So November 7th comes around, the moment of truth (otherwise known as the arrival of BADco ). I’d spent the night with my cousin in Earlsfield – ostensibly to avoid the 7am train from Wivenhoe- but seemed to spend most of the night preventing him from approaching the Stanford String Qtet (who had just performed a Janacek in a night club) and telling them that Stanford must be chuffed to bits. After a few pints this cricket related gag was high in the frivolity stakes – its only in the re telling it lacks something!!
Clutching my BADco flier I wait at international arrivals all sorts of questions going through my mind – will we get on? Will they get through customs? Have I got everything under control? Will it work?
After what seems an age those electric doors swing open and the company emerge. Warm hand shakes all round, polite conversation – so far so good. The plan is to do a lot of this tour by train and we head off for the train to Victoria – complete with baggage in every conceivably shape, size, colour and container. The porter (easily the most jovial member of staff Ive ever come across employed by Network Rail) does an extraordinary job getting the kit down to the platform and deserves every penny of his tip –(and me a Yorkshire man who hates tipping!)
BADco’s first experience of British Rail though is not so good – practically standing all the way to Victoria whilst an oversize dog snoozes in first class. Talking of first class our baggage practically blocked the door at the front of the train – but even that didn’t stop one superior customer who forced his way through to take his superior class seat…and all for the five minute journey from Clapham Junction to Victoria.
Our hotel is the budget Chelsea Lodge – its not the grandest of establishments but the company are putting a brave face on it. It is however convenient for the theatre and the staff are friendly – even if they did manage to loose one of the bookings! Mind they were better than Exeter Great Western who had completely lost the booking – note to self theres never any harm in double checking!
Then its onto the theatre where we are given the warmest of welcomes by Francis Alexander and his team. Francis builds up an immediate rapport with the company – exchanging stories of European travel, directors and work. Chelsea Theatre is an extra ordinary beacon for live art – whilst its wider environment is the jet set of high street ken its immediate environment is an affordable housing scheme!.
Marty and Alan are quietly beavering away in the space which will be the smallest on the whole tour. Its not long before we have to make a call into Stage Electrics – the tables wont double as the practicable (known over here as staging/steel deck) and running the lighting desk from the stage will require a longer lx cable. But then the bomb shell hits – we have the wrong sort of table – not only in Chelsea but in every venue on the tour so far. Marty and I hit the phones…
…a solution is beginning to emerge. A vehicle is hired (until tomorrow we’re not quite sure what type of vehicle – hopefully a people carrier) that will stay with us all tour. Tomorrow we head off to IKEA to buy some trestle like tables – but importantly – with removable table tops!! Lovro will have his first experience of UK driving and hopefully by mid day tomorrow we will be back on track…all be it with a significant hole in the budget!!