Ever wondered how rock stars spend their evenings when they’re not thrashing out chords on a guitar? Simple really… they’re at the theatre. Don’t believe me? Well, the proof may not be in the puddin’ but it’s certainly in The Apollo Theatre.
This culture packed venue on Shaftesbury Avenue was certainly the place to be last night. Just ask Dave Grohl, lead singer and guitarist from the Foo Fighters. He joined lastminute.com customers for the ‘Fool For Love’ Q & A night.
No doubt he was there to support his fellow rocker Juliette Lewis in her first West End role. I’m sure he’d agree – as lead singer of ‘Juliette and the Licks’, the lady of many talents sure took to the stage well. Juliette joined co-star Martin Henderson, Joe Duttine and Larry Lamb on stage in a new revival of Sam Shephard’s classic Fool For Love. The play follows two former lovers who meet at an isolated motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert. The result is a mix of buried passions, lust, violence and cruel betrayals. No wonder the rock stars are hitting the theatre – this explosive story of obsession causes more of a stir than any tower of amplifiers.
The biggest noise however, was that of the buzzing audience. Last night was no normal night… the fans knew they were in for a treat, and the electric excitement of the crowd zapped them in their seats. Forget Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Big Brother’s Golden tickets… the exclusive tickets to the ‘third half’ of this’ show were hot property. And yes, I know there’s only two halves in a whole but I’m being creative so sue me.
As the host for the night, my rear end was perhaps the most thrill-singed of all. I’ve never wiggled about in my seat so much. No ants in my pants, just a glass of wine, a red bull and the knowledge that I’d have to appear beneath the lights. Would I trip over? Would my little voice project? Would crazy fans make weird requests (one lady Christian Slater’s sodden chewing at the last event – never underestimate randy women).
There’s something surreal about stepping onto a stage with four top class actors; especially before a star-studded audience. But, in true inquisitive spirit, the fans were quick off the mark with the questions and the cast soon found themselves directly in the firing line. They may have had places to be, free champagne to sip or a warm bed to get to but patience prevailed and they gave the hoards their dues.
Juliette even turned the questions back on the audience, quizzing one whiskered chap about his unique accent. Pity we didn’t understand his answer. Accents rang throughout the Apollo; the American twang of Juliette and her fans (did they really come all that way?), French, Australian and a faithful English contingent. Martin Henderson’s New Zealander drawl and friendly demeanour put me at ease before our stint on stage… (did you know he loves to ski?).
This set the scene for a relaxed, humorous question and answer session. The troops even kept it clean. As the questions kicked off, we learnt about the techniques used by writer Sam Shephard and Director Lindsay Posner and the cast’s feelings about their characters and their motives. We also discussed whether it really hurts when Joe Duttine and Martin Henderson’s bodies slam into a wall (you have to see it to believe it). In case you’re wondering, Juliette’s time off stage is spent a variety of ways; devouring a tuna salad was last night’s chosen activity.
When the lights dimmed to signal the final question, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. The bright lights may have set me on the road to blindness but the mix of characters on stage were so intriguing, it would have been worth the life of darkness. As they made their way out into the night – to do whatever it is that stage Gods do after a performance, I couldn’t help but feel honoured to have nabbed a chunk of their evening. Our chat backstage gave an insight into the ‘nether regions’ of the people behind the characters. That, my dears, is a story for another time.
I only have one regret. I never did get to tell Martin Henderson how piercing his eyes are… or to ask whether he’s a Fool For Love (or little Aussies trying to make it in London).
I guess hopeful is my middle name.