Press is one of the things that goes hand in hand with promoting a show, but it's always nice to shake it up from the usual tv, radio and newspaper interviews by taking a step out into the unusual. And step out we did, all the way to Wimbledon Piazza for a Wild West themed fun day in anticipation of our appearance at the Wimbledon New Theatre in September. There have been several of these fun days around the country as we've toured, but this is the first one the company have been able to attend due to the proximity of our venue for the week. Aside from giving the people of Wimbledon a taster of the show by performing 'There's No Business Like Showbusiness', there was also a lasso rope ring toss, shooting gallery and even a bucking bronco, which we gamely gave a turn - under the watchful eye of company manager Kristi of course. No broken bones here please!
Fun and games aside we headed off en masse to Woking, this week's venue, to tech in the show as we usually do on a Tuesday and then settle into our dressing rooms. Being so close to London, many of the company are commuting so the socialising has been notched down. However, there's one thing guaranteed to make everyone hang around for the last train.... ice cream! It turns out that Woking is home to Creams, the most epic of American style ice cream parlours and, as an added bonus, it's open until late! With sundaes, waffles, crepes and about a gazillion flavours to try there really was something for everyone to indulge in.
It's probably a very good thing that we didn't discover the parlour until Thursday though, as otherwise our corsets might not be fitting quite so well once we get to Bournemouth. On the Friday night a repeat visit occurred, in the necessary interest of testing the crepes this time, and showing our physio Gina our discovery. On the following Saturday night I may have even been back in the booths again for a third time. In my defence, I had a friend in to see the show and it seemed only right to share the magic of Woking.
Woking's magic was only furthered by the arrival of a new tour mascot in the form of a 15 inch high sexy ceramic cowgirl figurine! She was unearthed by Will's parents as part of an auction lot they purchased and for some inexplicable reason they didn't want to keep her. Fanny Crackawhip, as she has been affectionately named, has now joined the stage right props table where she will live for the remainder of the tour until, unless she turns out to be a priceless antique, we decide to use her for target practice!
Mascots seem to be part and parcel of touring, with many of the company carrying something that reminds them of home. I'm personally touring two of my own in mascots in my kit box. Firstly I have Treacle, a knitted cat teddy bear who was a birthday present from a friend in Japan. Treacle surveys my dressing table antics and was recently joined by a teeny tiny lego figurine of Annie Oakley. This latter gift came from my beautiful baby niece Faye, I'm assuming as an apology for her stealing the Annie Oakley balloon our illusionist Darren made me!
But it seems I'm not the only one adopting additional mascots on the road, despite the fact we have limited space. For press night in Manchester I got everyone miniature cacti. Whilst some of the team have been touring them, our DSM Léonie has been slowly adding to her real cacti with a myriad of other Wild West themed items. It began when she ducked out of the rain in Oxford into a phone accessory shop, chancing upon a small cactus headphone socket protecter (who knew such a thing even existed?!) which it seemed rude not to then buy. Since that moment the Western-themed gifts have been coming thick and fast, particularly in the form of stationery - what girl doesn't need a cactus-shaped eraser or two? It does however mean she will only ever be able to do cowboy-based musicals from now on, I think.
Next week we finally return to the seaside by playing Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre and as there are only seven shows to do, and no cover rehearsals either, we're already planning the beach parties. The outdoor games from Malvern have been dusted off and there are fireworks and barbecue nights afoot. Anyone would think we're on holiday - although with an easier schedule for the week it feels almost as if we are! With that in mind it seems only appropriate that we take a paddle in the sea as well. Wait... did someone mention ice cream?