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Memory Lane Tour. Spring 2013
Hello there, this is Maisey the Greyhound. Those of you that are new followers of Timeless Theatre Productions will not know me so let me introduce myself. I am the Rescue Retired Greyhound that Colin and Marie adopted 3 years ago, since then I have become very involved in helping them produce the UK’s biggest and brightest nostalgia show currently touring theatres. (They take all the credit though!)
One of my primary duties is to keep a note of the whereabouts of the show and it’s cast and report back to you (our loyal human followers) with anything I feel you may find interesting ! Now, I usually try and do this two or three times during a tour but this year I’m afraid I have been so busy doing ‘Greyhound’ things (us Greyhounds are busy dogs you know) and I’ve been looking after Mary (Marie’s Mum) so I am having to write everything now the show has finished touring for this season.
My other important responsibilities include:
a)Monitoring the progress of rehearsals (I usually lay and pretend that I am asleep whilst they learn dance routines and songs but really I am making notes and making sure they don’t slack off)
b) Monitor the progress of our dress maker (Shirley) and make some suggestions to costume accessories (I especially like feather boas – they are comfy to sleep on when Shirley isn’t looking but you have to be careful that they don’t tickle your nose)
c) Monitor how many breaks Colin takes (and make sure that when he takes a break I get a treat) In this situation I like it when he takes lots of breaks – this season he didn’t take many (this didn’t make me happy)
d) Monitor the progress of Bill-Bill who paints and makes our props and mends things that have been broken. (I am usually kept away from the painting area because It would be dreadful if I knocked over any paint !!!!!)
My additional mission (which I chose to accept) is to try and conquer Jennie’s (our head dancer) fear of dogs. I usually do this by creeping up behind her when she is sitting having a break and sticking my nose in her face to try and get attention – this seems to make her squeal at times but we are making progress because she lets me lick out her empty yogurt pots and has let me sit next to her with my head on her knee twice. (she was eating Ham and I wanted some).
SO, now you all know who I am, I will tell you all about this season – now to go through every show and every theatre would take way too long and to be honest a greyhound can only type so much before her paws start to ache! So having made notes I will condense this into an interesting facts section and to this end I interviewed the cast with some probing questions……..
During this season the Memory Lane Show….
- Visited 23 different Theatres
- Worked with 15 wonderful dance schools (some of our shows feature local children in three routines)
- Travelled over 5,466 miles - This is just one vehicle and there are three vehicles touring in total!!!! (I worked this out on google earth because I’m a clever Greyhound)
- Went through, approximately, 210 bottles of water backstage.
- Spent in total about 138 hours ironing costumes
- Stayed in 25 Travelodges (24 of which actually had hot water !)
- Went to one ‘All-You-Can-Eat’ Buffet
- Ate approximately 13 of Sara’s Cupcakes in Aberdeen!
And……… (this is the most impressive)
- Signed approximately 600 Charity Programmes Raising over £1800 for Oral and Facial Cancer research and rehabilitation (pretty good going eh?)
In addition to this information you may also like to know that the girls on tour went through……
- 12 packs of face wipes (taking make-up off is a chore apparently but I wouldn’t know – I’m a dog!)
- 23 pairs of professional dance tights (which are very expensive!)
- 12 pairs of false eyelashes
- 6 liquid eyeliners
- 1 parasol (Laura’s snapped in half)
- More Make-up than you can shake a chew-stick at!
- 5 bracelets (Betty and Laura broke most of them accidentally !)
- 6 reels of cotton repairing the black ‘Spender’ Boas
- 2 pairs of earrings
- Approximately 6 cans of hairspray and
- Lots of fake tan!!!!!
Surprisingly enough the boys went through ………..
NOTHING! Just joking but they didn’t really use much!
- 4 pairs of socks (though I’m yet to find out whose ended up the dirtiest by the end of the season)
- 0 pairs of tights (though in last season’s show they used one pair each but that’s another story!)
- 13 rolls of gaffa tape
- 46 bacon sandwiches
- 19 bottles of Lucazade (that’s just Colin)
When I asked everyone what their most memorable moments of the season were there were a few different replies so the highlights of this season were (in order of most popular)…….
- Betty falling off a bench in the Park Bench Medley
- Colin doing a random dance near the tent during Bobby’s Girl
- Having Helene (one of last seasons dancers who is now dancing in France) backstage via a live video Link-up
- Abi Winning £10 at Bingo (she screamed a lot)
- Betty getting the tent wrapped around her head during the 60’s section
- Pretty Much every-thing Mike says makes everyone laugh and is a highlight
- And Bill-Bill shouting into the headphones “go Tabs” (which means curtains apparently) several times untill he realised it was him operating them during that performance.
Now the season is over I shall be returning to my sofa to enjoy some much needed peace and quite – well not for long, it’ll soon be time to start on the plans for next show! Anyway I hear it’s been a great season for the humans at Timeless Theatre Productions, I hear that you – their audiences – have been great and hopefully you have already booked your tickets for the next show which is called ‘Memories are Made of this’.
Thanks for reading and have a lovely summer
Lots of love and woofs – Maisey The Timeless Greyhound.
The end of the tour!!!
Surely 3 months can’t be over already. The diary says it is and so it must be. Unbelievable. So where did we leave you last time. We had just finished at Redditch and looking forward to a few days off over Easter. Nineteen dates later and here we are in our summer break.
Following Redditch we had a bit of a travelling week which took us to Skegness (Eventful), Exeter and finally Altrincham. Why was Skegness eventful I hear you ask? Simply one of those events where Joe Public has no idea of the traumas that can sometimes happen backstage.
Having just been given ‘clearance’ from front of house, this is our cue that we are about to start. The stage goes to blackout ready for music. At Skegness, blackout backstage is a true blackout, pitch black. On stage ready for the opening section is a park bench, lampposts and some street signs. Colin decides to make his way across the stage to the other side and doesn’t see the park bench. Yes, over the bench he goes. What should have been something mildly amusing then turned a little more serious. As he landed over the other side of the bench he decided to save any damage to the expensive microphone that he was holding. Unfortunately this meant that he landed on his face. Blood was starting to run down his nose and the first aid crew were called. Fortunately it was just a minor cut to the nose, followed by a black eye of course and as soon as the bleeding had stopped, the music started and off we went. After the show we travelled to Leicester splitting the journey to Exeter and continued to Exeter the next day. Having the day off gave us a chance to celebrate Jennie Furniss’s birthday at a local pub. Nice food and a few drinky poos.
Our run finished at Altrincham with only a couple of days off before our 10 day spell in Scotland.
Wednesday 18th April seen the start of the Scotland run which was a little easier than some of our previous Scotland runs. With 3 days off it wasn’t as tiring. We got a chance to spend time with our friends up in Aberdeen. Most of the cast ventured off to Glasgow for a few days break. Colin, Marie and Jenni did a workshop with Debbie for her Music4u charity and all in all it was a great run. Well, apart from another little mishap. At Rutherglen things went a little pear shaped during the Zorba routine in our World Medley. The supposed staging of it is that Mike gives Colin a piggyback once around the stage. On this occasion Mike lost his balance and they both went sprawling across the stage. Now both male singers are covered in bruises. In fact Mike came off the worst.
Into May and we hit Whitley Bay Playhouse, one of our local theatres, followed by Penistone where we are always grateful to have the help of Jen’s dad Jim backstage.
The following week we have Solihull and Tamworth. Two days at Solihull now gives us a chance to meet up with John and Judith from http://www.rgtmidlands.co.uk/ where Colin and Marie rescued Maisy the greyhound. John and Judith have become great friends and we are now planning a charity event to raise money. Everything is pencilled for September 18th 2013 at Palace Theatre Redditch, where with the appearance of ‘Twiggy’ we are hoping to organise a great fund raising event.
Almost at the end of the run now with shows at Ellesmere Port, Winsford and Potters Bar. Colin manages to put his back out and the show has to be re-set to take him out of most of the routines. The final show happens at Consett Empire on 22nd May and the tour is officially over.
A final word from Colin and Marie.
We have been very fortunate over the last couple of years to have cast members who have been a pleasure to work with. This season has been no exception. With 3 new dancers and a new male singer there were plenty of personnel changes. Needless to say that this could have led to any number of problems, however, Mike Palmer our new singer was a complete joy to work with, as was his partner Jennie Furniss. Steph Larty spent a second season with us and along with the new dancers Sarah Gunn and Betty Wells, all of whom proved to be first class dancers and great team members. Jenni Tarr completed the cast line up and proved why she has now been with the company for 4 years. We would like to express our sincere thanks to all of you for being such a pleasure to work with.
Now is the time to start work on our ‘Rolling back the Years’ show which starts touring in September. We would also like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to our audiences. Frequently we meet people who regularly attend our shows and in this time of recession we truly appreciate your support.
This year we are also performing Christmas Shows at Ramside Hall, Durham and Lancastrian Suite, Dunston. The dates of the shows are December 3rd, 4th, 17th and 18th. Feel free to contact us for further details on these.
We look forward to seeing you all again in the Autumn.
Take care and god bless!!
All our Yesterdays 2012 Rehearsals
Hello there, My name is Maisy and I am the greyhound that belongs to Marie and Colin from Timeless Theatre Productions.
I have been made aware that as yet this year Colin has not had time to write the blog so I have decided to take over and let you in on all the gossip that goes on during a Timeless Theatre UK Tour. (I am a very clever, computer literate Greyhound you see and I keep my ear to the ground for gossip).
This year I’ve got some new friends in the cast (all human unfortunately – tried to persuade them to add a couple of greyhounds but they didn’t agree to it – some excuse about getting tap shoes to fit!). Of course Colin and Marie are still in the show along with Jenni (nickname ‘Pen’) who is now on her nineth tour with them. Steph the dancer is back for her second tour and Bill-Bill is of course still in control of the technical stuff backstage. Our new people were all fairly easy to train and have all learned that the way to get on in this company is to bring me treats or stroke my head lots. Sarah, Betty and Jennie are our new dancers, Jennie is very scared of dogs so took a while to come and sit near me, (well I went and sat next to her actually so she had no choice in the matter) however, we have made lots of progress and she has even fed me a treat with only a small squeal of fear. I will continue to work on her. Sarah is very nice to me and seems to like dogs but my favourite so far is Betty, she gives me treats and lays with me during rehearsal breaks. Mike is the new male singer – he is fun and I like sitting with him and putting my head on his lap (only of course when he has food).
There is a new choreographer too, her name is Tracey and I trained her to give me treats very quickly. I have a new system when I fancy a treat. I wait until the whole cast are in the middle of a complicated routine, then I get off my bed, have a big stretch and make it look like I am going to go stand in the way – within seconds Tracey finds me a treat (presumably they think this will prevent me from messing up their routine!) and I dutifully return to my bed to eat my treat – these Humans are such suckers!
So that’s the cast, rehearsals were as usual very intense and exhausting (especially for me of course having to watch the routines over and over again) but the cast dealt with the long days and new routines very well, Colin didn’t seem to get too stressed, Marie didn’t get injured, Mike turned out to be an aspiring chef, Shirley excelled herself with the costume designs and everyone went off to the first leg of the tour with lots of enthusiasm.
On Tour with Timeless
In an attempt to bring you up to date with this year’s tour I (Maisey the Greyhound) have decided to let you know what has been going on with the cast on tour. I of course don’t go on tour with the cast, I stay either at Auntie Carole’s (the doggy crèche where I am very very popular) or Mary (Marie’s Mum) comes and stays over at my house with me (I keep an eye on her for Marie – she does worry you know).
The first venue that the cast performed the show this season was the Customs House in South Shields. The shows went very well in deed and the technicians were really great being that it was the first show of the season and therefore the first time we had run the props and lighting etc.
Hartlepool was next on the list and marked the end of the first ‘run’ of shows which had gone out straight from rehearsals. The show was again a success and the audience seemed to enjoy themselves – it was then time for a much deserved break for the cast who at the end of the show all went their separate ways. I got a bit of piece of quiet at home with Colin and Marie for a few days which was lovely.
All rested and refreshed the cast all then met up at the next venue which was three days in Runcorn. The cast always look forward to seeing the gang and Runcorn and of course meet up with Alex (who used to tour with Timeless). Betty and Sarah still keep trying to get someone else to put their costume rail up for them and Mike has managed to continue his quest to get Jennie to do his ironing. A visit to the Beck Theatre in Hayes finished off this run with the team all staying in a Travelodge together for the first time this season. They all thought they were going to get to sleep early but NO Marie had other ideas, She had videoed the show in Runcorn and decided we should all watch and make notes on the performance. Lots of cups of tea were consumed during this process.
