I recently went to see a West End theatre show. What I saw there is of little relevance. These shows pretty much all involve men and women prancing about on stage with the sorts of garish costumes that would make Lady GaGa seem like a school librarian, while simultaniously singing and throwing their limbs and facial features around the stage in a manner designed to be noticed by anyone within our solar system.
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it and came away wishing I were a drag queen, but I digress. The luvvies and dahlings on stage weren’t the people I was really watching. The real characters are in the audience.
The Man With No Concept of Space
When I purchased my tickets for this weekend’s sing-along-a-sequin, I was warned by the vendor that the seats were subject to a restricted view. I didn’t realise that’s because they were stationing me directly behind a meat mountain!!!
The Man With No Concept of Space (all 6’7″ of him) never misses a performance of any show and he’s always sat directly in front of you. His head is equally as gargantuan as his overly bulksome carcass, to the point that you swear you just saw something metal and shiny bearing the word NASA orbiting past his left ear. Unless you’re a basketball player, your chances of seeing anything but the top half of the set (and the lard rolls of his neck) are slimmer than a whippet’s nipple.
It is my belief that this hulk of homo sapiens was a former chorus dancer himself and had to quit due to an injury sustained while performing a particularly tricky umbrella/chair-based dance routine. What other explanation is there for him having to stretch his
aeroplane wings arms above his head and roll his neck every twelve minutes?
In case you thought you could slyly lean to one side of this brute to catch a peek of the stage, this man also managed to call ahead and reserve the safety railings as his own personal coat stand, thus ensuring that every inch of space in your peripherals is now taken up by his very existence.
The Girl With No Concept of Time
You’ve got yourself to the theatre. You’ve even made time to get yourself a programme and pre-order your flat, tepid interval drink and have located your seat. The excited buzz of the audience dies down as the curtain lifts, the opening act commences, you’re just getting into it and… in comes The Girl With No Concept of Time.
Making sure to tread on as many feet as possible and shove her buttocks in as many faces as she can, she has the entire row perform a reluctant Mexican wave as we all stand to attention while she apologizes to each in turn, muttering something about how she was just buying a drink/parking her car/getting abducted by aliens.
Settled in? Good.
Oh, wrong seat.
Up we all get again as she stomps in your handbag and spills her plastic cup of red wine on your lap and makes her way to the row behind so she can let them have the pleasure of performing the Mexican Wave of Resentment and you can enjoy the feeling of getting whacked in the back of the head by her shopping bags (why do people who are always late have so much baggage?!)
Think the ordeal is over? Guess again. You know full well she’s going to make the same discreet entrance after the interval.
The Girl With No Concept of Bladder Control
I, like all humans, need water to survive and I also, like all other humans have a biological filtration system that results in a need to relieve myself of this water. Ever since I was a child, I have learnt to control the resulting need to micturate so that I can perform tasks that involve being away from the powder closet for more than 1 hour at a time. Not this girl.
In case you hadn’t already enjoyed being ripped from your seat at the start of the show and were too impatient to wait for the post-interval posterior-to-face shufflings of The Girl With No Concept of Time, this girl will keep you on your toes, literally, by needing to attend to her bladder at least twice during the show, usually during the good bits.
The Couple With No Concept of Silence
Sitting just to a few seats from you will be the couple who didn’t manage to finish their conversation during pre-theatre drinks. They also didn’t manage to finish it in the queue for tickets or the orchestra’s warm-up. In fact, this conversation is so riveting that it won’t be finished until well into the second half of the show.
Asking this pair to put the proverbial sock in it will only result in slightly more hissy whisperings, still audible above the strains of I Dreamed A Dream and which lead to the even more annoying and equally loud shushing from your fellow audience members.
The Couple With No Concept Of Silence seem oblivious to the arena of respectful quiet surrounding them and can’t understand why their private conversation should be stunted by Billy Elliot, Priscilla, Queen of The Desert or you, Annoyed Theatre Goer in G-26.
This pair of parakeets clearly need to keep their strength up during this epic gossip-fest and thus they have prepared a picnic. How delicious. How rustly.
Not for them a cotton bag of marshmallows, no, they have carefully selected their snacks for your listening pleasure. Crisps, nachos, individually wrapped boiled sweets; anything that snaps, crackles and crunches and comes in the crinkliest of plastic wrapping. If they made “break glass for snack” packaging, they would have brought that too.
The Man With No Concept of Anything
This delightful character will be accompanied by a long-suffering and well meaning enabler. The Man With No Concept of Anything will have a million questions about tonight’s performance and their enabler has yet to furnish them with a notepad to jot down their multitude of questions for a more convenient Q&A session. These questions will be asked now. And in 3 minutes. And in 6 minutes…
This chap’s rather handy if you’re a bit lost in the plot due to some part of the show being obscured by the Girl With No Concept of Bladder Control’s bottom shuffling past but if like most people, you manage to keep up with the basic plot of a show aimed at humans of 12 years and over, you, like me, will find the continual “Does she end up dying?”, “Why is that one dressed like a cat?”, “Is that her husband or her father? I can’t tell because they’re singing.” really rather irksome.
So you see, the real show isn’t up there on the stage, it’s right there in the seats next to yours and mine. All these people need are a few more sequins and jazz hands and they could sell their own tickets!