Well, here I sit typing, a stone lighter and ready to tread the boards of the Bloomsbury Theatre in London. Well, I say ready, bloody petrified is more appropriate tbh! Getting on stage is a scary prospect, believe me, I know! I recall my London theatre debut, at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre, Camden, in pin-sharp, vivid detail precisely because I was so frightened. So much so that toward the end of the first act, the panic attack that had been bubbling away nicely all day suddenly turned HUGE! Of course, in this technological age we live in, the moment was captured for posterity, and you too can see my panic attack here – ULP! – note the huge intake of breath at the start, then the ROAR of terror, closely followed by me catching myself and, thank gawd, finally remembering my lines and moving on. Properly scary! As regular readers of this blog, well my one reader, will know, I’ve always suffered from panic attacks. I hope I don’t have one during next Tuesday’s ‘One Night Stanshall’ show, but if you do happen to see a fat bloke in one green and one red sock, wearing a checked jacket, tearing down Gordon Street and heading for Euston Station next Tuesday night, then you know who it is!
That was almost 3 years ago, (SHIT!), and since that dark October night at the 40 seater Lion and Unicorn, things have changed a little, as we prepare to once again inhabit the 535 seat Bloomsbury Theatre. One vital factor in this transformation is that one of the audience members that first night was the legend that is Neil Innes. I can’t really put into words the help, advice and time that Neil has given since that night, not only to the show, but also myself. Since then I have had the opportunity to perform with him and also perform as support act to the first Rutles reunion show, last year at the Borderline Club, Soho. Bucket-list stuff! BTW in case there are any Rutles fans reading this unaware of the fact that the prefab four are touring the UK from May, here is the link to visit to learn more and get your tickets Rutles Tour
So, where was I? Soho! No, that’s wrong – for many reasons! Oh aye, that’s reet! One Night Stanshall, next Tuesday, April 8th, at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London folks! TICKETS HERE! As I mentioned last time, prep is going brilliantly, and both myself and my co-producer, Vivian’s son Rupert, are both very pleased with the way things have developed. Our MD, Bill Leach, has gone above and beyond even his own high work-rate and commitment for this show, and the results will speak for themselves. His job is not only to score all the music, but also to marshal me and my band of loonies on Tuesday AND integrate it with the aforementioned Neil Innes and other greats such as Rod Slater, Rick Wakeman, Danny Thompson, John Halsey, Susie Honeyman, Jim Cuomo and Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer. That is no mean feat! Without Bill there would be no show. Pure and simple. He is the metronomic heartbeat of the whole enterprise.
We’ve had some nice bits n bobs in the press leading up to the show, (and we need more if there are any press reading!), one of which is this lovely preview piece, written by well-known Times and Guardian comedy reviewer Bruce Dessau, which you can read at his brilliant website here. So, 5 days to go to another incredible life experience and I am, as usual, not feeling ready. But whether I like it or not, on Tuesday I will be up on that stage with my pals, recreating Vivian’s meisterwerk ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’. There is much, MUCH more yet to do, so I spose I’d best stop boring you and get on and do it! However, afore I go, one last pearl of wisdom imparted to me by Neil Innes. ‘don’t rehearse! Then NOTHING can possibly go wrong!’ A very wise man! And with that, I shall bid you adieu and I shall see you at the Bloomsbury next Tuesday! Mine’s a large Southampton Red Rum!! Oh, and don’t forget, you can follow the show on Twitter @SirHenryShow and I am on there too @MichaelLivesley – but on my feed you will only find more shite like the stuff I write on here although, due to the 140 character limit, it is mercifully MUCH briefer!
Tata for now!! xxxx