The following week saw us performing in Dudley and Middlesbrough both shows played to busy audiences and other than Betty losing the heel on her white boot right before curtain up – everything went without hitch.
The next run saw the cast going to Catford and Colin was very excited about going for dinner at his favourite noodle bar after the show. He ordered the seafood soup with to be honest was so big he could have swam in. He managed to eat it all though. The whole cast enjoyed the food there and were soon on their way to Redhill where Betty managed to get her heel put back on her boot. There was a small hitch in the first half of the show here at Redhill, due to a power surge in the adjoining library during our 1950’s section the mini disc player reset itself and therefore all the music went off and left the cast singing acapella. Just shows how well the cast have come together as a team this season because everyone carried on and I’m sure lots of people thought it was supposed to happen. After the show it was back on the road to Felixstowe where we were looking forward to seeing Tracey our Choreographer.
Both Felixstowe and Broxborne were great shows with audiences that joined in with all the right songs. Then after a day off the cast were in Dudley for the second of this seasons shows and it was then to Redditch where after two shows the cast were rewarded with a much deserved Easter weekend off and I hopefully get lots of doggie-treats.
A Timeless Collection. Theatre tour ends on a high
Unbelievable!!!! No sooner have we started rehearsals in August and here we are, the tour is now over and we are looking at plotting rehearsals for ‘All our Yesterdays’ in Spring 2012.
So, to pick up where we left off back in October, we start on our travels to the first of two visits to Dudley. Such has been the support at Dudley that the theatre requested two days instead of one. So we hit Dudley, Felixstowe and Bradford in one week. A lot of travelling, but all goes well and before we know it the cast are travelling home for the weekend and preparing for another gruelling week next week.
The week starts yet again at Dudley, but this time we then venture to Cromer, Winsford and Exeter. What a week. Fish and chips coming out of Cromer, find a pub open when we arrive at Winsford and then get a chance to catch up with some friends at Exeter.
The following week life starts to get a little easier. No more marathon sessions on the motorway and the number of shows per week comes down slightly. Wednesday we make our way over to Altrincham and for the third visit in a row, another full house. Jenni and Helene are quite excited as they meet up with one of our past singers Danielle. The three of them have already planned a Travelodge for the night and then a visit to see Legally Blonde next day in Manchester. Marie and costume maker Shirley have a visit to London planned to source some wholesale costumes and jewellery.
Saturday we venture to Leicester for the first time in 2 years and pleased to see that some of our tech friends are still there. Two great audiences and then everyone is back up to the North East ready for a photo shoot on Tuesday. Colin, Neil and Bill take the opportunity to get a game of golf on Monday. The Timeless open golf championship between the three of them is becoming a good regular outing and of course keeps them out of trouble.
Next is Middlesbrough and Penistone. Nice and local, not a lot of motorway and of course Middlesbrough is one of Colin’s favourite venues. A nice easy week. In fact the hardest part of the week was the photo shoot on Tuesday. Hopefully when the proofs arrive there will be lots of pretty photos of the cast in some great costumes.
Only 3 more venues to go and the end of the run is now in sight. Catford on Wednesday and another massive audience. If only the traffic in London was not equally as massive. Tradition now at Catford is the local Chinese noodle café. Brilliant Chinese food, cheap as chips and sets us up for a journey back up to Tamworth in the Midlands for the next day matinee. One more show to go and that’s it. Tour over.
Potters Bar is our last venue. Travelling the day before is essential and Colin, Marie, Jenni and Steph decide to make the most of London and venture out the night before the show to see Priscilla, Queen of the desert. Absolutely amazing!!!!! Jenna and Helene have now started rehearsals for the ship they are about to work on. Lucky girls! Japan and Australia here they come. Gemma and Steph are off home to Brighton and Wales for the winter before returning for the Spring tour of ‘All our Yesterdays’. Jenni is moving to Bolton to do Panto. Colin and Marie will now be locked in the office during the winter to catch up on paperwork and start producing the new show. Bill will no doubt occupy his time with lots of things to do, while Neil is hoping for some good weather this winter so that he can keep his golf clubs occupied.
So, what will next season bring? Two new dancers for sure as Jenna and Helene will still be dancing their way around the world on the cruise ship. This seasons cast have been a true pleasure to work with. Everyone doing their job, no major headaches backstage and lots of pleasurable days working together.
Our final words have to be to our audiences. These are very hard times with the recession affecting everyone in some way. Some of our competitors have closed their doors and are no longer touring. Even some theatres have been forced to close this season. Very scary. Thanks to our audiences, we live to fight another day and there are no words of thanks which are enough to people like Brenda at Middlesbrough who brings 150 people to see our show. Frances at Inverurie who organises tickets for her party and many more all around the country who continue to support our shows.
That’s it for now folks. We would like to wish everyone a very merry Xmas and a very healthy 2012. Take care, and we look forward to seeing you all at our next production.
Theatre tour up and running
My word, it seems like ages since this blog was updated. So much has happened and the last two months have been a whirlwind of auditions, rehearsals and then touring.
First of all to the auditions. At the end of last season we lost our dance captain Fay Blower who is about to travel the world on a cruise ship. We also lost our singer Steve Paul who went off to pastures new. All in all we needed two new dancers and a male singer. Neil Patrick was the obvious choice of singer, having worked with us before and now being available for a full contract. Our two new dancers are Steph Larty and Jenna Knight. Both friends of our new dance captain Helene Lewis. Gemma Edmundson also returns to the clan after an absence of a year or so.
So with the new team in place we start rehearsals late August and for some strange reason everything goes a little too well. We have early finishes on many days and it becomes quite obvious that these dancers pick up routines extremely quickly. Neil is also very quick at learning routines and within no time we are heading for Solihull for our first shows.
John and Judith from Retired Greyhound Trust (Midlands) come to see us on our first show. John is trying very hard to get Marie to take another greyhound but she is having none of it. As for the shows, well, no train crashes!!! This is so unusual. Normally first or second show there are some kind of disasters while folk get used the new show, but no, not this time. Very weird. Obviously Marie Colin and Jenni have done this show before which helps a little, but to have everyone performing every routine to such a standard was very pleasing.
So, off we went. Solihull for two days, a Saturday off in London. Broxbourne Sunday matinee, drive to Runcorn for three days and then finish at Skegness. Always a pleasure to see Graeme, Jim and Pete at Runcorn. Not forgetting our past dance captain Alex and Danielle, one of our previous singers, who is currently home after working on cruises.
The following week sees us tackle Scotland for the first time this season. Hamilton, then a day off due to the unforeseen closure of Whitehall Theatre, Dundee, which has now re-opened. Kilmarnock and a day trip to Inverurie finish off this particular run.
Home for a couple of days hard earned rest and then it is back to Scotland yet again. This time Greenock, Rutherglen and Stirling are our ports of call. Always a pleasure to see Eileen at Stirling. Not many people know this but she is one of Colin’s gag suppliers. Not many days pass that a gag or two don’t land in his email box.
And so we hit October and our first local venue of the season at Customs House South Shields. Three days of no set up, no ironing and a chance to lie in bed if needed. Our last show is only slightly marred by the fact that straight after the matinee show we have to drive to Aberdeen for two shows the next day. The fact that we know that our friends Debbie, Rebecaa, Lucy, Harry and Sarah are going to be with us makes it all worthwhile. The only downside being that we don’t get a chance to spend much time with them this season because of travel arrangements.
Our next run sees us hit Dudley, Felixstowe and Bradford. Looking at the calendar it is quite scary to think that most of the shows are now behind us and in a matter of four weeks or so the tour will have already ended.
Next week is our worst travelling week of the season. Starting at Dudley again, then to Cromer, Winsford and Exeter. Boy oh boy!!!! The cast have been fantastic and a real pleasure to work with. Nobody is moaning or whining, everyone is doing their job and the atmosphere backstage is ultra relaxed and happy. Long may it continue.
August 2011 - Rehearsal time
Well for those of you who haven’t read my blog before, I’ll introduce myself. My name is Maisey and as some of you will already know – I am a Greyhound.
My owners adopted me over a year ago from the Retired Greyhound Trust and I am now living the life of luxury with Colin and Mar the producers, directors and stars of Timeless Theatre Productions.
Since the last time I wrote in the blog (at the end of last season) I have had an enjoyable summer with Marie and Colin at home most of the time working on new shows, music, costumes etc (apart from a week where they had a holiday and Jenni-Penni (the singer) came to look after me.
From the middle of August though – things started to get very busy and my experience of last year meant I understood that we were approaching time for Colin, Marie and the cast to start rehearsing and then go on tour again. In my position as ‘head Greyhound’ for Timeless Theatre Productions, I have quite an influence on decisions made and seeing as there were some cast changes this season I had a discreet word with Colin and made sure that Helene the dancer got a promotion to ‘head dancer’, mainly because she feeds me beef flavoured crisps when no one is looking but they don’t know that!
Jenni-Penni arrived the day before rehearsals (she always brings me treats and a present so I look forward to her arrival) then a new boy singer arrived – his name Is Neil and unusually for me I decided very quickly that I like him – I even sat next to him on the sofa, he hasn’t bought me a present or treats yet but I’m working on that one.
I, as always went with the cast for rehearsals – just to oversee proceedings and make sure they work hard, I don’t allow skiving on my watch. They rehearse from 10am until 8pm for over 10 days whilst I lay on my bed and supervise. To be honest I think they are all quite good – but I won’t tell them, I pretend I’m asleep but really I keep opening my eyes and checking that the dance steps are as I want them. (Suzanne the choreographer actually had a chat with me and left me in charge of a few dances. I specifically remind them to dance the Latin style with straight legs!!!)
There are some new dancers too this season, Gemma (who has toured with Colin and Marie before and I know her already), Steph and Jenna they are quite tall and very friendly (Jenna is even taller when she puts her roller-skates on!)
Anyway rehearsals went well, I got lots of treats from Helene in fact, I have worked out that If I follow her around she gives me extra treats (usually human food) when no one is looking! And this year I found a sofa in the room next to the dance studio and made that my bed when no one was paying attention to me.
Now the tour starts I’ll be spending a little bit of time every now and again with Auntie Carole at the Canine Crèche (the humans feel guilty about this but I get to run round a paddock with my friends and Auntie Carole is lovely) still I don’t mind them feeling guilty because when they come back to get me they give me extra treats – see I have the best life.
11th July 2011
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20th May 2011
Hello everyone, this is Maisy the Greyhound and today something very strange happened. Colin and Marie unpacked their cases and stored them up in the loft! Now in my book (and I’m a dog so I may see things from a slightly different angle to you) that can only mean one thing ……. No More trips to the Kennels for me – YIPPEE.
If I am totally honest with you, I quite like the kennels I go to – they are run by a lady called Carole who is generally very very nice to me (she says I’m her favourite and sometimes she gives me extra attention and treats when the other dogs aren’t looking). She did once tell me off for chewing up my duvet cover (I didn’t like the colour you see) but she doesn’t seem to hold grudges and I promised I won’t chew up the new one (well I like the colour of this new one so there is no need to chew it up really is there?)
So asides from the human’s cases going up in to the loft because they are not touring for a couple of months, a couple of other things have been going on. Colin (the man human) went out and got some new glasses (hardly recognised him) and he has been spending a lot of time in the office doing important office things. (Apparently planning the next tour, though Jo-Jo told me in confidence that he just gets in the way and messes up the office that stays nice and tidy when he is on tour). Marie has been organising new posters and sorting costume repairs and getting things ready for another set of rehearsals starting in a couple of months, there is a lot to organise in advance you know – I’m quite looking forward to rehearsals again, that dancer girl ‘Helene’ promised to bring more beef flavour crisps with her (hopefully she hasn’t found out they are not for Dogs yet)
I know my Humans will be going on tour again in September but for now at least, it is quite nice to have them home for a bit, I especially like sitting on the sofa next to Marie watching CSI , on one of those rare occasions where they are not as ‘they’ say, running around like headless chickens. Speaking of which, humans have no brains if they actually believe that a headless chicken can still run around !!!!!!
Anyway – have a good summer, I will let you know when rehearsals start again. For now though – time for a nap, I’ve been awake typing this for nearly 15 minutes so I’m exhausted.
