Monday, 27 July 2009

And back to reality!

Ahhhh what a joy to return to the day job.... welcomed with a smile, open arms and an update on what had changed or happened over the week. A question/ interest about how my week had gone and a query after my well being and of course the best bit of all my pay cheque!

Ha! And then I woke up!

Barely a grunt when I arrived..... and the response to my questions about any updates I might need, was I'll tell you as we go along... which generally means, I'll be corrected and blamed when something goes wrong..... which could be anything from now to 6months+

How I have missed being the door mat. How I missed the witty banter and intelligent conversation the fact that until Friday of last week.... I hadn't even thought about the three letters that make my world the purgatory that can only be imagined by those not experiencing it direct!

The only mammal that gave me a huge welcome was the dog... waggy tail and all! Even kisses... without the lure of food... even that was a novelty!

And the best bit of all..... there's been another cock up on my money.... and guess who is not being paid this month and as the boss is on a fornights holiday there is no specific way of knowing when I might get paid. Life just gets better and better.

So let me see what's the cunning plan..... well that is the $64,000 question.....

Answers on a post card...... or alternatively, watch this space.

I have to say the idea of not returning is looking more and more likely, previously it was because they were paying my bills, now they aren't even doing that! So the incentive for going back on Thursday is................ ummmmmmmmm desperately trying to work that one out? Not!

Watch this space.


Sunday, 26 July 2009

Henley Fringe Festival Day 7/8

As I write this I am now sat at home, in front of my much loved (and missed laptop!). Next time... I will not be leaving it at home because I can't carry it. I'll leave somethingelse at home instead! Though what that might be is open to conjecture.

So much to write and not really sure where to start. In this round up of my first ever festival.

Last night I was holding out for a massive audience. The sort of audience that comes out of the woodwork.... the ones that knew they were coming all along just hadn't booked in advance! And so perhaps unsurprisingly for the 6th night running I watched another packed audience (for Abigails Party) leave the space & I went another shade of green... and it so isn't my colour. This group have worked SO hard during the course of the week, they deserve all the success they get. But I still couldn't help but feel a little sad. How did they sell so many tickets that I couldn't. We spoke after the show and Evie has said we can talk about what they did. But its not all bad...... 2 people did stay behind to see my show, after Abigails..... woooohoooo all of 2 people. AMAZING!!

Once again the audience loved the performance (mine that is!), but they were a tough group to crack! The night started with a ticketing problem which Jo handeled beautifully but the old bag sat in the front row and promptly stared at the floor for the whole night! What was that about........ I normally get a giggle right at the beginning when I say the bit about Jerry using card board cut outs to make the place look busy and then folded them down when the table was taken properly..... I look around the audience, pull a quizzical face and say.... "hmmm note to self!"..... not a titter... absolute silence... which was pretty much it (outside of the expected applause) until about "Where in the World is My Prince?" which is only 2 from the end. The good news is that "Chin Up Ladies" was pretty much right! Yeah! And Leigh will never work with me again (if he has any sense :-))

And that was it ... the end of Festival. After packing up costumes and taking the bar stool out we popped into the Rose and Crown for a final drink with Michael. He was with some South African Friends who were lovely. Once again it was all a little uncomfortable! And I had messages today about being missed and how he'd had the best few days! Oh hum.

Frank and I had a lovely evening and even had something to eat from the Kebab Shop (Leigh... read it and weep! ;-)) It wasn't the Festival Party and I missed having more of a converstation with the photographer (also a Taffy) but I don't like those sorts of situations. Better to be in a warm Aga filled kitchen having a cuppa.

Yesterday it came to light that there had been some ticketing issues. No shit! Closer discussion with a number of different audience members and other performers who had also had the same issues (at least 3 shows) appear to have suffered from "full messaging box" on the box office numbers. My Mum had even experienced a less than satisfactory response from the box office, when seeking assistance (having finally got through!) I have to say its soul destroying to get this feedback when your a late show (9pm) and the locals of Henley are not the sort to take a punt on there being tickets available on the door. When your flyers say "sold out west end shows"... it would be a natural assumption that they should not waste their time... I can't even construct the email to the Fringe yet I am so disappointed. I know what the response will be... we have teething problems.. its only our second year, it'll be better next year. Great! What about all the unsold tickets for this year! Buggar! No answer to that other than - sorry? Hummm chances of that happening. Bets on a Postcard please?

