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Blog: Bringing The House Down

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Last Friday afternoon found myself and Mr S Hewitt on the train once again, heading for Leicester, where we were due to DEBUT Still Valid at the Leicester Comedy Festival. It's AGES since we last did anything like this but we fell into our ROUTINES easily, although it must be said that our usual habit of "doing lines" (i.e. talking through all the words and lyrics for a show while sitting next to each other EN ROUTE as opposed to any OTHER kind of "doing lines") is a bit different when there aren't, technically, any LINES as such, just a general idea of what we're meant to be doing. On the upside, this means it's a lot harder to get it wrong!

We arrived in Leicester and checked into The Ibis, tho NOT in our Usual Rooms this time, as they had been REFURBISHED. It SMELT like they had been refurbished very very recently - the whiff of carpet glue was so strong I had to leave the windows open the whole time I was in there! Despite this my Ibis Afternoon was as enjoyable as ever, especially after receiving a text from Steve almost as soon as I'd got in. "Yes Minister on Yesterday!" it said, and I LEAPT for the TV remote control.

It wasn't all TELLY tho - we are PROFESSIONALS, and bravely missed the end of "Pointless" in order to get to The Criterion on time for "soundcheck" (i.e. saying "we don't need a soundcheck"). It was GRATE to be back, and we were relieved to discover that, despite the change in management, they were still selling Pizza. PHEW! We met Sam, who was doing the door, and explained our needs (i.e. lights on and off), and then were soon joined by a whole HEAP of pals who'd come to see us. It was lovely!

The show itself was a bit of a worry to start with as this was the first time we'd EVER performed it in front of ANYBODY in ANY way. Previously we'd have had at least a script reading at home AND a "rehearsed reading" in front of An Invited Audience before even TRYING to do it for a Proper Audience, so would have some idea of it being OK, but this time there'd been none of that. My nerves were definitely NOT calmed during the first section either - I could dimly see people SMILING out in the room, but couldn't hear any LARFS. This reached it's most TERRIFYING point when we got to the "what a twat" line in 20 Things To Do Before YOu're 30. That nearly ALWAYS gets a big LARF, but was received in SILENCE on this occasion. Had we made a TERRIBLE MISTAKE?!?

Happily, as it turned out, we hadn't, and things warmed up A LOT as we went along, so by the end people were CHUCKLING away like nobody's business. It also ended up becoming a GREAT deal of fun to actually DO. Compared to previous shows it felt like we'd LEAPT from the first couple of rehearsals STRAIGHT to the bit where we know exactly what we're up to and can MESS AROUND, cutting out entirely the tedious six months or so of WORRYING and not knowing the lines. Clearly DEVISED PIECES are the future!

Afterwards we were hanging round chatting to our various PALS when someone - I believe it was Mr CM Lawson - said "Come and have a look at THIS!" I followed him out of the bar to the PORCH area, where I could see it was POURING with rain outside... and the rain was HOT. So hot, in fact that it was STEAMING. WOT on earth was going on?

Closer inspection showed that it was actually water pouring through a light fitting in the porch, coming down through the ceiling from upstairs. The management had been informed but didn't seem to be able to do much about it, and a small CROWD had gathered outside to watch it. I went and stood outside with them, and was just asking whether we expected anything else to happen when something DID - the CEILING in the porch FELL DOWN!

It was all very exciting - most of the pubs that I've ever played in in Leicester have been demolished, but it's never actually happened AROUND me before!

After that the rest of the evening dissolved into BEER and YACKING, so it was a Comfortably Merry Hibbett who staggered off back to the Ibis, via a now dry door, happy with how it had all gone and rather looking forward to doing some more!

posted 21/2/2017 by MJ Hibbett

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