Woof woof xx
Thursday 19th May. Wyllyots Centre, Potters Bar.
And so we face the final curtain. Well, at least until September when it all starts again.
Too long a journey to do this one all in one day and so we all travel the day before, except for Siobhan who lives quite close to the Theatre and will just get there for the show.
This venue is another one of our success stories as it sells out every single time. We find that a little strange as it is the only venue in the country where we must be finished around 4.00pm and therefore we only have time to do around 40 minutes of our normal second half. From a performance point of view this makes for a very easy show, and as long as everyone is happy….so be it.
Show over. The cast get Marie’s instructions as to what to do with costumes. We have a showcase for a cruise contract in 3 weeks time and so some of the costumes will be used for this, while others get sorted and packaged away until their next outing.
This season seems to have gone so quickly. We have had an excellent cast. Thanks to Pen, Steve Paul, Fay, Helene, Siobhan and Nina. Not forgetting Bill Bill of course.
Our audiences have been amazing. Our average ticket sales have increased in general, the feedback has been superb, and we look forward to starting rehearsals in August for the next tour of ‘A Timeless Collection’. Dates for this can be found at http://www.timelesstheatre.co.uk/theatre-shows-and-tour-itinerary.html
Our audiences have been so generous too in their support of our charity fund raising programme to the point that we have now presented a cheque to Sunderland Hospitals for £3,700.00. We made a rough calculation that over the past 4 years we have raised over £15,000 thanks to the generosity of everyone. We also thank everyone who bought our CD’s and hope that you are all enjoying them.
What will next season bring we wonder? In this business we never know who the cast members will be and so we look forward to keeping you posted on this as we get any news.
We look forward to seeing all of our audiences again next season. In the meantime, god bless you all, and here is a final word from Maisy.
Friday 6th May. Penistone Paramount.
Our penultimate show. Two weeks off after today, then just one matinee at Potters Bar and that is the tour over.
Many of the cast have quite a few family members coming to see the show today. Jen has her Gran, Auntie and a few others coming, while Fay has half the population of Penistone coming, as it is her home village.
As always at Penistone we have Jen’s dad, Jim, as a backstage helper. It is always great pleasure to have him with us, and I’m sure he enjoys his ‘work’ days with us.
Job done, and here we go with a two week break before our last show of the season.
Thursday 5th May. Spa Pavilion Felixstowe.
Record ticket sales for us at this venue and we are so grateful to all of the people who come to see our shows on a regular basis. There is a major recession out there, and there are so many companies in our position who have already bitten the dust.
By now everyone is on automatic pilot at every show. Set up, costumes, sound, light, preparation and performance. After 32 dates, that is pretty normal.
A normal day at the office is followed by a 4 hour journey up to Barnsley in Yorkshire, ready for 2 shows at Penistone Paramount tomorrow.
Steve and Colin take the monumental decision to purchase KFC on the journey, and the cast have a respectable arrival time at the Travelodge to have some chill time
Tuesday 3rd, Wednesday 4th May, Solihull Arts Complex.
Today is the start of our final run of the season, although not quite the last show, and we leave our comfy beds at 7.00am to start the journey to the Midlands. Pen makes her way to the A64 in Leeds to her pick up point. Nina has an even earlier start to get to Colin and Marie’s house for the 7.00am departure. Siobhan, Fay and Helene make their way to Wooley Edge services on the A1 ready to be collected by Bill. Steve and Colin are together discussing the final days of Sunderland’s football season and whether manager Steve Bruce should be sacked or not.
Today is quite an exciting day for Marie and Colin as John and Judith from the Retired Greyhound Trust (http://www.rgtmidlands.co.uk/) where Maisy the Greyhound was rescued from. Since getting Maisy they have formed a great friendship and this is the first time they have managed to come to see one of the shows. Naturally a meal is planned afterwards.
The shows go according to plan, John and Judith are suitably impressed and a nice meal is had.
This is another venue where we have the luxury of two days, and therefore on the second day we have no load in task, no ironing, and a lie in bed before we arrive at the theatre around 1.00pm
No sooner does it seem we arrive there, we are loading the van at 11.00pm and looking forward to a drive to Ipswich, some 3 hours away in preparation for a matinee show in Felixstowe.
Thursday 28th April. Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock.
Two shows ahead of us today, and then the prospect of the three and a half hour journey home. The latest on Jenni's throat infection isn't good and all emergency measures are now put into place. Marie takes most of the Solo songs, Helene steps into a few routines and Colin is on his own for Some Enchanted Evening. Things like this are great for keeping everyone on their toes. Oh the joy of show business.
So there we have the remainder of April and how it panned out. Only 5 more days to go and the tour is officially over. How will things change for next season???? Who knows! Who will stay, who will go? Will anyone not be invited back? Will the company have another contract to fill after the showcase in June. Lots going on.
Watch this space for the latest updates and the blog entry for May.
Wednesday 27th April.
Arts Guild Theatre, Greenock. Another successful days work with over 600 coming to see the show. Now planning a brand new multi million pound theatre to be opened next year, there is a certain excitement around the place that we also share. So many people have worked so hard to pull the venture off, and we wish them every success in the new venue.....and please let us come back to it!!!
Monday 25th April. Two days off.
The cast agree that rather than travel 6 hours home, and then back to Scotland again on Wednesday morning, the most logical thing to do is to stay in Scotland and chill. First stop Perth, and a new Travelodge that has just emerged. Add to that a brilliant food pub in the same grounds and who needs to go anywhere. Well, the dancers do of course. A shopping precinct next door too, and that is their time occupied for the next 4 hours. Pub and food in the evening and everyone is in major relax mode. Fantastic.
Next day we travel further south to Dunfermline ready for the short journey to Greenock next day. Helene has gone back to Nottingham for an audition and so spends the two days off doing a million train journeys, while the rest of the cast occupy themselves with various day trips. Marie and Jen go to a safari park, Bill goes to the bank in some coastal resort, the dancers go into Edinburgh for the day, while Colin and Steve take the lazy option of KFC and Travelodge bed.......not the same bed together by the way.
Sunday 24th April. Inverurie Town Hall.
Sarah is one of the first to arrive with yet another mountain of freshly prepared food. Bill Bill is already sizing up how big his doggy bag might be to take on our next journey. Thanks go once again to Frances Mitchell who done an enormous amount of work to promote the show in Aberdeen and Inverurie. Frances originally just one of the audience members with a love a live music who wanted to do her bit to make sure that live music and shows like ours still attracted audiences in smaller places like Inverurie.
Saturday 23rd April. Aberdeen Arts Centre.
Two very well attended shows. Matinee sold out! As ever the audience are fantastic and the cast are mobbed at the 'meet and greet' afterwards, signing what seemed to be thousands of CD's and programmes. Needless to say that Sarah has now appeared along with enough sandwiches to feed 5000 and there is enough food to occupy one full dressing room. For those not familiar with this ritual, Sarah is a friend of Debbie who out of the goodness of her heart goes to the time, trouble and expense to provide this food for the cast and children in the show. How many people are there like this in the world??????
Friday 22nd April. The trip to Aberdeen.
Now it is time to mix business with pleasure. A weekend trip to Aberdeen to see Debbie, Harry, Lucy and Rebecca, along with Sarah of course. Regular readers will know these names very well as our best friends who we are looking forward to seeing after what seems like a long absence. We travel on the Friday ready for the show next day, and seeing as the pub next door to the Travelodge contains an Indian restaurant, well, enough said.
A six hour journey to Aberdeen is not the most pleasant of tasks, but we get there safely, and Steve two bellies is trying to find the hottest curry on the menu for one bellie, and 35 popadoms for the other. A lovely night out for the cast and of course Debbie and Marie talk forever with so much to catch up on.
Wednesday 20th April. Whitley Bay Playhouse.
Back to one of our local venues, and a venue we have not been to since its refurbishment. Looking ever so splendid now after millions of pounds on a facelift, however it is very confusing backstage because of the new layout. A matinee only show makes it an easy day, and the rule of 'see the sea, must have fish and chips is broken'. Back in the house by 6.00pm is a very strange feeling on a workday.
Tuesday 19th April. Embassy Centre, Skegness
We are now fast approaching the last leg of this run and as ever we are asking ourselves where the time has gone to. It doesn't seem like two minutes since we were in rehearsals and now we are looking at 3 months break from touring.
Skegness is one of our newest venues but now becoming a very popular one with audiences. Over 550 in the crowd today for our matinee show and then we travel back home to do one of our local venues tomorrow.
Our backstage panic is building a little as Jenni has a throat infection and it looks like it could be a big one. The decision for today is that the show has only minor changes and Helene will stand in for Jenni in the Carpenters section. Marie is preparing to learn some of Jenni's major songs, and Colin is on standby to do 'Some Enchanted Evening' on his own instead of a duet with Pen. That should be interesting as that particular song has been a thorn in the side of both Colin and Pen when it comes to remembering the words. Funny how some songs just have that effect. We think that they are both mind readers as one of them always knows when the other is about to have a 'word blank'.
Great show, fish and chips eaten (its a rule that if you can see the sea you have to have fish and chips), and now the four hour journey home.
Thursday 14th April, Tamworth Assembly Rooms.
A normal day at the office for this one. Set up, do the show to a full house, pack the van ready to go, and then get a parking ticket on the van. This being after one of the theatre staff had asked the local traffic warden if we needed an official ticket on the windscreen of the van. The appeal is still in the process, and I’m sure that common sense will eventually get rid of the £60 fine. The cast now disperse themselves to various parts of the country for a few days well earned rest. Next stop Skegness, Whitley Bay and a lengthy stay in Scotland.
The Brindley, Runcorn, April 11th,12th, 13th
Three days in one place is a bit of a luxury for us and Runcorn is one of our most popular venues. Over 1100 tickets sold, and the cast are already planning some nights out, and what to do with all the spare time we have while we are here.
Graeme and the other tech guys are there to greet us, except for Jim who is enjoying a day off. Most blog readers will be aware of Alex our previous dance captain, who is here today with some of the children she teaches. It’s always great to see her and she is really enjoying her time leading a normal life. After all there has to be life after being on the road.
On the first night after finishing our matinee show, the girls are getting ready to paint the town red in Warrington. OK, so not the most famous place in the world for night life, but still its a great chance for the dancers to let their hair down. They visit Colin, Marie and Jen in their room before they go out, and they look absolutely stunning. Steve Paul is going with them, and off they trot looking better than a Wags party. Not long after they have left they text to say that Warrington is closed, there is nobody out partying, but still they manage to have a great night to themselves.
After the last show on Wednesday we pack the van, say our goodbyes, and travel to Tamworth. Just one matinee show to do on Thursday, and then we get a chance to go home for a few days.
Friday 8th April. Albert Halls Stirling.
Hello Blog readers… this is Helene here. I am writing the blog for Stirling. Today we have an evening show so all the cast have plenty of time to make their way up to Scotland. Me, Siobhan and Fay have stayed with Bill Bill so we decide to set off earlier and take the lovely scentic route through the countryside. On our way we have a stop at ‘The Last Cafe in England’ I was very excited about this moment and took some pictures and we also stopped again at the border between England and Scotland to take in the views. We finally arrived in Scotland 4 hours later feeling slightly travel sick due to the windy roads so we are all ready for a cup of tea. The rest of the cast arrive, the boys unload and Marie n Jenni have a cheeky scone at the theatre.
Everyone is set up and the first half of the show goes well. In the interval Fay calls the dancers onto the stage and reveals some mini chocolate chickens and lambs that have been given to us from a lovely lady at the theatre called Eileen (thank you). Very excited we take our mini chocolates and scatter them around the 50′s set ready to start the second half of the show. I was very excited to start the section so that once Marie and Jenni sing their duet I can eat my chocolate chicken. The rest of the show goes smoothly and everyone packs up fast so that we can go and buy some grub from the takeaway. A few of us head into the town to get the casts food.
We are all back on the road now ready for our 3 hour journey home and looking forward to 2 days off before shows in Runcorn and Tamworth next week.
A footnote for Stirling has to mention not only the fantastic support we get from the Theatre staff there, but also the excellent dancing skill of some of the staff at the back of the theatre during the show. Especially Eileen, who also very kindly made us even more welcome with a gift pack of chocolates. They did of course come back with instructions that some had to be taken back to the office for Joanne to enjoy. We did comply with this request.