So for now, the bags are unpacked, the washing drying and the prospect of the day job looming after sleep tonight is one that I don't really relish. Have I been put off the Fringe? No I don't think so. Would I go back to Henley? Yes but I'd like to do somethings differently. Will I do more fringes?.... never say never is my motto... watch this space. For now I have an open air gig on Thursday to prepare for. That's assuming its happening & the council hasn't thrown its dummy out of the pram ........?

If you've enjoyed reading I might carry on.... if your really unlucky!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Review as published Friday 24th July

Here it is!! The critics view of my show:-

Check out for the full report.

"Leanne Masterton sings with passion & intensity"

"Her voice filled the Green Room & would have filled 3 more. It's powerful yet subtle"

Not bad for a migraine filled performance!!! That's my quote..


Henley Fringe Festival Day 6/7

Well here I am having my customary nap before rollering up - my hair not a joint!!

Last night was lots of fun!

It started with Penny's arrival & boy was I glad to have a friend around when things started to go tits up! We hadn't even had a drink!No sooner had Penny settled into the digs than Leigh called to say he had missed the plan A train AND the plan B train (London comes to stand in torrential rain!) & at one point we were going to be 30 mins late starting but a plan C meant we were just 5 mins late in the end, which was quite amazing!!

I love having spies in the audience as I know afterwards what people ate thinking/ saying & it seemed to be all good.

Supper last night had been very lovely, Rory was huge fun poor Michael must have felt like a spare part! But true to his promise Michael came to see the show again & brought friends with him. Pen, Leigh and I popped over to the Rose and Crown for a swift drink before supper to say hello and then we ended up having a curry with him which he insisted on buying. It transpires that he was widowed before Christmas last year and I suspect quite lonely. He is lovely company and very witty, talks about his family and of course "Molly" his cat. But I was feeling a little awkward as it felt like he had become clingy.... I was reassured by Pen it wasn't my imagination! Now what was I going to do! He wanted to meet up today and we said we didn't know quite how the day was going to take us so he wasn't to worry if we weren't at the pub at lunchtime.

Penny had warned me that she snored... and I am pleased to report that the ear plugs worked in the main and I was only slightly exhausted. Classically having surfaced from the night before, and faffed around we hit the town.... and the Sales! And possibly the most important meal of the week.... FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST!! Yeah! So we (Penny & I) went to the "Buenido".... we didn't set out for this establishment but it looked lovely from outside and it was packed (always a good sign! Unlike my shows!) so a I stalked for a while and pounced on a perfect table by the window. It was a perfect English Breakfast...... so much so Penny took a photograph of the full plate and then of the empty plate! Double Yeah!!

Heading off for a walk in the vague possibility that it might burn off the 1,000's of calories that we have just consumed.... NOT! But it was worth a try. We got about 600yards on from the canal... sorry, Thames! And sat down for a chat! The buggies coming past seemed to think it was the Lamond Race Track! And those double buggies... ooofff..... watch out... I was nearly joining the Canada Geese!?

Well Penny was safely placed on the 1324 train to Twyford and then Paddington I started to feel guilty that I didn't speak to Michael at the pub this afternoon & feel terrible. He told me last night that Rory was married so suspicians confirmed! All the best ones are always taken!!! Back to the drawing board. And my intial thoughts that he was trying to play "Fairy Godmother" were quickly disappearing It would appear true to my song "Where on the World is My Prince" that my current admirer is "old".....!! And when I got back to the digs he had rung to tell me (it was a message) that he was missing me!!!! Oh Dear ......., Penny was right!!! It just shows that being nice does not always pay! Now what was I going to do! I decided to ignore it...... actually what happened was that I just worried about it.

