Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Samantha Live!

Well, I'm back from the Clue recording and it went about as swimmingly as it could have! There are pictures, but the ones taken in the theatre are decidedly blurry, due to the zoom on my camera not being sufficient, me not being used to the various settings on the thing and the fact that one of the ushers was a little too strict about the 'No photography' thing. Still, I'll post a couple at the end.

Now, if you don't want to know who the guest panellist was until you hear the radio broadcast (in June), look away now.

Stephen Fry.

Stephen Flippin' Marvellous Fry

Sir Stephen of the Fry-ness.

Result! I was hoping for Jeremy Hardy (given we were at the home of the English National Opera, that would have been apt) by Sir Fry-ness was a more than acceptable alternative, given the fact that I'm a huge fan (and even wrote a letter to him, to which he wrote a really nice reply!)

Anyway, to start at the beginning - I got into London at around 11am and proceeded to Mornington Crescent as something of a pilgrimage (I thought it appropriate - after all, I would, hopefully, be watching a game that night and so seing the place for real would be the perfect start to the day)

On the platform, having just got off the Northern Line train.

I went up to street level (by lift - MC is one of the few remaining Tube stations with lift access), went through the ticket gates and saw - rain. Chucking it down, it was. Luckily, I had my brolly, so I dived out, and crossed the road to take the following pictures:

The Station from the pub doorway opposite (umbrella framing device entirely my own!)

A slightly damp me in front of the station - the thinning hair is purely a trick of the light (he wrote hopefully...)

I went back into the station, having first noticed the statue in the pedestrial area in front of the station:Closer inspection reveals it to be of Richard Cobden (link to Wikipedia)

What I forgot to do, of course, was take a picture of the Blue Plaque erected in the memory of Willie Rushton (mainly because it wasn't until searching Wikipedia for the Richard Cobden link above that I realised there WAS a Blue Plaque! Rats! - that means another trip in due course...)

I re-entered the station to continue my journey around town (pausing only to take more pictures of myself:

That's the last of the pictures of me, I promise)

I killed a few hours at the British Museum (which was heaving - unsurprisingly, given it was a Bank Holiday Monday and it was still raining) and Oxford Street (where I found a die-cast Dalek keyring is, of all places, Marks and Spencer - my local branch had a few before Christmas, but I hadn't bought one because I was hoping for reductions in the January sale - of course, no Dalek keyrings were in the sale) I did hope to find the Dalek Egg Cup M&S did for Easter, but no luck.

Eventually, I went off to King's Cross station to meet up with my friend, and (after a most enjoyable Indian meal near Charing Cross Road) we walked over to the London Coluseum. Huge crowd assembled in front of the theatre - a good mix of ages, which slightly surprised me (though it really shouldn't have done) . On a counter in the lobby were SIGNED copies of Humphrey Lyttleton's anecdotal memoirs "It Just Occurred to me - The Thoughts of Chairman Humph" (amazon.co.uk) for sale - so I bought one.

Entering the auditorium, and finding our seats, on stage were the tables covered in a BBC Radio 4 sheet, and (at the back) a piano:

A mirky pic I know, but you can just make out that there are 6 microphones - two each for the teams, one for Humph and one for - yes - Samantha! So, the rumours that Samantha is a completely imaginary entity can be dashed right now - what other proof does one need? :)

Jon Naismith came on stage and did a little 'warm-up', telling a pretty awful joke that made the audience laugh in much the way you'd expect a pretty awful joke to do - he asked for a show of hands to see who in the audience were first timers to a recording and it appeared to me that almost the entire audience were newbies! (that audience, by the way, was in the region of 2400 - according to Naismith, the largest audience (not including the radio listeners) they had yet performed to - I'm proud to be a part of Clue history!)
Next, Naismith introduced the teams; huge cheer after every name, and a seriously huge cheer for Fry. Next came Colin Sell and finally, Humphrey himself. Samantha was slightly delayed, attending to a few personal matters at the back.

The show started. I won't discuss all the rounds, or what songs were performed (though I will say that Stephen Fry got almost a standing ovation for his effort in "One Song To The Tune Of Another") but at one point, Humphrey made a comment about having celebrated his 86th birthday two weeks ago and Colin Sell struck up with the tune to "Happy Birthday", and the audience sang along. If you have never heard "Happy Birthday" sung by nearly 2400 people in a theatrical setting...

One round that didn't seem to do very well was an attempt at a "Life on Mars" spoof, which I suspect will either be dropped completely, or will be severely cut.

An interval followed (mad dash for the bar) then the second half, and the second week's show with the moment everyone had been waiting for - Mornington Crescent! This match involved a new Mornington Crescent computer game joining in - if it gets left in the broadcast edition, regular listeners will recognise the voice of the computer (and that's all I am saying)

A couple of pictures of the cast, though as stated above, they are not particularly good:

(L-R) Stephen Fry, Colin Sell, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Humphrey Lyttleton, Jon Naismith (Samantha had to slip off at this point to attend to an urgent call of nature), Graeme Garden and Barry Cryer.

And finally, a shot of the laser Display Board (I think being held by Samantha; a stagehand was having difficulties with it, and she had to pull it off):

It may be difficult to make out, but the display shows "Kingdom"...

So. I've seen Clue live. Would I do it again if I got the opportunity? Yes! Being in the presence of so many people all determined to heartily enjoy themselves, makes the whole experience 10 times more fun, being able to join in the traditional audience responses without having people in the home/office/bus look at you askance is a great relief! I may even try to get to the tour the cast is doing with Jeremy Hardy ( a sort of "Greatest Hits" - not for broadcast and being performed at a number of theatres in August and September, with the possibility of more dates next year)


Sosia said...

I've just found your write up from the post you left on the Goodies Rule OK site. Sounds like you had great fun too! (My write up for the very same recording is at http://sosia.wordpress.com/2007/05/10/a-birthday-treat/)

Anonymous said...

WOW thanks for the write up Paul. That makes me even more keen to travel half way round the world to see Clue!!