Thursday 7th April. Lamplight Arts Centre Stanley and Consett Empire
Hi everyone Steve Paul here
Today is very exciting one for me as I’m in my home town HAPPYDAYS!! you’ll probably hear me say that a lot, the cast say I do anyway!!
So we started the day with an early get in to Stanley I had the luxury of walking to work but got to admit after the road miles we total up, it was very weird…but the sun was shining so I knew it was going to be a good day!!!
The cast and everyone were really good at putting me at ease on the day of reckoning although a few drinks wouldn’t have gone a miss too mind!! It was really strange to be back at the Lamplight (formally know as Stanley Civic) as last time i was here was age 12 to 15 doing pantos..and funny enough the place has never changed really!!..
So we went around doing our normal routines (Steaming and ironing costumes)..girls went out got the brekkys in!!…whilst I walked around in and out the theatre like a headless chicken as nerves were starting to kicking in!!
So showtime commenced had a great show and seen some familiar faces in the crowd!! including my parents, my sis Vicky, and my little nephew Rhys.. who was asleep when he came in but shot up bolt right in the chair (when i sang Buble) what can I say he has taste and he is our youngest fan..
and everyone enjoyed the show so HAPPYDAYS!! (see I told you I say it all the time )
So we packed up and were off to our next destination CONSETT EMPIRE THEATRE for the evening show…and the lads and stage hands have there work cut out so its all hands on deck to get out and go up to Consett…
Whilst this was going on myself and Nina ran down to Greggs to buy the place out of food!! I swear that girl can eat just as much as me if not more haha!!
So we got to Consett and the nerves were definitely kicking in now as I had what seemed like the whole of Consett coming to see me tonight. Family again and all my friends included….
Weird for me because my friends have never seen what i do for a living..and guess where they were sitting (front row) ARRRGGGHHH!!
We were going around the normal procedure when the fire alarm went off so everyone had to evacuate the building!!.. it was nothing to worry about though just false alarm!!..
Pretty much after that it was showtime!! and it was a fab show!! I have to say Consett has one of the best atmospheres (thanks to my family and friends lol) and best sound I’ve ever heard so happydays all round…
We went out to the foyer to do some signings with the cast so that was fun!! and signed my mates chest who I’m still not sure if he has washed it off yet!! Dirty boy!!!
Well happy reading and see you all in Stirling for more fun and games!!………
HAPPYDAYS!! Steve Paul x
Wednesday 6th April. Middlesbrough Theatre.
Hi Everyone, Colin here, and it’s my turn to keep you up to date in the blog. I’m so pleased that I got allocated Middlesbrough to comment on, and soon you will see why.
Our day starts with a bit of a shock. We are surprised to find out when we get there that the regular Stage Manager, Andy, is nowhere to be seen. We find out that he had a serious back injury, undergone surgery and is currently on the sick. Purely by chance he pops in to drop a sick note off and so we at least get a chance to see him and have a chat. He is currently on the mend and everyone at Timeless wishes him a speedy recovery.
Like I have said on stage at every show this season, we are so lucky to have met so many fantastic people in the last six years. From ‘Tech’ guys to Theatre Managers, Box Office staff, and of course audience members. With Andy missing its kind of like having a part of the normal team missing. His replacements were absolutely spot on, and helped with the set up with great speed and professionalism. No doubt Andy will claim he taught them everything they know!!!
This is an easy travel for us. Middlesbrough is only 45mins from home.
So why is Middlesbrough special for me I hear you ask??? Comedy is the answer. We have something like 70 theatres booked this year, and for me as a comic everyone is different and has its own ‘pros and cons’. Sometimes comedy can be very difficult, and sometimes a piece of cake. Only two things determine the outcome of this. Firstly my own performance (I am human after all, and there are times such as last March when my mother passed away, it is a little bit harder to be funny), and secondly, audience reaction. Reactions can differ for so many reasons, but for some reason I have always had an amazing reaction from the audience at Middlesbrough. It then becomes exciting before the show and you get that ‘let me get out there’ feeling.
The show starts and as we get towards the end of the ‘Movies and Musicals’ section I am getting ready for my first ‘patter’ break. As expected, the audience is as per usual, and my job is so easy from then on in. The strange thing is that as a solo performer I used to hate working Middlesbrough, and would often ‘die on my butt’. I’m sure most readers will understand that phrase.
After the matinee show I make a grave mistake, and after promising Steve Paul I would take him to the local shops with me for food. I jump in the van with Bill and leave Steve looking for me around the theatre. 35 apologies later I think he has forgiven me. I did manage to find him at the local ‘Subway’ and give him a lift back. That did help.
On the way home, Nina and Steve come with me in the van. I’m craving a Chinese meal, and stop at the nearest take away. With a beef and mushroom curry with egg fried rice in my hand we are ready for the short journey home. Within minutes Marie rings to announce that she has left her purse at the theatre………FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!!!! We double back, almost reach the theatre when Marie calls back to say she has found it……. ******** ********* ******!!!!!!!! Work that one out for yourself.
Oh, and while I remember I’ve lost a prawn. Yes, a prawn!! Out of a prawn sandwich!! Well, I actually lost it about two years ago in the van. Common thought is that it is living off any crisp crumbs we drop. I know it has to be there somewhere………
Next stop a very busy and unusual day at Stanley and Consett which Steve Paul will tell you all about. His local venue, and to say he is a tad hyper about it would be an understatement.
Thursday 31st March, Town Hall Theatre, Hartlepool
Nina’s Blog for the day
So we are in my home place of the North East. The girls cant wait to see the Angel of the North which amuses me and Bill as we think of it more as the tin man. We have two shows today and I’m looking forward to it as my Mam is coming today with my Aunty and Uncle. After a fitting of our knew white feather packs and silver bikinis for our Viva las Vegas routine we are ready to go. Our dressing room now looks like a plucked chicken but Colin is on hand to clean it up. The show goes down really well and my family loved it. Time for a quick break before show number two. Marie manages to get her beauty sleep even with a loud tap dancing class upstairs. This is our last show before a nice few days off and all ends well after another fun performance.
And so March has now gone. April is another busy month with 13 venues to get through. For now we enjoy a short break until Middlesbrough next Wednesday.
Tuesday 29th March. Broadway Theatre, Catford.
Wow, wow and wow again. This has to be one of the best results we have had in a long time.
Regular readers may remember in our blog for last season was that we had the second best ticket sales for a matinee at this theatre, only beaten by Val Doonican. Well Val Doonican, sorry and all that, but we have now beaten your record. With an amazing 730 seats sold for just one matinee show. Fantastic. Special thanks go to all at Catford, and thanks for a great day too. With a great atmosphere from the very start, even some major technical hitches couldn’t spoil the day. Poor Bill Bill had one of those nightmare days. It happens, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. We all have major blonde moments, today just happened to be Bills day. Bless him!! Fortunately most of the gaffs are ones which the audience would not even spot. We hope…..!! In the meantime here is a word from one of the cast
I’m Siobhan, one of the dancers and I’ll be reporting from our show in Catford. I live just round the corner so this was an easy one for me to travel to, just 5 minutes on the bus! I met the others at the theatre and of course we went for our ritual of tea and sausage sandwiches before setting up for the show.
I had 4 friends watching today so I was a little nervous. The show was also sold out so there was a great atmosphere. After the show we went to sign programmes and CD’s and meet some of the audience and I got to grill my friends on which were their favourite parts!
Once we were all packed up from the show we were all ready for food so headed to a local Chinese restaurant to eat. Everyone had been raving about this place since the tour started so I was very excited to try it. We all ate huge plates of noodles and sweet and sour chicken. It was delicious but we could barely move at the end! Then it was back on the road and on to our next venue…
Look out for a very special entry next time courtesy of Penni. Watch this space.
There, that didn’t take long. Here is that space.
Hello there ! This is Jenni (sometimes known by the cast as Pen), and I volunteered to write the blog for our visit to Salisbury this week.
Things went really well, in fact, so well there wasn’t really a great deal to write about that you haven’t heard already on previous blogs (audience was nice, Show went well, Colin and Bill ate Bacon Sarnies etc etc etc).
I have therefore decided that you (as an interested blog reader) may like to find out a little more about our Cast and am today posing as an intrepid interviewer and will do some backstage interviews and dig out some gossip !!!!!!
One of the most interesting things I discovered was that all of the dancers said that the Tom Jones section of the show was their favourite, in particular they all said they loved dancing the ‘just help yourself’ routine, not as I first thought because of Colin’s sexy moves, but because they all love the red costumes and the latin style routine. Colin however said it was one of his favourites because he got the chance to be sexy !!!!!
Marie had so many favourites in this show, she found it hard to choose her favourite but she eventually said the same as myself – the Eurovision section. (though I like 50’s too) Steve also likes a few sections but decided upon the 70’s section and the Michael Buble song as his favourites (mainly because he likes the suit he wears in that song).
Everyone was asked who they felt got in trouble the most backstage (ie who did things wrong etc) and not surprisingly the most common answer was ‘Colin’ even Colin voted for himself on that question, but added that he never actually does anything wrong. Sad when someone is in denial isn’t it?
Almost everyone stated that Ironing was the part of a show day they would gladly miss out. Which is no surprise because every costume that is worn on stage has to be ironed (or Steamed) before the show and as you may have seen, there are a lot of costumes so this can take a while. The only person that didn’t agree was Marie who quite likes ironing but said she doesn’t like it enough to do everyones ironing for them, so we will continue to do our own.
It would appear that the general concensus is that Helene and Nina are the most chatty and amusing backstage, they seem to make everyone smile or laugh the most, Fay and Siobhan are the quieter ones (well not that quiet really) and Marie is the best at sorting out emergency costume issues (she can sort out a dodgy zip in less time that it takes Steve to Velcro up a waistcoat !)
It was mentioned in my probing backstage interviews that Blog readers may be interested to know that myself and Marie talk rather a lot, in fact it has been noticed that we have been known to finish each other’s sentences sometimes too and that people sharing our dressing room don’t get a word in, it was also mentioned that we were both probably the most accident prone (well Maisy the Greyhound is more accident prone than us) . It was also accurately pointed out that blog readers should be made aware that in every show this season, the dancers and Steve, are always ready in costume and on stage, well before Colin, Marie and I, something that will probably never change to be honest!
Other interesting facts (well that is probably a matter of opinion) that we thought you loyal Blog readers would like to know are as follows……..
When Colin was a teenager he wanted to be a footballer and actually had spells playing for both Bolton Wonderers and Sunderland (he was stopped by an injury – otherwise he may have been invited to the Royal Wedding instead of David Beckham)
Nina’s favourite hobby (out of work) is attending Spinning classes. Her current food of choice is ‘Crisps’ though it used to be chocolate until Fay and Siobhan converted her during this season.
Fay loves Indian food and loves the Poppadoms and pickle tray in Dyce. She has two lovely dogs ‘Mia and Jack’.
Colin loves cooking and gets frustrated by the fact that myself and Marie never want Indian food so whenever Fay stays over in rehearsals, they try adventurous food together whilst Marie and myself stick with delights such as Cheese on Toast, Eggs on Toast or Beans on Toast.
Steve loves Football, supports Sunderland and can eat loads, he loves his food so much that Colin says he has two bellies !!!!
Siobhan brings her knitting on tour with her and is often found in the Travelodge continuing with her latest knitting project. She also is working on copying Nina’s accent and can already do a fairly accurate impression of Helene. She also wanted to be a Pet Shop owner when she was younger.
Helene still has a good tan which has lasted since she got back from working in Egypt. (Marie is very jealous of this) She loves singing in the Carpenters section in some shows and has a very infectious laugh. When she was little she had hoped to become an Artist
I talk in my sleep. Helene has started taking a footspa on tour. Fay massages her feet with a golf ball, Siobhan is so obsessed with Cheryl Cole she bought a special can of hairspray that has her picture on and Nina wants a gnome for her garden this year!
Bill-Bill was unable to be interviewed due to matters of national security and the official secrets act (well he was too busy) but blog readers may be interested to know that he enjoys keeping fit (he goes running when he isn’t working) and he works constantly backstage from the minute we arrive until the minute we leave – even during the interval he is building and moving props, loading the van etc. He also hides bars of chocolate in the van for him and Colin – he doesn’t know I know this!
Well that’s about it, on to the next venue now
Thursday 24th March 2011
HI everyone, this is Marie writing the blog for this weeks tour (mainly because I am frustrated at losing my voice and decided writing was a better option.) Thankfully my voice is returning to normal and I am on the mend which is great news for Jenni as she can return to singing her normal parts in the show.