Just to wrap up last nights show (for those of you who are wondering?) I again had a small but beautifully formed audience who were very appreciative. I hope that I go out tonight with my biggest audience yet!?

Frank arrives later for my final show..... shame its all coming to an end but there are rumblings that are very unsatisfactory..... watch this space!

Til next time

Friday, 24 July 2009

Henley Fringe Festival - Day 5/6

Rain. Rain, go away come again .... when I haven't got tickets to sell!!

Stuck in the house in the middle of a massive thunderstorm waiting for the washing machine to finish!

Hey ho! The Glamorous Life ......

Yesterday? Hummmm where shall I start? It was an uncivilised early start. But more on that when there is something to tell!

Having got back to Henley I needed food & a quick turn around to see my friend Gerri's show at the town hall. The amazing story of Dorothy Squires is beautifully done. And deserves a bigger audience...... such a shame there were so few there but I am beginning to think there is a specific nack to this marketing business, which is specific to Fringe Festivals!!

Another show last night, loved by all apparently. There was a review in Henley Evening Standard who didn't say much to encourage people to see the show which is a shame! We'll see what happens tonight.

I made some new friends whilst I was flyering and was taken out for supper last night. It was a lovely treat & great company. For the first time in a while I met a very lovely ex-banker (maybe that's why!) he's in the training business now. I also suspect he's married. Shame! ;-) The other gentleman is retired but I don't know from what. He bought me a box of biscuits as a gift................ my hips are thrilled! :-)

Well the showers have stopped & so has the washing machine ........ Back to flyering.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Henley Fringe Festival Day 4

Well what a difference a day makes!

Last night I was feeling SO much better & the show proved it.. I even got into the 20's with my audience! Who were delightful & very clearly having as much fun as me. I even sold 3 CD's.

Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from someone I haven't worked with in years so we met up for a catch up & then I got invited out to supper tonight. Two very lovely gentlemen, one rather cute - wish me luck!

Gosh I hope it's another good one tonight both in ticket sales & performance terms.. I've just got up after a nap & my head hurts again!

Well my rollers are calling me. Ah the glamour! More later.


Henley Fringe Day 3

Well I've just bumped into Maggie our lovely Landlady! Actually not entirely sure how that works but she certainly organizes the accommodation. She literally hailed me across the road! And then enthused about how amazing I was & how I needed a bigger audience & that it was terrible that last night I hadn't had one!!! She used so many adjectives I would blush here, but she also said I was like Shirley Bassey? What can I say - I suspect a law suite pending!!! ;-) but joking asside it really lifted my spirits.

Leigh went to see Harry Potter this afternoon but as my head & stomach were still churning I didn't think flashing lights & loud noise was good. So I went to bed again & later met up with friends. Anne and her Mum had travelled all the way from Newport and Swindon respectively, couldn't thank them enough. It was so lovley to see some friendly faces in the audiences.

I was disappointed with this show, still dropped words & even started a song again. Leigh was very generous but Im really angry with myself!!

Tomorrow will be better as I hope will I be.

Henley Fringe Festival - Day 2

Day 2 at Henley. Yesterday I omitted to tell you I met my co-ordinator (the lady who was going to make sure everything ran smoothly, that I was happy & that the venue were happy) Angie was amazing! Efficient, organized & very lovely to boot. A retired teacher she is a musician too and she and her husband even invited us to use her piano for rehearsal, on Monday and Tuesday which was just amazing!

Sadly either something didn't agree with me at the curry house last night or I was about to start oinking! but I really wasn't well. Very out of sorts , with a head that felt like it was going to split. Believe me singing those big notes was painfull as I thought my head would go into space!

Lots of rest, rehearsal & flyering (some more cars) was the order of the day then off to the The Green Room. It was full of people for the other show........ None of whom intended on seeing my show! The out going company were late going up & back for the interval. And to boot they had changed the lights too. Great! To be fair, none of this was an issue. I was already resigned to not going up on time so other bits to sort were minor & my lighting chap was all over it! Good lad that he is!

