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Monday, 7 November 2011

The contract a performer has with their audience

 A great night at the sold out Rhodes Theatre, Bishop's Stortford performing in "Missy Malone's Burlesque Revue". It's always fun being the only man on a bill full of ladies, but especially so when the bill is stacked with so much good stuff as it was tonight. Vicky Butterfly, Cherry Shakewell, The Bees Knees all held together by the awesome Laurie Hagen, and headlined, of course, by Miss Malone herself. It was a lovely show - one of those that seems easy to do, everything just slides together and works the way it should. I left the theatre pretty soon after the final curtain to catch my train home, feeling content and placid. This did not last.

As I'm walking the ten minutes or so to the station, I begin to hear shouting - both male and female voices - from the other side of the road. "Oi! Fucking cane boy! Fucking juggler! Oi!". I'm not a fan of being addressed in the way Jeremy Kyle might talk to someone in sportswear who is not a sportsman, so I ignored it and kept walking. "Oi! Fucking juggler! It's fucking you!", and then, from the woman, "Oi! Cunt! I paid fifteen quid to see you. Fucking talk to me!"

I shook my head to myself, and went home. But just on the offchance that those delightful people googled me and have found themselves here, let's clear the air.

Yes, you paid fifteen pounds to see me. I, and Missy Malone, and all the cast, thank you for encouraging live performances in venues outside of London, and hope you had a hell of a night. Here's what that £15 gets you: A show. And that's what you got. You had a stage full of great performers, who delivered the best they could, for the audience you were part of. And that audience was lovely - warm, receptive, ready to laugh and whoop and whistle. Great. We all had a good time.

The contract you have with me, the contract that your hard-earned fifteen pounds buys you, ends the moment the final curtain touches the stage. Before that, when you're sitting in the dark and I'm on stage, I'm yours, I work for you, my only job is to entertain you. But when your lights come on and mine go out, the contract is completed. Sure, often we'll be in the bar after the show and we're more than happy to chat to you, and I've made real genuine friends this way. But, if I'm walking home, then I'm not a performer any more, I'm a guy going home from work, and if you start drunkenly yelling insults, you're not members of the audience any more, you're just twats. And the best you can hope for is to be ignored.

You want to talk to me? You want to say you liked my work, or even that you didn't? Fine - try "Excuse me", and lay off calling me a cunt. It's an odd thing, if you call someone a cunt, they usually take a bit of a dislike to you.

In considerably funner news, I discovered this week that I have been nominated for two London Cabaret Awards, which was a terrific surprise. I'm up for best speciality act, and best show (for "Three Balls and a New Suit"), and I'm fairly confident I'll win neither, as I'm up against some amazing people. It is, and I swear I don't mean this to sound as cliché as it does, genuinely an honour just to be nominated. However, if I don't at least make it into the final three, I shall hunt down the judging panel "Theatre of Blood" style.

Finally, if you have a hankering to come see me this week, here's where you can:

Thursday the 10th: Bete Noire at Madame JoJos, alongside Beatrix Von Bourbon, Lydia Darling, Missy Fatale and Ophelia Bitz - brilliant ladies all. That's the early show, by the way. I'm not in the late show.

Friday the 11th: La Reve at The Cafe De Paris. Dusty Limits, Piff, Pippa the Ripper, Beatrix Von B again, and me! And lots more! Great line up in one of the world's most beautiful cabaret venues.

Saturday the 12th: The Horne Section, at the Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly Circus. It's my third appearance in Alex Horne's wonderful show, and I've loved it since the first. If you haven't seen it, you really should. It's heartfelt, absurd, swiss-watch timed silliness. I'm on with Paul Foot, but the stars of the show are Alex and his brilliant band. 10.30pm start. My appearance in The Horne Section has been postponed. Sorry if you planned to come and see me in this - out of my control.

What a fun week it'll be. Two more things before I go: First, if you didn't click on the Jeremy Kyle link, go back up and do it now. Secondly..


Khandie Khisses said...

Bloody awful behaviour!! Sadly it happens all to often.

Congrats on the nominations!!!

Missy Malone said...

Oh Mat! I am really sorry to hear this! I hope it didn't totally ruin your night. The photos are beautiful and I look forward to seeing you soon! x