In my dream the choirmaster had been bet a considerable 10-digit figure (a tenner, which works out as £1 each for every digit on both the left and right hand) that we wouldn't be able to put on a show in which every song began with the letter 'X'. Determined to win this wager, he almost failed before they began when the theatre manager had to remind him that Cowell's Law2 now made it illegal to perform in public without a sad sob story - on punishment of death. With moments to spare the theatre manager said, 'Under section 16 (ii)(a) of the law you're allowed to get away with dedicating the performance in memory of someone, so just Google 'dead singer' and say the performance is dedicated to whoever comes up'. This is why the audience were baffled by the show being introduced with,
Ladies and gentleman this performance is dedicated to Isaac Merritt Singer who, in 1851, began mass-producing the sewing machine.
Following this kerfuffle the show launched into the opening number 'X Offender' by Blondie, but then the choirmaster's mind went blank – he couldn't think of more songs beginning with 'X'!
Just then I had a brain wave – it was a risky gamble but, if it could be pulled off, might just work. So I whispered my cunning plan to the choirmaster, who grasped at the only straw offered to him as he was going down with a sinking ship. The rest of the show would consist of a 90-minute one-song medley in which we'd repeatedly sing the lyrics of 'Xanadu' by ELO and Olivia Newton-John to the tunes of various other songs – anything to keep the show going long enough to win the bet. This naturally began with Black Lace's 'Agadoo', now rewritten to become 'Xanadu-du-du push pineapple shake the tree', followed by Brian Adams' mega hit '(Everything I do) I do it Xanadu'. With the show on a roll we launched into everyone's favourite 13th Century pop hit 'Sumer is icumen in Lhude sing Xanadu', followed by 'Subterranean Homesick Xanadus' and a bit of retro steampunk rappin' with Victorian patter song 'I am the Very Model of a Modern Major Xanadu'. The choirmaster, wanting to prove he was down with the kids (and not merely the same height) then had the Pop Academy kids sing the 'Baby Shark' song with the more appropriate lyrics 'Xanadu-du-du-du-du-du-du Xanadu-du-du-du-du'. This was followed by Disney number, The Jungle Book's 'I Wanna Be Like You', now 'I Xanadu-oo-oo'.
By now the audience were delighted with the conceit and the show was back on track with 'Do-wa-diddy diddy-dum-Xanadu' and gather momentum at such a pace that not even the (in my opinion rather forced) insertion of the word 'Xanadu' in the line Hold a Xanadu in the air stick a Xanadu up your nose buy a Xanadu and then bury all your clothes could derail our momentum. The girls enjoyed a bit of dancing as well as singing with number with 'My Xanadus bring all the boys to the yard' naturally followed by 'I've Got A Lovely Bunch of Xanadus'.
As a vocal low my personal favourite moment was when we sang the new lyrics to 'Peggy Sue', with a full Holly-hiccup on line 'my Xanadu-who-hu who-hu-hu-hu-hu-who'. (You can't beat a Holly Hiccup, it just improves almost every song and would even turn Coldplay into Cuddlyplay or Radiohead's 'OK Computer' to 'Optimistic Upbeat Computer'. That said, you must NEVER have Holly hiccups in the most famous song from 'Mary Poppins'. Will the world ever be ready for Su-who-hu-hu-hu-huperca-ha-ha-ha-ha-lifra-a-ha-ha-ha-agilis-is-is-is-istice-he-he-he-he-expia-ha-ha-ha-ha-alido-o-ooh-ho-ooh-ocious? Or is it an unnatural abomination?)
Then we performed the Byrd's cover of 'All I Really Xanadu' and then we launched into the grand finale, where once again the men didn't really have anything to do, but the highs stole the show with their epic and divine performance of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah which took everyone's breath away. I for one will never again be able to hear the words 'Xana-du-du! Xana-du-du! Xanadu-du! Xanadu-du! Xa-a-na-ay-du!' without a tear in my eye. As the last triumphant note echoed away the audience were stunned into silence (as anyone still reading this will be able to relate to) but a short pause laer a rapturous applause echoed around the theatre, which as this failed to show the audience's full appreciation everyone started saying 'Beep! Beep!' instead. An audience of thousands shouting 'Beep! Beep!' in applause sounded exactly like my alarm clock, which woke me up.