This week we have three shows in Scotland which makes for a very very early start on Monday morning as we drive up to Rutherglen for two shows. The drive wasn’t too bad thankfully, though Nina probably does’t remember much of it as she slept (and snored) nearly the whole way.
It is Nina’s birthday today so we have had a little collection and bought her a card and a few bits and pieces. Jenni spent most of Saturday baking a cake for the occasion too.
Rutherglen was great we had two sell out houses and the audience were fantastic, singing in all the right places (which seeing as my voice is still a little sore I was grateful for).
After two shows we had quite a drive to contend with as we were staying the night in Dundee ahead of a matinee show on Tuesday. It was Jenni’s turn to sleep on the back seat of My car because she had a nasty migraine, but thankfully Helene was on hand to talk to Me and keep me going on the drive. Strangely upon arrival at the Travelodge myself, Jenni (who was coming round by now) and Helene found that we were locked inside my car. Now I know this sounds very odd but it’s true – somehow the car had locked itself with us inside ! We turned the engine back on and the doors opened so we did get out eventually.
Tuesday morning and after a good nights sleep (although not long enough in bed!!!) we were up and ready to go to the Whitehall Theatre in Dundee – this of course means a visit to Clarks 24 hour Bakery which Nina and Siobhan are looking forward to as they have never been before.
We unfortunately however, came up against a little problem in the car park of the Travelodge. It would appear our little problem of getting locked in the car last night was the start of a slightly bigger problem. My car seems to have developed an internal locking issue and this time wouldn’t let us in !!!!!!
Now not only did we need to get in the car in order to get to the theatre for our matinee show – but more importantly we had to go get our bacon sarnies from the 24 hour bakery!
I tried pressing the key fob from all angles and pointed it at various areas of the car – it didn’t open.
Jenni tried pressing the key fob from all angles and pointed it at various areas of the car – it still didn’t open.
Helene tried pressing the key fob from all angles and pointed it at various areas of the car – it still didn’t open.
Colin (who isn’t always too cheerful in a morning) got out of the van with that ‘girls are pathetic’ look on his face, grunted and took the key fob off us – he tried pressing the key fob from all angles and pointed it at various areas of the car – it still didn’t open – he got back in the van to watch as he didn’t have any further suggestions !
The only part of the car that would successfully unlock was the boot – and don’t ask me how but Jenni somehow knew that by climbing in the boot you could unclip the armrest that sits in the middle of the back seat.
Next thing we saw was Jenni trying to squeeze herself through the tiny gap in the back seat, reach over and put the key in the ignition, start the car and ‘bingo’ unlock the car doors.
That sorted we arrived at the bakery, parked the car and decided (very wisely I thought) to leave the car unlocked whilst we went in to get the bacon sarnies, just in case there was a problem unlocking the car again.
Bacon Sarnies successfully purchased we returned to the car to find a bigger problem, the car’s internal locking issue had further advanced to deciding (presumably for security reasons) that it would lock itself (seeing that we hadn’t) and we could now not get in again.
Yes you guessed it – in the middle of the car park we had to empty the boot and yet again Jenni had to climb in through the boot, squeeze through the hole in the arm rest and start the car in order to let us all in. !!!!! There were a few interesting looks from passers-by I can tell you.
The show itself went very well in Dundee – a good audience again and other than Steve thinking he had finished his song (when in fact he hadn’t) and randomly going to sit down, the show went without a hitch and we were soon packing the van and preparing for the four hour drive home and a day off before a show in Altrincham. Jenni is hoping that my car is fixed before then as she is getting a little bored of climbing through the boot every time we stop.
Monday,14th March 2011
OK, so we are late in the first blog posting of the season, but at last it is here, and with lots to report since our last posting.
Let us go back to audition time early in February. A total of 18 girls attended our dance audition with two dancers needed for our tour. A tough 2 hour audition is the task for dance captain Fay to put the girls through, and at the end of it all we have made our decision as to the girls we want. So welcome aboard Siobhan Minnis, and Nina Hall. Siobhan is originally from Yorkshire, but now living in London, while Nina is a local girl from Sunderland. The first local girl we have had for quite some time. More on the new girls to follow.
In the meantime here is a story from Maisy the Greyhound.
Hello everyone, I am Maisy. Colin and Marie got me from John and Judith at Retired Greyhound Trust East Midlands and Nottingham. If you are a regular blog reader then you will no doubt have heard of me when Colin has previously mentioned me in the Timeless Blog. If you are looking for a great pet, then John and Judith are the perfect people to talk to, and maybe you could give a loving home to one of my Greyhound friends. We really do make fantastic and loving companions. Check out their website at www.rgtmidlands.co.uk/
Colin seems extremely busy at the moment so I have, learned how to use the computer and decided to contribute to my upkeep (which is a lot of doggie treats and bones) and write the start of this years blog for him.
It doesn’t seem two minutes since the last show was on tour, now all of a sudden my house (which is always busy) seems even more busy with the rehearsals starting mid-February. First of all there were all the costumes to sort out, there seems to be lots of them and lots of feathers and sequins, they all take up a lot of room. It would appear that laying on top of the comfy feathery costumes didn’t Help Marie too much, but she did let me watch from my bed.
Thankfully most of the costumes didn’t stay in my living room, they were sent to Shirley (the Dressmaker) and presumably they clogged up her house instead!
When the rehearsals actually started they asked me if I would like to go along and watch (well in all honesty they got my lead out and tricked me into thinking I was going for a walk – then they took me to the rehearsal rooms somewhere about 20 minutes away). The rehearsal rooms consist of two main rooms, one is very cold and the other is even colder, but I was ok ‘cause my comfy bed was brought along with my fury blanket to sleep under. (I took my teddy to cuddle too)
There are a few new people this year – but let me fill you in on who is who (cause I know them all now)………
Obviously there is Marie and Colin – you should know who they are by now. There is Jenni (or Pen to her good friends like me) the singer who has been on tour with Timeless for over three years now (she turned up to rehearsals with a broken finger which she claims she did fighting dragons – she confessed to me though that she simply fell over a twig – stupid or what?), Steve who joined the cast last year (he is very very tall and his feet are bigger than everyone elses by miles), Fay the Dance Captain (she has two doggies of her own so she is easy to get along with) Helene a dancer, who is returning for her fourth tour (she is always smiling and laughing and I’ve decided she will be a good person to follow in the hope of getting extra treats) and then there are Siobhan and Nina who are new dancers (and seem to be very friendly – I intend to make them my friends too).
That is the cast but a lot more people seem to be involved in rehearsals and the preparation of the tour – I find it hard to remember everyone (I do have a good memory for those who give me treats though!), but I’ll try…… There is Bill-Bill the road manager, he is usually busy in an even colder room building props and the new set that consists of a 1950’s ice cream parlour. Sonya comes along to help with rehearsals (and brings me my favourite treats), Alex and Gemma the Dancer Supervisors come to teach some of the routines, Suzanne the Choreographer comes in and makes sure the show is perfect. Shirley sometimes comes with costumes that people need to try on and sometimes she brings her sewing machine too. Mary (Marie’s Mum) comes to sew things sometimes and then there is the most important person of all…….. Jo-Jo, (Colin and Marie’s PA). Jo-Jo is the most patient person in the world, always seems to be busy, has the most diverse job description in the world (that includes everything from accounts to dog walking) and always (yes always!) has doggy treats in her handbag – that is why she is my favourite.
Gosh rehearsals are hard work. Personally I lay in my bed and sleep for a couple of hours, go out for a quick walk with Colin, then persuade someone to give me a doggie treat (or if they have human food that’s even better) then it’s time for a nap again, more treats, more napping and then hometime. I really like sleeping and sometimes I open one eye and check that they are all still rehearsing. The cast seem to be a little busier than me in rehearsals though, they pretty much sing and dance for 10 hours per day and do this continually for 13 days!!!!!!! From about day 10 they bring all the costumes and use them to practice. Some of the cast get in and out of costumes really quickly – they call this a ‘Quick Change’ and have to practice to make sure they get back on stage in time to sing or dance to their song. Some of these ‘Quick Changes’ take a lot of practising – I usually continue to sleep through them.
During rehearsals this year there seemed to be a few things that stressed out the humans, One of which was very upsetting. Someone broke into our van whilst it was parked outside and stole things. Colin wasn’t happy and called the robbers ‘pond-life’! (among other names) The police had to come and it cost Colin money to repair the broken window.
The next day Marie locked her car and house keys in the boot of her car and the RAC man had to come out and break in to her car to retrieve them. Thankfully not too much damage, (even though it took over an hour to break in to her car) but Marie didn’t seem too happy that day.
I enjoyed following Helene the dancer around the rehearsals sometimes in between naps – she doesn’t seem to know that Dogs don’t usually get to eat beef flavour crisps and rich tea biscuits – good eh? I was quite excited to try on a couple of Helene’s Hats and let Jenni take a picture (I tried to look unimpressed though, don’t want to ruin my street cred). I also had my picture taken with all the dancers when they were wearing some wonderful feather costumes. I’m very pleased because this photo will be sent to my friends John and Judith at the Retired Greyhound Trust. They are spreading the word that us Greyhounds are great companions, very well behaved and extremely relaxed (generally asleep to be honest) maybe then some of my friends can be rescued by nice people too.
The rehearsals came to an end eventually and then the cast were ready to go on stage for their first performance, Whilst I will miss them all and thoroughly enjoyed my time in rehearsals I am quite relieved that I can relax at home in front of the TV now for a few months – well until the next rehearsals in August that is, I already told them I’ll be there then too, so they better all start saving up to buy me treats and bones.
More from me later in the year…………….now it is back to the humans
Customs House in South Shields is our local little baby, where we do four shows in three days, and therefore on to the first show. As ever there are plenty of first show nerves around. The backstage costume changes are just as difficult as the on-stage activity, and the new girls get to grip with the organised mayhem that needs to happen for the show to work. Fortunately four of the cast have done this show before, and so Colin, Marie, Jenni, and Helene have the additional task of keeping everyone calm when things get frantic.
Somehow the first show goes without any major problems, and for all on stage there is a major sigh of relief. First show over, routines are in place, costume changes made on time, well, most of them, and a successful show. Now the tour begins.
All four shows at the Customs House are done and dusted, the van is loaded and we leave to have a well earned two day rest before setting off on the first of our travels. This season is condensed into a shorter space of time than normal, with the tour ending in mid May instead of June, which means we are regularly doing 3 or 4 shows per week. Next stop is Hayes in Middlesex and of course back to Travelodges.
Tuesday 8th March. Beck Theatre, Hayes. The journey from Durham is so long for this one that we travel the night before. This also gives the cast a chance to chill on Monday night, have a drink or two, get some food and generally unwind before the matinee next day.
Updates so far…..Jenni’s broken finger is on the mend, but bless her she is still suffering some tropical disease after her holiday. Bleeding mozzies!!!!! Siobhan is the first dancer to lose some item of accessory and breathes a massive sigh of relief when she finds out that Bill picked the bracelet up from the Customs House. Helene is no longer amazed that Travelodges have towels (Regular readers will understand this). Fay is doing her dance captain role of checking that the girls are doing their routines properly, and the new girls are settling in very nicely. Steve has now cracked all of the lyrics to the new songs. Colin has his comedy breaks sorted, timed, and plotted out. Marie is no longer running around trying to get costumes ready for certain deadlines, and Bill Bill is confident that the lighting plot is now as it should be.
Todays show is yet again trouble free, and it is only a short drive to our next Travelodge in Surrey, ready for the Harlequin Theatre in Redhill tomorrow.
Wednesday 9th March. Harlequin Theatre, Redhill. Again just a matinee and the cast really have an easy week this week. Three matinee shows and then back home. Redhill is a theatre that we only visit once again instead of the regular twice a year. Normally we would do a matinee and evening show but with most of the audience attending the matinee, the decision is made to do just one show.
The normal show day routine goes ahead. Arrive at the theatre for 11.00am, girls get the boys bacon sarni’s, props are set, costumes are set, and then ironed. Sound system put up, and by around 1.00pm everyone is more or less ready for showtime. A good show, and before we know it we are travelling three and a half hours up the road to Cheshire ready for our show in Winsford.
