There will be two sides to this story. One will be the truth from me who will not be going back to Horsham and so has nothing to gain and one will be what the staff, in an attempt to deny any blame, and lie to the manager who didn’t bother to be there on the night!
We (the agency and me) had booked two nights at the nice theatre inHorsham. A while ago I suggested to Chris Davis (CD) that we cancel the first night, as the ticket sales were poor. At the time the first show would have filled the gaps of the second show. CD’s reply was “They won’t allow that”
CD had faith in the fact that the new marketing dep’t would go all out to sell the first show. Ha Ha
I was told “All will be ok” well here is the version of ”all will be OK” that actually happened
I arrived at 1730. It was completely dark and so was the front of the theatre. No lighting on the place what so ever. I thought for a second that maybe we had in fact cancelled the first night. As I drew nearer I saw a Christmas tree and noticed that in fact the theatre was open but the the outside was not lit at all.
I drove to the side of the theatre to the car park I saw no allotted car parking( as per contract..and common sense) so parked on double yellow lines and precede to bang on all of the doors. There was no answer.
I walked to the front of the theatre. I looked to see what was on. There was nothing to indicate that I was appearing. Just lots of panto posters and prints. These you could hardly see as there was no light on them.
I approached the box office which I believe doubles as a reception. I asked one of the two girls what was on her reply was “Two Films”
I asked to see the manager.
“He’s not here”
“Well who’s in charge?”
“We have a duty manager but he’s showing the film people in”
“Are you filming here”?
“No, he is ushering the film audience in…can you take a seat and I’ll call him”
I saw the man in question and beckoned him over. I asked him to pop out side .
“Where is there anything to tell people I’m on tonight?”
He looked, with fingers crossed, for a non existent poster.
He said it was not his fault. “we have a new marketing man”
“How many tickets have we sold?”
“Couple of hundred” he said this as if it meant nothing to him, and offered no reason or apology.
This was not his job. His job was to show the film audience in and then mine!
I told him that he should tell the marketing man to put some posters up saying I’m on tomorrow and I will come back tomorrow and do the show.
He shrugged and walked off.
Frustrated as hell I called CD who was appalled. I wanted to go home but parked up in a layby and sulked.
I drove back to the venue and parked in a disabled bay and tried the stage door. It was locked and no amount of banging helped.
I went to reception again and asked for the duty manager. He had by then spoken with CD and had now put up nine posters in the dark front of house with sellotape!. It was 1810.
He let me in to the auditorium.
I noticed that the Pa was a new type slim system.These are very good. I said hello and notced that the red lighting I had stipulated on the audience was not correct.It would have caused people to squint. I pointed this out and they were turned off, there was no attempt by the crew to correct this error.
I spoke in to the sound sytem. It was not correct. The sound was thin and distorted. I shouted up to the bloke who was at his little sound box. He said, “hang on” and went into another little box to the right of the first one. Many “one two’s” later I asked what was the matter? He said,” it sounds fine!” I said that it didn’t.
He said that it was an inadequate sound system and that’s what they had to deal with. I said”are you saying that that’s as good as it gets?”
He said yes.
I said it is unexceptable
The other guy said they had some other speakers and could I give them five minutes.
I waited in the foyey and watched the two receptionist chat away!
Five minutes later I returned to the stage and saw a set of black boxes.
“This is the stuff we have gotten in for Panto”
Thanks I said but wondered how it was possible to rig a new PA in five minutes.
I said the usual One Twos but it sounded bad…better, but still bad. I didn’t ask for any corrections as there was now a hostile atmosphere.
I said to the sound man. “Is that it?”
“Is WHAT it?” He replied full of sarcasm.
“Listen mate, do you have a problem with me?”
“No… Just tell us what you want sir!”
“Come on mate don’t fucking do this we have to sort this”
His mate said “That what he doing”
He wasn’t. I don’t think he had the ability to sort it. He was shitty and stood staring with his arms folded. In short he was being a a c word person
I said I could not do this, and left the stage.
I found the duty manager and told him I would not be doing the show. He shrugged again, I told him that I would wait to see my fans and explain.
Come 7. 14 he approached me in the bar and said “ I’m not going to beg”
Well. I said “I’ve had no posters no parking place no punters no pa system and crew that don’t give a shit…what could you say to make things right?”
You will be letting your fans down.
At 7 30 he came to me in the crowded £17.50 for three drinks bar and said ”Jim It’s 7 30,”
I went onstage with no mike. The house lights were brought up at my request and that was the last time I saw the crew. The ushers were great and were laughing. The people however continued to come in for 10 minutes after the “show” had begun disrupting the show . They then got up and were back and forth getting drinks.
I pointed out to the audience what had happened, I told the facts at no tome did I “Slag Off” the crew I just told them what had happened. There we many drunk hecklers in the audience, one in particular who started to disrupted the already fucked up show. The ushers did nothing .He kept interrupting much to the annoyance of everyone and only stopped when some kind hearted soul from the back of the stalls shouted “SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU BALD HEADED CUNT”
I could not do my entire act because of no PA system and my voice was faltering. I would need this voice for the rest of the tour . I could not use the PA system as it was crap!
I spoke for 90 minutes and told the audience that as I could not do the show I wanted them to see they should ask for their money back. They all went and asked for it back!
The theatre didn’t care. It couldn’t be bothered in all departments. I have never seen such arrogance.
The audience gave me a standing ovation and twitter is full of praise for my performance against all odds.
I sat after in a restaurant and saw a film taken by a member of the audience of the DM making a speech t the audience in the foyer, blaming?…..yes you’ve guest it.
I have a copy of it that will look good on you tube.
The next night the manager was there to meet me in my allotted parking place and a new crew talked me through the sound check. it was great, people loved the show and I got another standing ovation..
Now then….who is the bad guy here? I have been told by Horsham management I will not be playing Horsham again! welcome to show business.