Roll up! Roll up!
There's only 2 more weeks of rehearsals before we open, so tempers are fraying, lips are being bitten, and directors are showing their nastier side. It all went pear shaped during - incongruously enough - Happy Feet. Now this is a number we learned last year, so we've been doing it on and off for over 12 months now. So there really is little excuse for getting it wrong, or still having to look down at our feet. I don't know whether it was tiredness, or a blasé approach to such a familiar routine, but the rehearsal does not go well. The director and assistant choreographer have leaped out of their seats and are yelling instructions:
'Look at the audience!'
'Ignore your hat if it falls off!'
'Stamp on 71!'
But at the end there is only a half hearted clap from those watching (those that haven't ignored us totally and gone to the bar), and we know it just didn't work as a routine. The director threatens to drop some people from this number unless it improves at the next rehearsal. Suitably chastened, we stay behind for a bit of extra practice.
Time to drum up an audience for this spectacle! It don't mean a thing without bums on seats... so Wednesday morning sees me up and atom bright and early, to chat to the local DJ live on air about the show. I even managed to persuade another researcher to find it on the interweb, and listen to me from back in Blighty! The interview goes pretty smoothly, although the phone lights are flashing when I mention that Cabaret involves about 20 women on stage in their underwear. We manage to reassure the worried listeners that yes, it is suitable for children!
And on Thursday the weekly What's On local magazine in English is published - with a dozen of us posing in fishnets and leotards on the front cover. I breathe a sigh of relief that the photo has stopped short of my stomach and buy 5 copies to send to my parents, sister, best friends etc etc.
How to get a man's attention...
Trying to finalise the many costumes required, Thursday night's rehearsal is 'underwear night' where, for the first time, all our much-loved ugly biege old fashioned underwear will be worn together, in public and the director and costume guru will decide what can stay and what needs altering. I'm getting envious glances from the girls in the line at my gorgeous cream lacy and flouncy number that I bought in Brisbane. It's far too pretty really, but I get away with it because it looks so right for the period we're recreating. One of the blokes watching says 'I don't know about the rest of them, but that looks really good, actually!'
I had previously been told to remove a ribbon from the cleavage, and I've tied it round my neck as a choker. I'm half expecting the director to tell me to take it off - he'd originally mentioned love bites and unshaven armpits as part of the 'look' he wanted from us. Instead, he points to my lace trimmed neck and asks one or two of the others to get something similar2. Now, I don't mind having a love bite (I reckon in that outfit I'd have no shortage of volunteers!) but hairy armpits is asking a bit much! I mean, look at the damage it did to Julia Roberts' career...