me as well, as the Real Mick Avory made it to see the show in the West End, to add to his Hampstead visit last year; I was lucky enough to be introduced to him and stand between two Micks!

100th Mick sandwich

I’m wondering whether I’ve perhaps gone back into denial, and that’s why I’m not getting emotional about it already. As hard as this will make the last day or so, I am kind of glad as it is allowing me to truly enjoy the show as I want to. Also chuffed that I’ve a) reached 150 shows with this cast, and b) managed it before Saturday. The last thing I wanted was to be attempting to celebrate through floods of tears!

Excitingly some of the new cast were in to watch last night, as was Joe Penhall. My friends & I have been lucky enough to have met Joe a few times before (at the show, the talk at Hampstead & the Oliviers) so it was lovely to see him again briefly – and update him on how much more money I’d sent his way since the last time!

Excitingly I’m able to return for my first Wednesday matinée for 3 months (24 June!), allowing me to do a midweek double. I’ve managed to do 7 shows in a week twice before (in both of my unofficial challenge weeks!) and have only been thwarted in reaching the 8-show mark by being at work during the week. But not this time! So I am kind of in another challenge week, I suppose, but a markedly different challenge this time.

Today should still have a celebratory feel to it, as it is a bit of an Afternooners reunion! After that the tears may start flowing freely, so watch this space…

George Maguire, John Dagleish, Adam Sopp and Ned Derrington in Sunny Afternoon.  Photography by Kevin Cummins
George Maguire, John Dagleish, Adam Sopp and Ned Derrington in Sunny Afternoon
Photograph by Kevin Cummins
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