Sadly my painful head caused me to loose a few words here and there but I performed inspite of my bursting head & was in mighty fine voice - if I say so myself! Which is a terribly bold statement & possibly the kiss of death! But I got through it and all to a small but perfectly formed audience.

I think I will sleep well tonight!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Henley Fringe Festival - Day 1

Loaded like a pack horse the taxi arrived to take me to the train station. As a now hardened Londoner this was a major treat as I am used to walking everywhere! But given the amount of luggage it was hardly surprising the strange look I was given by the driver when he pulled up to see my thoughtfully arranged luggage which I had just dragged down 34 steps placed at my front door.

On my way to perform at my first fringe festival and to be fair a "fringe virgin" doesn't even begin to cut it here as a description - as I find out.

Once at Paddington I am more than a little relieved to see my friend Frank who has agreed to be my helper for the day.

We distribute the luggage between us and gossip all the way to Henley, find our landlady and are then taken to another house, which is to be my home for the next 7 days. I had been preparing myself for "digs" shared bunks, snoring strangers & smelly feet. None of which is a pleasant prospect as a "Virgo"...... If your a Virgo you'll understand. Once more relief was enormous when we turned into a private road lined with the most beautiful Victorian Houses. Large spacious gardens, the top floor all to myself, clean towels fresh linen & not a smelly foot in sight. The kitchen even had an Aga! It was a family home, the family in Italy were due home in a few days!

Now so far it's all going swimmingly and I am heading to the Town Square laden with flyers and dressed in silk full length gown & sparkly jewellary! Not necessarily the most sensible look for 12pm on a wet Sunday afternoon, but who has any illusions to sense! I am looking for a stage (possibly a tented thing baring in mind the weather was not good) & of course a piano. This was to be a rolling sample of acts at the festival. A Smorgasboard if you will! I knew I relaxed too soon. Frank & I turned the corner to find, well, lots of people milling around a couple of mikes & a sound desk. No stage, no canapy, no piano! As the alternative options started through my mind, I discovered no CD playing facility either!

Thinking on my feet is something I am experienced in so finding the right song to sing accapella was now my only challenge. Once again the answer arrived as the heavens opened. The Artistic Director had said 5 minutes ..... this was clearly a "Fringe 5 mins" as 40 mins later (I'm not kidding, neither were the goose bumps on my goose bumps!) I was invited to perform as the wind whipped up, the heavens opened. "Are you going to sing?" asks Al the compare ..... my response came "what do you think?!"

Finally the rain subsided just long enough for me to sing a song and flyer the 3 people that weren't from other productions!! It's surely gonna be a sell out this!! Ha!

Advert over..... time for a snackette & to meet my lighting person. David is sixteen and waiting for his GCSE's ..... You know your "Almost Young" when the lighting guy could be your son and he uses the phrase "4 years ago when I was young". .........

The rehearsal technical run went as well as can be expected & having established that all was well with the music and the "look" I asked David if all was well with him? At this point he mentioned that I had reversed 2 verses in one of the songs.... awwwwww thats really terribly sweet (I thought) then explained that after all this was cabaret and there was likely to be a lot more changes as the week progressed as things changed. He was confident that this wasn't a problem and Leigh (my wonderfully patient talented MD), Frank & I decamped to a local curry house.

My only niggling fear is ticket sales a 15 minute turn around between shows..... If it's a "fringe 15 minutes" we'll be fine!!! ;-) x

At Last!

If I manage to make this blog thing work I will be totally amazed! But here goes anyway!

It's not easy being a technophobe in a modern world. So bare with me!

Why am I doing this? Well your guess is as good as mine. It seemed a good idea at the start! It's really about communication & keeping in touch whilst the busy world in which I exist swallows up time & stops me spending it with those I want to! Or doing the things I want to.

I have been described in many ways "crazy", "amazing", "inspirational" none of which I recognize.

But this is me. Welcome!