Thursday 10th March. Lifestyle Centre, Winsford. Having arrived at the Travelodge at Warrington at around 10.00pm last night, the cast are well rested and ready for the 2.00pm show. This week we have had no children in any of our shows, and so the set up is a little easier as some of the props are only used when we do have children. A pre show meeting is organised with the cast to do ‘notes’. This is the chance for Marie to go through a video of the show and correct any mistakes that any of the cast are making, and bring in any new suggestions which would enhance the show. Not a great many mistakes to correct although there are some, and most of the cast have a least a few things that they need to be aware of during todays show..
The first problem to tackle today is the fact that we have interference on two of our radio mikes from a local radio station. Just a minor irritation but has to be done. Most of the cast are looking forward to going home after todays show with the exception of Jenni who is going back to stay with Colin and Marie in Durham. Maisy the greyhound has had her first taste of being in kennels since last year, but as she sometimes has the company of another greyhound called Pax, she is quite happy to see her second home.
5.00pm sees the van packed, cars loaded, and everyone is on their way. Unfortunately only one day off and then we venture back down to London, but that one day will be very much enjoyed by all.
6th January 2011.
A very happy and healthy new year to all of our readers and audiences. So the new season is being prepared and the race begins to get the cast, and the show ready for the first venue at Customs House, South Shields on 1st March. Not too much information to be given away at the moment. There are going to be a few cast changes, but the four singers from last season are still with us, and changes will be in the Dancers department. The new 'Memory Lane' show will feature many changes since touring in 2009, and we look forward to seeing you all very soon. Watch this space for news and updates.
Thursday 18th November, Chequer Mead, East Grinstead.
Here it is!! Final Day!!
Mixed emotions in the camp. We have a superb friendly team and this is our last time together for at least 3 months. Some of the cast may move on, as that's how this business is. Hopefully not, and we will re-group in February for rehearsals for Memory Lane.
Today is also Fay's birthday. We wont mention how old she is, but it aint 21. Jenni had already made two cakes which had been consumed over the past two days, but today is official birthday and Fay is greeted with a few cards and presents along with the customary rendition of 'Happy birthday to you'.
Steve, bless him, has already done all of his Christmas shopping and proceeds to hand out presents to all of the cast, and Bill Bill of course.
So with all of the formalities out of the way, the cast get ready for the 2.00pm show, only to find out at 1.55pm that the show is in fact a 2.30pm start. Long story!!! We wait the extra 30 mins, get on with the show and before you know it we are singing 'Thank you for the Music' for the last time. Erika can barely hold back the tears, and then she doesn't hold em back when Colin and Marie say their final thank you as the tabs close for the last time this season.
The van is packed for the last time, and another journey up the M1 for the last time. Bill drops Fay and Erika in Yorkshire, before taking Natalie home with him. Her car is sitting at his house ready for her to make another 3 hour journey home. Jenni and Marie share the driving as far as the M18 before Marie jumps in the van to join Steve and Colin on the last leg to Durham. With Steve dropped at home the van is parked up for the last time before being emptied and re-fitted with the new props/costumes for Memory Lane.
So, what a season. Nobody got sacked. Nobody left. Ticket sales were exceptional considering there is a recession. A lot more friends were made, and now everyone is off to do their own thing for a few months. Natalie back to Cheshire to unwind, then work. Erika to be a Gnome or Elf or something as well as doing a Tribute show in between. Fay is doing quite a few Corporate Events, while Lily is back to London to fill in her time over Christmas. Steve is booked to do a series of shows at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, while Jenni is doing a lot of Solo shows until February. Marie and Colin will be locked in the office doing all of the tasks that need doing for the next show. Mailing lists, leaflets, posters, as well as looking for other opportunities to promote the 'Timeless' shows. Bill Bill will keep forever occupied, and still do his twice a week eight mile jog.
Maisy the greyhound will be delighted that there are to be no more nights spent in kennels until touring starts next year.
So thats it folks!! To all our readers we thank you for your continued support and we wish you a happy and healthy 2011. The tour dates will soon be on the website, and we look forward to seeing you all next year.
Wednesday 17th November, Broadway Theatre, Catford.
The journey to London last night was not such a bad one, apart from a detour around the Birmingham area which Jenni kindly routed. Problems on the M6 caused this one, but adding only 20 minutes to our journey wasn't too bad after all. We stay in London City Airport Travelodge, which happens to have a bar and restaurant, and it would be wrong of course not to utilise the facilities provided for us. Meeting point the bar, and a good couple of hours chat before sloping off to bed.
Although relatively new to us, Catford is becoming a favourite. Expecting almost 700 in the audience we are still the second best selling matinee show there, beaten only by Val Doonican. One of these days Mr Doonican we are going to beat your ticket sales.
Back to having props on stage means a full get in, but with a round of bacon sarni's to keep us going, the world is not a bad place.
The show goes like a dream, and soon we are sitting in the local Chinese Cafe looking at the noodle menu. The portions are so big that even Steve (two bellies) struggles to finish off some very tasty food indeed.
Just an hours drive to Gatwick tonight, and so with Chinese food in belly we depart for our final show tomorrow. Arriving at the hotel is a nice surprise, as they also have a bar. For the boys this is a bonus as the England v France match is on TV tonight. Boys in the bar, and when the girls find out, they join the party. Jen and Marie being almost tea total, skip the bar and watch 'The Apprentice' instead. England get beaten 2-0 but at least it occupied a few hours and gave the boys something to curse about.
Dudley Concert Hall. Tuesday 16th November.
Unbelievable. The last week of touring is here. Just three more days of travelling, ironing, setting up and performing. From a company point of view the last few weeks have been amazing, with ticket sales for almost all of the shows hitting much higher figures than expected.
So, to today. Dudley. A very early start from home, and 7.00am is not a time that singers/dancers enjoy being out of their warm beds. As ever there are delays on the M1, and we are late arriving. Nothing unusual in this for our trip to Dudley. We always end up being late. Still no big deal as the get in is way easier than normal. As there are no tabs (Curtains), we are unable to use any of the stage props, and that means only the sound and lights to set, and then on with the ironing.
A massive 500 in the audience means that the atmosphere is great, and before we know it, we are stuck in more traffic as we travel to London ready for the show at Catford tomorrow.
Thursday 11th November, Pavilion Theatre, Felixstowe.
Not the sort of place you want to be arriving with gale force winds and torrential rain, but that's what we got. Last time we arrived here there were folk on the beach with buckets and spades. Not today!!!
We travelled the day before, except for Lily, due to the 5 hour journey from home, and so just a short ride from Ipswich gets us nicely on time to do the get in.
A minor panic when we get a phone call from Lily to say that her train from London has been stopped, and a major delay is expected. With some juggling of replacement trains, and the help of Roger the stage manager, we get her collected by car, and all is saved from having to re-block the show till a dancer arrived.
Marie is out of this one, but is driving to Penistone for tomorrows show.
All in all a good day, and we set off for the 5 hour drive to Barnsley.
4th November, Barnfield Theatre, Exeter.
Who can believe that not only has this week flown by, but now we are looking at just two weeks left of the UK tour. Frightening, it has only just started.
So, two shows today, and then a Travelodge, followed by a 6 hour journey home to Durham, Cheshire, London, Hull and a few other obscure places where the cast hideout while not working.
Fay is back with us this week showing off her tan from Spain. A great time was had by all out there, and she even beat her boyfriend Dan at crazy golf. Gemma has gone back to London, and has even embarked on a Event Management course in preparation for her retirement from dancing in a few years time. Good luck Gemma
We now also discover that Lily holds the record for the fastest clothes rail builder. Boy the cast must be bored now if they are timing each other as to how quickly they can build a metal clothes rail.
The Barnfield Theatre is another of our favourites. A small theatre, but with a great atmosphere. Jenni is the popular one today with one friend coming to the matinee that she last seen 16 years ago, and another two coming to the evening show. Must be nice to be popular.
The only downside to Exeter is the lack of space in the wings to store props. Tiny. The stage is quite small too, and so not all of the props are used. With one of the stage monitors going off just before showtime, the first half is a bit of a struggle, but the repair happens at the interval and normal service resumes.
Our customary drink with the staff at the end of the show ends a good days work, and then it is off to Taunton Travelodge for the night. Lily is getting the train back to London in the morning while the rest of the cast head north.
Next week comes Felixstowe and Penistone and getting ever closer to the end of the run.
1st/2nd/3rd November. The Brindley, Runcorn.
Yes, three days at the same venue. Bliss!!!! Only one get in and get out in three days. Some early nights and late mornings to look forward to, and more important, only having to iron the costumes once in three days.
A 2.00pm show rather than 2.30pm means an earlier start than normal, and a 10.30 arrival at the venue. Within minutes we are made welcome by Graham, Jim, and Pete our good tech friends. Within only another five minutes Graham bangs his head against the top of the van while loading, and is soon getting staples in a deep cut. Not the sort of start that everyone had hoped for. The other boys take delight in reminding Colin, Steve and Bill that Sunderland did in fact get beaten by Newcastle by 5 goals to 1, and some rather blue language starts filling the theatre. Just as well the public are not in yet.
One of the first familiar faces we see is Alex. Alex is Graham's girlfriend and was our dance captain for more than 2 years. This is our first season without her and it seems very strange to be talking to her, without her actually being in the show. She looks so well, and is enjoying her new job of teaching dancing.
This afternoon we are also looking forward to seeing Jamie Rae and Danielle Sharp. Jamie was with us for almost two years, and only recently left to work for a large management group in Blackpool. His workload is vast, but he finds time to come to see us, and it is great to see him again. While talking in the dressing room we get a call from Danielle to say that she has broken down and is not going to make it. Danielle was Marie's understudy for quite a while, and although we are disappointed, she promises to try to make it tomorrow.
Natalie is receiving plenty of praise today as she learned how to put up a clothes rail for the first time. Only two weeks to go of the tour and .......well, at least she knows now!! Todays major howler that nobody knew about belonged to Jenni. After our Seekers section, she gets dressed into her Irish costume which is a massive cape. Well, she should get dressed into the cape..........but didn't. Then she heard the music over which she should be singing, and proceeded to put the cape over very little, well nothing in the way of clothing. If only the audience knew.
Only an afternoon on the first day, and so we get back to the Travelodge, dump our cases, and head to the pub over the road. Jamie joins everyone, and we all tuck into a Toby carvery for a fiver.
Day 2. Two shows, matinee and evening.
Danielle makes it and it is fantastic to see her. She sits out front and enjoys the matinee show. Enjoying that is until the last five minutes when things went very pear-shaped. After Colins solo comes the second half finale starting with Jive Talking. All was good until Jenni, Steve and Colin were in front of the tabs singing Banner Man, and then the music went off, and started at Jive Talking again. OK, so it is blind panic, but we cant let the audience see that it is blind panic. We know what has happened but now we have to correct it. Jenni does a fantastic job of talking to the audience while Colin nips backstage to sort the problem. Within 30 seconds we are back to Banner Man, and the world is wonderful.
Day 3, Matinee only then off to Devon.
So our last day of luxury before setting off to Devon. Over 1200 people have been to see the show, and it doesn't seem like two minutes since we arrived. The cast have had a nice break from early mornings and late nights. The dancers have found Morrisons to get the odd bottle of relaxing juice. Not Erika of course, she just headed for the cake section. Bill and Steve got plenty of chill time, and Colin taught Jen a little more in the art of poker. Neither won the free entry tournament, but Jen gained a bit more experience.
Show over and we head for Devon. 3 hours says the sat nav, and it is only just past 10pm when we get there. Two shows tomorrow in Exeter, but for now thank you Runcorn for a great 3 days of shows, rest and no ironing.
Saturday 30th October. Garrick Playhouse, Altrincham.
One day off doesn't seem a lot, and before long we are back in the car and the van, heading across the M62 towards Altrincham, near Manchester.
Gemma is with us for the last time today, as Fay returns from her holiday today, and will come back into the show on Monday at Runcorn.
We get a visit from Mike Palmer and his girlfriend Jenny Furness. Mike and Jenny did a ship contract for us a few years ago, and are working nearby. Good to see some friendly faces again.
This is one of the 'there and back in a day' venues, and although it is a long day, it means that there are no Travelodges to find at midnight. Two good shows and it is off home. Tonight is Jenni's last night staying with Colin and Marie before making her way home to Hull. Lily and Erika are off to stay with Natalie tonight, and have a glass or two of relaxing juice. Both Natalie and Erika have family in the audiences today, which is always good for the nervous system.
