946: “It’s my birthday, I am very special…”

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A weekend at the theatre: I couldn’t possibly celebrate my birthday in any other way, could I? Pretty much as soon as I saw that 946 was going to be in Bristol on that day (possibly even before I saw it at the Globe) I decided that I needed to be over there for both shows…

Well… You don’t get a huge amount of theatre on a Sunday – and often it’s the slightly less good stuff – so I had to take this opportunity! Last year I managed to see Sunny on my birthday, which was perfect for 2015, but this year only one thing would do. And in the end I managed to do three of the four weekend performances!

It was the final UK leg of the tour, so I decided I had to make the most of it really. Plus Bristol was in the perfect place for me to introduce some more people to the show that has done a good job of taking over my life for three months.

My brother saw the show when he was in London in September, and loved it (he was surprisingly enthusiastic) – so as my parents live in Somerset they had to come & see it in Bristol. A quite early start for a Saturday, but totally worth it! Time for a meal beforehand, complete with a free bottle of prosecco (Prezzo was celebrating my mother’s half-birthday, apparently) and then a short wander over to the theatre just in time for the house to open. Because of renovations, everyone has to enter via the stage door side – quite bizarre, but also exciting!

By the time we’d got round to actually booking, there weren’t any seats together so we ended up dotted around the theatre… My mum & I on opposite ends of the front row, and my dad up in the gallery! As nice as it is to be able to sit with each other, you can’t talk while the show’s on so we were all just pleased to be there.

As expected, they loved it! Not only were they pleased to see Adam onstage again, having obviously seen him in Sunny, but they seemed to enjoy the whole thing. They’d also both seen Dream (my mum at the Globe, my dad on the BBC broadcast) so they recognised a few other faces too! And then afterwards we got to buy a Lucky Button from Boowie himself.

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I practised some self-restraint in not buying a ticket for the Saturday evening show too, so saved some money by going down to Somerset to stay the night – also nice to actually see my family (albeit briefly) on my birthday for once.

I was soon back off to Bristol, as Sandie was treating me to lunch & the matinée. It was obviously going to be a great day anyway, but when we both arrived at our designated meeting point at exactly the same time I knew it was going to be extra special. Back on the bubbles, as Pizza Express had decided I needed a free bottle of prosecco too, and a leisurely lunch & catchup just round the corner from the theatre.

Slap-bang in the middle of the very front row good enough? Only the best for Sandie. Having seen the show, ahem, several times before I knew this would be perfect for her as she loves any opportunities for interaction with actors during shows – and there are plenty of moments during 946! (Mine started early as a few of the cast wished me a happy birthday before the show started – an unexpected but lovely treat!) I was definitely glad to be able to share one of the shows with someone that day; with it being the final day there was a danger of my emotions overtaking me if I’d been flying solo for both of them. As it was, the matinée was great fun and only tears at the ‘correct’ moments…

So I had another 946 convert in Sandie by 5pm on Sunday! I’d hyped it up quite a bit, so that was lucky… She’d also seen Dream & recognised a few faces, and hadn’t seen Adam since cast change day last October. So obviously she got a Lucky Button from Boowie as well!

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I ended up sitting in exactly the same seat for both shows that day – I was due to be one further along in the evening, but that would’ve left one person isolated from a big group so (for once) I decided to be nice. It was hilarious listening to them worry about the water and also the potential for audience participation..!

And it was just the perfect end to the tour, for me. Every emotion accentuated; I bawled my eyes out with Nandi singing right in front of me at the end, and Ncuti in bits behind her. That bit gets me every time, but not quite to that extent! But then there was Ewan, being utterly ridiculous, making me shriek & cry with laughter. Swings & roundabouts, I guess.

With it being the final show there, afterwards everyone was caught up in the get-out, but somehow I managed to see pretty much everyone to say thank you & good luck. I finally met Katy properly, after about 7 months of watching her onstage – they say “don’t meet your heroes”, but I’d say “choose your heroes carefully”. She’s definitely become a hero of mine (see Twitter evidence), so being greeted with such warmth & enthusiasm was a real fillip. Chris has also been great over the past couple of months; on Sunday he kindly kept me company while I waited for Adam & the others, singing me a bit of The Schmuel Song when I recommended The Last Five Years and shocking me when I found out he’d learnt all of his instruments just for the show…

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Rather conveniently, most of the others all came out together – so I could finally meet Nandi & Emma properly, and say hello to Kyla again. Another lovely bunch! And obviously I couldn’t leave without wishing Adam well for the next leg of the tour, as they’re off to America in a week or so. Clearly I would’ve enjoyed the show for just getting the chance to see him perform again, but the whole ‘outside of the show’ experiences have made it even better – so I want to thank him for looking out for me, especially on the tour. I might have ended up chickening out of meeting some of the others if left to my own devices (I am still quite shy & awkward), so being introduced to pretty much everyone was just perfect. Though now I have a load more people I’ll want to continue supporting in their future roles… Good thing I like being busy!

So next up for them is Berkeley (from 2 December & right over Christmas), then LA from 9 February – and finally New York from 16 March. Having covered everywhere but Manchester, it’ll be weird knowing that they’re doing so many shows without me! I can’t wait to hear how it goes, I’m sure America’s going to love it. And who knows what will come after that..?

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