The Lowry and Jackson’s Lane have been Nogged!
What an incredible few weeks it has been for the intrepid Noggin the Nog team. We have been up motorways and down, in sleet, snow and disgusting excruciatingly priced coffee! Though have we been daunted … NO! Last weekend saw the good people of Manchester/Salford and North London getting well and truly Nogged! And there’s a lot more Nogging to be done, (slip over to the Where and When page to find out where and when … funnily). We have the last little leg of our initial tour to do and then major work on organising a second tour in the autumn and possibly Christmas. But we do have some wonderful reviews to help us to sell it this time … I’ve put the links to the reviews at the bottom of this post and also, if I can work out how to do it, in the side bar … I’ve always wanted a side bar … somewhere handy for keeping tea, soft drinks and hot buttered toast!
Last weekend was cold … as you probably know … we did get-ins in sub-zero temperatures and only moaned a little bit but the audiences turned out in their thousands, well, hundreds … hurrah! The Lowry was a splendid place to be and a wonderful and happy team of front of house and back-stage crew helped us to make the day a jolly time. The Friday night in Salford consisted mainly of eating at The Matchstick Man or Men, I can’t recall … a public house where drinks of all sorts could be purchased (we went for Ovaltine and Cocoa) and a Mammoth Fish Supper (there wasn’t any mammoth in it, I was quite disappointed). And then early to bed, like all good actors. The following morning, we awoke, did our Nog Army exercises, brushed our toothy pegs and leapt into the van, lively and invigorated! We pulled our van (it is actually an old ambulance and has been wittily named, the Nogbulance) up to the dock doors of the theatre next to an almighty articulated beast of a lorry and felt very small. On enquiry, we discovered that the truck was for Marty Pellow’s kit … for it was he who was performing on the main stage. The Hollies were due too … so, with the over-fifty year old Noggin the Nog, we felt in good company. The stage crew helped us haul, heave and hump our kit onto the stage and then began the task of lighting it. This is where the Mr Anthony Gleave comes into his own. He talked them through all of the lighting, sorted out the projectors and conversed about technical things; a conversation that seem to consist mainly of numbers, widgets and terribly unlikely names … but they all seemed to know what they were talking about … frightening! Meanwhile, the rest of us stood around and wondered if there would be a cup of coffee and a biscuit organised soon.
By the afternoon we are set up and ready to go … the audience enter and there was that wonderful expectant buzz that accompanies all audiences … the adrenalin begins to flow. We get the all clear and wait for the house-lights to go … a hush settles on the audience and Max enters with a big bass drum. He stops, stands and looks at the audience then, boom, boom, boom, boom … after the drum, he growls, as only the Men of the North can do … and the audience chuckle: the show is going to be a good one! And indeed it is. At the end of the show and after the applause, which was warm and long, we stayed and chatted to the audience until the Front of House staff were champing at the bit. For us, this is one of the nicest moment of the event … chatting to the audience. We do it after every show … it is a chance for us to meet the people who we are performing the play for, and as we rely on them to help us make the show a success (we really are all in it together), it seems only right that we should have a natter.
The last member of the audience leave, the Front of House staff have picked up the sweetie wrappers and discarded fluff and lost items and we start to clear the stage. All that, only a few short hours ago, we humped and heaved onto the stage, we now heave and hump back into the van. The back doors of the Nogbulance are eventually closed and four weary but happy performers say goodbye to the Lowry and head for London, through snow, sleet and even more excruciatingly overpriced and average coffee and another bread based snack … where we set up and do it all over again for a different but equally lovely audience at Jackson’s Lane.
I really wanted to put a photograph of the Nogbulance there but I haven’t got one … I will remedy this in time for the next or the next next post … so keep watching this space. The next leg of the tour, during which we are hoping for more seasonal weather, we will be riding the Nogbulance hither and thither, bringing the good people of England, the wonderful and, as a young member of the audience at the Lowry said, “well-wicked”, production of The Saga of Noggin the Nog.
See you all there!
Here are the links …