Four days to look forward to next week, but for now its a day off. The boys are looking forward to the local derby match between Sunderland and Newcastle, while Marie and Colin need to head to Whitby to do some research for a possible Goth show. Yes, you read it correctly. More to follow as it happens.
Thursday 28th October. Arts Guild Theatre, Greenock
As we fast approach our day off, we head for two shows at Greenock. Amazing ticket sales mean that we are playing to two full houses, over 800 people. Superb!! This theatre is about to be replaced with a purpose built building in a year or so, and we wish them every success in the new venture. We are looking forward to being part of the new chapter.
Jenni knows where to get great bacon sarni's here, and so takes the rest of the cast to share her local knowledge. Naturally Gemma is still with us and has done a fantastic job filling in for Fay. Marie is still out of the show, and still busy doing lots of work in the office with Joanne.
In-between shows Jenni takes up Colins normal position of lying down in the van for an hour. Signs of tiredness are creeping into the cast. Not surprising with 6 shows in 3 days. Then just to make life even more tiring there is a three hour drive home after the show tonight. Arrival time at home around 2.00am. Both Steve and Colin and showing signs of voice fatigue after both suffering colds recently. Jenni also copped for the cold bug but vocally is coping better than the two boys. No comments on that one please.
Excellent audiences and a good days work by all. Both Steve and Colin last out, and have a chance to let the vocal chords recover tomorrow before two shows at Altrincham on Saturday.
Wednesday 27th October. Whitehall Theatre Dundee.
Less than an hours drive from Travelodge to theatre, and sure enough Raymond is at the door ready to meet us. Raymond is our Theatre Stage Manager who we have known for quite a few years now. Rapidly approaching a decent age, and announces that this could be his last show with us. I hope not. One of the great characters in the theatre world and very good at his job. Ben assists, and within no time we are in and set up. For our regular readers, you may recall that Dundee is the home of Clark's bakery. There is no better bakery in the world. Open 24 hours and to be used by the cast on at least 3 occasions during the day. Breakfast, in-between shows, and then after the show on the way to the next Travelodge.
Steve's two stomachs are gonna love this place. So will Erika when she sees the amount of cakes they have.
Two excellent audiences, and three trips to Clarks make it a good day. Ben does a superb job on lighting, and before we know it, we are heading back to Dumbarton to find the Travelodge.
Tuesday 26th October. Rutherglen Town Hall
Back in Scotland yet again. A 7.30am start from home gets us to Rutherglen bang on time at 11.00am for what should be a very easy get in. Rutherglen is a typical town hall venue which does pose us some problems. There are no wings as such which means we cant get any props on stage at all. Hey ho, not the end of the world, but with the added complication of stage exit only on stage right, a lot of thinking needs to be done as we go through the show.
Fay our dance captain is now enjoying some sunshine in Spain, and therefore we bring in Gemma Edmundson. Gemma has done quite a few contracts with us, but more recently has become more involved with choreography. It is a pleasure to see her when we arrive, and straight away the girls set down to work, going over some of the routines with Gemma.
Bill Bill our stage manager has a very easy time of it, being that there are no props to sort, and before long the show is up and running in front of two sold out houses.
Fortunately Colin re checks which Travelodge we are going to tonight and finds that we are not going where we originally thought. That saved at least an hour in travelling.
So the first day of a busy week is over as we arrive at our Travelodge at 1.00am. Eight shows in four days is a tough stint, and it is an early rise tomorrow to get to Dundee.
Wednesday 20th October, Middlesbrough Theatre.
Again quite local for us, only 45 minutes drive. Also high on the list of one of our most popular theatres. Over 800 people coming to see the show today. By far our best result here. Of course not all theatres are this well attended, and there is a recession out there, so we are eternally grateful that we have a very loyal audience who come to see us on a regular basis.
This is also one of Colin's favourite theatres. As a comic, audiences can vary as to their response to comedy, but for some reason, Middlesbrough is one of his favourites.
Marie is back in the show today, before bowing out again for next weeks run to Scotland. Natalie's knee problem is sorted, and it is Fay's last show before she goes on holiday next week. This is one of those special holidays, as it was won in a competition. 5 star luxury awaits her, and the rest of the cast are very jealous. Gemma Edmundson will replace her for 4 shows. Gemma has done this show before in one of her previous two contracts with the company. Gemma also teaches the dancers in UK Dance Mania, the dance troupe out in India. On this front, the company now have two versions of this troupe in India. One in Goa and one in Bangalore. The Bangalore girls having travelled just two days ago.
Back to Middlesbrough. Two fantastic shows. Brenda and her keep fit club are there again, occupying 100 seats as usual. Now for some peace as we have almost a week before our next trip away. A very busy few weeks coming up, and we'll keep you up to date.
Friday 15th October. Albert Halls, Stirling.
With all day to kill, we head off for Stirling at midday. Park up, and everyone heads into town to do different things. First of all food!! Last time we found a nice little place called Hole in the Wall, or something like that. Cheapish, cheerful ish. Bill Pen and Colin set off in search of presents for the children who appear in our show. Nothing elaborate of course, but a little something from us to them as a thank you for taking part in the show. Then Bill discovers that it is his wedding anniversary and he has forgot to buy Anne a present. Oh dear!!! Hot water me thinks!!!! An emergency visit to M & S and he gathers a bouquet to take home to his nearest and dearest. Colin and Pen end up getting 30 childrens presents. Pen is a great bargain hunter when it comes to these things and good with the ideas too.
All that done, it is almost time to do the get in. First visit box office to say a massive thank you to Eileen. I'm sure she threatens the public of Stirling with 'buy a ticket or have your legs amputated'. Best ever sales figures for us here with over 500 in one show. Also the best selling show at the Albert Halls this year we hear a rumour of.
With so many people in the audience, the atmosphere is fantastic. A couple of problems to tackle today. First of all Natalie has a knee injury and it is getting worse. Again we are forced to change a lot of the routines to use only 3 dancers. Not only that but Marie is not with us on this Scotland run. It is the first time that Erica has taken her place in some of the sections of the show. 'Jersey Boys' is one of them, but she must have done a good job as we find out afterwards that some of the audience enjoyed this section so much that they have bought tickets for a 'Jersey Boys' show at Albert Halls in a few weeks time.
Colin has also been using one of Eileens gags in the show. Thanks for that one, keep them coming. That applies to all our audiences too. We enjoy getting your feedback, requests for songs, and of course the odd gag or two. Keep them clean or Colin will get beheaded for being too rude!!!
Everyone on a high from the show, we travel home. 3 hours should do it, and then a short break until Middlesbrough.
Thursday 14th October. Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock.
An early start. 7.30am to be precise. Not a perfect time of day, and any entertainer will tell you that. A three and a half hour drive gives us our normal 11am arrival time, and a chance to tackle the tricky 'get in'. Theatres vary in this department, with some very easy ground level entrances. Others like Kilmarnock have a first floor entrance for all of the equipment, and are not as easy to get the contents of the van to where they need to be. Still with help from the tech guys, we get in, and get set up.
Just for boring detail for those who want to know. Get in and set up normally takes the following format.
Job number one. Pen and Marie are responsible for getting bacon sarni's for Colin and Bill. Bill takes control of setting lighting, and props. Colin sets up the sound system. The cast get their costumes out of the very large trunks used to carry them. Costumes are hung on rails at various points backstage, and then all costumes must be ironed. And people think that show business is glamorous. Most costume changes are done at the side of the stage as most of them are so quick there is no time to get to a dressing room. Yes it gets a bit chaotic at times, especially in a theatre with limited wing space.
Kilmarnock is another theatre which continues to grow in audience numbers. Around 750 will see the show today, around 100 up on our last visit.
Two great shows, and great kids today. Margaret Bunton is the dance teacher here, and she has been with us for 5 years now. Its always a pleasure to see her.
So Stirling tomorrow. A night at a Travelodge somewhere near Stirling is only an hour away, and next day the cast get a chance to have a lie in bed. Only an evening show, and so we travel when we get booted out of the Travelodge at midday.
Wednesday 13th October. Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre.
One of our local venues just 35 minutes from home which means no early morning start and a nice sensible arrival time home. One sad part of today is that it could be the last time we get to see the theatre manager Ernie Merillees who is retiring. Ernie has looked after us for some 5 years now, and we are grateful for all his help. Here's wishing you a long and healthy retirement.
With Jenni travelling with Marie, there have been no 'pop master' sessions as per last season. Steve and Colin had a great start on their first 'pop master' together scoring 24 points, but since then it has gone all downhill and seldom have they even hit double figures. For those who don't know, Pop Master is a quiz on radio2 hosted by Ken Bruce, every weekday morning at 10.30am. Perfect time for us while travelling, as we are almost always driving. With 3 in the van next week, we should hit better results.
Fay is back to fighting fit after her migraine, and a fully fit cast ease their way through two shows.
Early start tomorrow to get to Kilmarnock for the first of two days in Scotland. Hope there is no snow.
Sunday 10th October. Inverurie Town Hall.
Sunday carvery did in fact happen, and we discover that Steve has two stomachs. He must have to eat that much food. Erica is the only person to have desert. About the 10th time this season for that one. Definitely a chocoholic. Everybody fed and watered, we travel the 20 minutes to the venue.
Not our normal sort of venue this one. A typical Town Hall with very limited wing space to store props during the show. Very limited lighting options. On the plus side we have quite a loyal following in this tiny Scottish town who come to our every show. Special thanks at this point to two people. First of all Frances Mitchell, a fan of our shows, who contacted us and offered to do lots of publicity in the area, and who Colin had the pleasure of meeting before the show. Secondly Sarah Littlejohn. Without fail every time we arrive in Aberdeen, Sarah greets us with the biggest mountain of food you can pack into a four-wheel drive. A true saint, and Sarah, your efforts are truly appreciated.
Half way through the show we were sent a little reminder that it doesn't always run smooth in show business. Our dance captain Fay is hit with a very bad migraine, proceeds to throw up, and for the first time this season we are forced to re-plot most of the routines for the second half of the show. Not easy with only 15 minutes to do it in, but we did it, and I'm sure the audience didn't notice a thing.
Needless to say that Fay has an early night, while everyone else meets in Debbie's room to finish off Sarah's food, and the ample supply of wine that sits on the table. Jenni and Bill party poop at around 1.00am and hit snoring time. Colin is not far behind and well and truly snoring when Marie and the rest of the cast finish the party at 4.00am.
Next morning Bill leaves early with the girls, Jen and Marie travel together in the car, and the boys enjoy the luxury of the van for the next 6 hours. Next up Hartlepool on Wednesday.
Saturday 9th October. Aberdeen Arts Centre.
And so the travelling continues. We set off later than planned the day before, on the six hour marathon to Aberdeen, and for regular readers of our blog you may remember that Aberdeen is a bit special for us, as our great friends Debbie and Harry, with children Rebecca and Lucy (and dog Benji of course) live in Aberdeen. This gives us a chance to catch up, spend a bit of time together, and enjoy a little tipple in the Travelodge after each show.
Marie is still in the shows but Erica is getting prepared to take over some of the songs when Marie gets trapped in the office to keep on top of the ever increasing paperwork.
The journey to Aberdeen takes the expected 6 hours, and we are met at the Travelodge by Debbie and Harry, who are very eager to drag us to the pub who are taking last orders for food. Who are we to argue with a proposition like that. Food and drink sorted and all of the cast chill before two days of shows.
Aberdeen Arts Centre is more or less sold out, thanks to the help of Debbie. Everything goes according to plan, and Steve is now master of the handjive in the Grease section. Easey Peasey!!!
Tomorrow is just one evening show at Inverurie Town Hall. Sunday carvery is already beckoning.
Wednesday 6th October. Wyllyots Centre, Potters Bar.
Without going into too much detail, a very important day for us with some very important people in the audience. So much so that Colin and Marie's PA Joanne, makes the trip to London to act as host. It is the first time that Jo has been on tour, and gets introduced to life on the road.
The cast sit down after a few drinks to watch a DVD of the last show with a view to correcting any mistakes, and generally cleaning the show. Fay has done a great job as dance captain, and the dancers are looking very very tight as a group.
Jo and Colin meet our guests, the show is ready for the off, and with tickets sold out, there is a good atmosphere in the place. Jo is also on duty to video the show, just to confirm that Steve still cant do the hand jive in Grease. Oh dear!!!!
Show over, back in the van and cars, and another 5 hour drive home. The week isnt over yet and there is still a 6 hour marathon drive to Aberdeen to come yet.
A very busy two weeks, but then a short chance to catch up on some rest before it all kicks off again.
Monday 4th October. Winsford Lifestyle Centre.
Just a short trek from the Travelodge to the theatre. Apart from Erika getting a foreign object in her foot in the first half of the show, not a great deal to report. Oh yes there is. Jen split her 70's trousers, and had it not been for a good strong safety pin, the audience might have seen a different type of 'Timeless' costume.
Part of the weird week is that we get to get home after this show. Just for one night, and then travel to London again tomorrow ready for the matinee show on Wednesday.
Maisy the greyhound comes out of the kennels on Tuesday, and thanks to Marie's mother Mary, who is going to dog sit, she gets to stay home until the trip to Aberdeen on Friday.
Sunday 3rd October, Broxbourne Civic Hall. The start of a very busy week of mainly travelling. London, Cheshire, and back to London in short. Travelling to London the day before the matinee show is a must, and so the cast set off Saturday tea time to get a few hours chill in the Travelodge close to Broxbourne.
Steve and Colin are in the van listening to the end of the Sunderland v Man Utd match, and a healthy 0-0 draw keeps them relatively happy. Bill Bill collects Fay, Erica and Natalie on the M1, while Jenni and Marie talk each other to death in Marie's new car.
The show goes without a hitch, and there is a rumour that Steve did get the hand jive right, although it was not on video and therefore not proved.
Mark and the super quick techs, get us out of the theatre in quick time, and we start a 3 hour journey up to Cheshire ready for Winsford tomorrow afternoon.
Of course the journey is lengthened by an accident on the M1, just for a change, and the 11.00pm arrival makes it time for a quick bite then bed.
23rd September, Customs House, South Shields. Our last day here, and also our last show for 8 days or so. A very pleasant thought, and a well earned rest for all of the cast. It has been a very tiring spell, with 12 days of rehearsals, dress runs, and then travelling to Skegness, Solihull and South Shields for our first three venues.
The curtains at the Customs House are still not working, so still on duty are the two hunks from yesterday. Colin's phone is not working and O2 have issued a loan replacement. How does life go on without an iphone??????
Most of the cast travel home after the show. Natalie back to Cheshire, Erika and Fay drive back to Yorkshire, and Lily stays with Bill until tomorrow morning when she jumps on a train back to London.
Jenni is off home to Hull too. Her dad Jim is having a rather important birthday party, and so she leaves the Timeless household for the first time in a month. My word it will be quiet in there.
Steve's major decision this weekend is where to watch the Sunderland match on Saturday.
So, next stop Broxbourne, London. Lots of office activity happening with the possibility of shows in Churches, Lebanon, and Germany. Watch this space.
22nd September. Customs House, Day Two. Two shows today, with the evening show sold out. Time I think to give you a run down on the new cast, and the old. Just to refresh the brain cells a little.
So, apart from Colin and Marie here is a snippet of the cast.
Jenni Tarr. Jenni is now in her 6th season with us, and is part of the furniture. Not only is she a singer in the show, but also spends a lot of time helping Colin and Marie. She organises all of the Dance Schools up and down the country, and helps with any other task that might crop up....and it does. Jenni is one of Maisy's favourite visitors to Colin and Marie's house. Maisy for those who don't know, is the pet greyhound.
Steve Paul. A new starter this season, and lives only 5 miles from Colin and Marie. Most singers these days base themselves in London for work purposes, and so it is very unusual to find a male singer in County Durham. A very likeable, pleasant, and polite 30yr old, who is a Sunderland fan. Quite fitting that Colin and Bill are also Sunderland fans. You can probably guess what the topic of conversation is backstage. Steve's biggest fault.........'Marie and Colin are yet to see a video where he does the handjive properly in the Grease section'. Oh, and ladies........he is now single......!!!!!
Bill. Our Stage Manager. Bill has been with us from the very start, and gone from knowing nothing about theatres to an excellent Stage Manager. Bill Bills job is to cue all lighting, change all of the props on stage, and generally make sure the show runs smoothly. Bill and his wife Ann also look after the girls during rehearsals. We hear that Ann spoils the girls with fantastic food, and lots of mothering.
Cordelia Fay. In her second season with us, and now Dance Captain too, which means that she is in charge of keeping the dance routines clean and tight. So far, doing a brilliant job of it too. Fay is one of those quiet, sensible, pleasant natured type of person that you like to have around you. Now the proud owner of a new Fiat too, which looks very sporty and posh.
Erika Wilkinson. One of the three new girls in the cast. Lives just a short distance from Fay in Yorkshire, and so they are now travel companions. Erika is the bubbly one in the cast, who wants to know the far end of a far......oooppps, no swearing allowed, and to say that she is the chatty one is an understatement. A lovely girl with a great personality on stage. You can spot Erika singing as Sandy in the Grease section.
Natalie Cox. Another of the new girls, living in Cheshire. Natalie is in the same mould as Fay, with a quiet nature, and with an obsession for writing things down. Especially dance routines. Poor girl went through about 34 notepads in rehearsals, making sure she had every minor detail written down. A real perfectionist....and that can only be good. Natalie performs a solo ballet section in the 70's section
Lily Philips. The last of the new girls, living in London, and now getting used to spending hours travelling around the UK. In the past we have avoided having anyone from London in the cast, but now with cheap rail travel etc, anything is possible. Lily is another of the quieter girls in life, who just gets on with it. Exactly what a production company needs. Lily can be spotted in the sexy bikini in the 1960's section of the show.
Maisy the greyhound. OK, so not really a cast member, but a part of the Timeless family. Only with Colin and Marie for 5 months now. A rescue dog who ran a lot of races at Monmore greyhound track, and then like most greyhounds was cast aside when she was no longer useful for racing. We got the video of her last winning race as a keepsake. Well done Maisy my Lady. She had her separation anxiety problems when first brought home, but is now well settled in, and is discovering that the settee is quite a nice place to have a kip.
So, that is the cast.
The show itself?? Now it is right, now we have it the way we want it, and now we are getting the response we expect from the audience. The tweaks have worked. Pity the front curtains at the Customs House didn't. They broke during the first show, and had to be pulled by two strapping hunks of volunteers from the venue.
Today the two shows went amazingly well, even if Steve didn't get the handjive right again. His family are coming to watch the show tomorrow so we might just see a few nerves.
We had the children from Karen Shiel Dance School today. Karen's mother Shirley is one of our main dressmakers, so it was good for her to see some of her work on stage, even if she was viewing from the side.
21st September. Customs House, South Shields. Our home theatre, our little baby, where we started this whole theatre show story some 5 years ago, and oh how things change eh? In our first year, this would have been one of eleven theatres we toured. This year it is one of seventy. Not possible without the support of the fantastic audiences who attend our shows time and time again. Thank you isn't enough to all of these lovely folk.
And so to work. 11.00am arrival, Ali the tech manager is there to greet us, and before long we are loaded in, the girls are now experts at ironing, everything is prepared and it is time to rehearse the children. For those not too familiar with our shows, we have ten children in most of our shows, and these are chosen from Dance Schools around the country. They learn their routines from a DVD, and then we rehearse on the day. Today is the day of our choreographer's dance school, Suzanne Stuart. Her assistant Sonya is in charge, and has done a great job of teaching the children. Sons (our nickname for her) is also involved with a lot of the preparation of our shows, helping Marie with costumes etc, and generally helping where help is needed.
Some minor alterations have been made to the show since our first show at Skegness. With a lot of new material in the show since its last outing in 2008, it takes a few tweaks here and there to make the show tight. One or two running order changes, costume changes are in order today, and after viewing the video we can decide if it works.
The show goes without any hitches, and at 5.00pm the cast are on their way home. Doing three days here makes life easy when it comes to sleep and rest.
Tomorrow two shows, and time to give you a little more info on the new cast, now that we are getting to know them all a little better.
Friday 17th September, Solihull Arts Complex. Our second venue, and the routine is taking shape. Jenni and Marie travel in one car. Steve is with Colin in the van, and Bill has the dancers in his car. All organised. Solihull is one of our regulars, but due to circumstances beyond our control, we can only do one day instead of two. The nice outcome being that both matinee and evening are both sold out. Good result. Apart from Marie splitting the back of her trousers in 1970's, there have been no major embarrasing issues, although I'm sure this will change over the next few months. The new cast seem to be settling in quite well. Two good shows and we arrive home at 3am Saturday morning. Thank heaven for a few days off before we do our local venue, Customs House, South Shields, for three days next week. New readers can also read our blog at http://timelessinternational.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/autumn-theatre-tour-2/ or http://timelessinternationalproductions.blogspot.com/2010/09/autumn-theatre-tour-2.html
September 2010. For our regular readers, our blog will take a slightly different format, with the most recent entries at the top of the page, which will hopefully make things easier to find.
So, we are back blogging.......and where to start. Lets start with the introduction of the new cast. Male singer Steve Paul replaces Jamie Rae. Jamie has been offered a management deal in Blackpool, and remains close to the top of our Christmas card list. We wish him every success, and look forward to seeing him at Winsford. Our new dancers are Erika Wilkinson, Natalie Cox, and Lily Philips.
Rehearsals start 29th August with a costume fitting day, which gives everyone a chance to start getting to know each other. This is the most cast changes we have had in quite a while and it does take a while for everyone to gel as a team. Costume fitting not too much of a chore, and Shirley the dressmaker is looking forward to having some sleep during this busy time, which in itself is quite unusual. Karen, our other dressmaker is almost finished all of her work, and so Marie might sleep well at night knowing that costumes are reasonably under control.
Normal rehearsals resume on 30th August and the cast get their first taste of life in the deep end, with a gruelling 12 days ahead. Cordelia Fay our dance captain keeps the girls up to speed with what is required etc, and before long we are getting stuck into what seems like a million routines.
Rolling back the Years toured the UK back in 2008, but there are many new sections being placed in the show, with new songs, new costumes, and new dance routines. Even Colin has to learn a dance routine this time in the new 'Jersey Boys' sections of the show.
After 12 days of solid hard work, the cast get two days off, and most go home for a well earned rest. Dress rehearsals are planned for Monday 13th September with the first show at Skegness on 15th. SCARY !!
Dress rehearsal is as it should be..... a total disaster!!! Bad dress run, good first show is a common belief in this business.
So Skegness is upon us. The cast travel the day before the show, and enjoy a night off before the jitters of first show. We arrive at the theatre in good time. The tech crew are great at Skegness, and help Bill Bill our stage manager to get us set up. Costumes are ironed, sound checks are done and we are off. As first shows go, this was not a bad effort at all. One or two squiffy bits, but you come to accept these. Especially as they are ones that the audience wont notice.
Feb 2nd 2010, and here we go again. Its almost time for the rehearsals to start. 13th February and we will be in full swing. Of course there are lots of things to report since our last entry, but the biggest and most devasting news is that Pippa sadly died on 29th January. Our regular readers will know that Pippa was Colin and Marie's greyhound. Her illness was very sudden and unexpected. Already a massive loss to the Timeless family household. God bless her!!!
On a more jovial note. The cast changes for this season are as follows. Helene Lewis done us a massive favour by going to India to cover a contract out there until April. Her replacement is Katie Scott, from Cambridge. Gemma Edmenson has left us to persue her career in London. Her replacement is Hayley Smith from Sunderland. Jo Campbell is off to do a short term contract, and is replaced by Cordelia Fay from Penistone near Sheffield.
Rehearsals under way, and the cast soon get to know each other, and the personalities are already shining through. Hayley is the party girl, Cordelia the quiet one, and Katie the older/wiser one.
The rehearsal rooms are freezing cold. Thats England in February for you. Alex, our dance captain is teaching all of the dance routines, and the girls soon warm up. The singers meanwhile are learning harmonies, and also welcome Ruby Turner as the new swing singer who will cover Marie for half this season. Ruby is from near Lancaster, and has worked with us before on the Norwegian Cruise line. Ruby replaces Danielle who has landed a fantastic contract with Carnival Cruises and will be travelling the world until October. Good luck Danielle, and welcome back Ruby
Rehearsals go as planned and the only headache is the amount of costumes which are not ready, and just generally wrong. Poor dressmaker Shirley spends the last two days of rehearsals with not one hour of sleep. Working through the night to get everything sorted. Of course by the time the first show comes, she does finish it all, and apart from the odd accident with zips, the costumes do stay on!!! Well most of the time.