Run For Your Wife
Friday the 18th of December 1987
"A lovely night, a lovely night
A finer night you know you'll never see
You meet your prince, a charming prince
As charming as a prince could ever be..."
(Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella)
It was, indeed, a lovely night, but it began as a rather uncertain day...
At 7:30am I rang up Annie Hamilton to ascertain where and when we would meet in order to get to the city in order to meet James in order to get the tickets in order to see the play - what play? "Run For Your Wife" in the Lyric Theatre, in the Performing Arts Complex, on the East Bank of the Brisbane River! James had got the tickets the day before, when he'd rung to inquire, and discovered that Friday was the last day we could go because Saturday was the last night (rather than Wednesday, as we had thought) and since that was the New Horizons Christmas Party, we wouldn't be able to go then.
So I rang up Annie, to discover that not only was she sick, but she had to take her mother up to Maleney that night. So then I rang up James and found he had already gone to work, so I got his work number from his mother, and when I got to work, I rang him at work...
What were we to do - we had an extra ticket which shouldn't be wasted, but... David didn't want to go without Suree, Kylie had to teach, David D. had to help move furniture, Ellen couldn't go, Christine couldn't be found... I had to leave it to James to enlist a suitable play-appreciating person - this, this was the play which Frances sat through, sorry, stood through N times as an usherette and still enjoyed after all that repetition! A play with a lot to reccommend it (like David McCallum, Katy Manning, Eric Sykes...)
We decided upon 7pm as a meeting time (it started at 7:30) and outside the doors opposite the overpass between the Gallery and the Lyric Theatre, as the meeting place. Accompanied by my brother and Suree, we made it there, and waited for James. Periodically, one of us would pop inside and listen to some beautiful carollers.
Despite my fretting, James did turn up, a friend (called Tanya) in tow. David & Suree left, and Tanya and I listened to the carollers while James picked up the tickets. We went in while I was debating whether to buy a programme or not - but time ran out.
The curtain rose...
It was marvelous.
The set - two flats at once, with different front doors, but same doors used for entry to "bedroom" and "kitchen" - yellow on the left, blue on the right (matching phones too) and a green couch in the middle.
Two wives, waiting anxiously for hubby who is late. (Barbara - Penny Whitely, Mary - Katy Manning) Problem is - they're married to the same man! John Smith, Taxi driver, played by David McCallum.
It was utterly hilarous - the moral, of course, is: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
Detective Sgt. Troughton (Paul Mason) is straight.
Detective Sgt. Porterhouse (Eric Sykes) is Eric Sykes (say no more).
Stanley Gardner (Jack Smethurst) lives in the flat upstairs from John & Mary, and tries to help cover up John's bigamy amd only complicates matters, at one point being thought to be: a farmer, a homosexual, or Mr. John Smith!
Bobby Franklin (David Goddard) is a homosexual (which doesn't help when he turns up at inopportune moments) and is just moving in to the flat above Barbara & John.
And the reporter (Marc Allen) doesn't make things any better when poor John Smith gets his picture on the front page for saving an old woman from muggers - which started the whole tangle in the first place.
I laughed so much, and so loudly too! The double meanings which perpetuated misunderstandings, the expressions, the pauses - and I wonder how on earth David McCallum coped with all that newspaper in his mouth when trying to eat the front page...
Katy Manning was utterly right in her role, Jack Smethurst was a natural, and everyone did it so well!
In the interval, I went and bought a programme - it had such a good picture of David McCallum, and good spaces for autographs - Ellen had told James where to go to get to the stage door in order to catch them as they went out.
So when it was over (thunderous applause, many bows - oh, we were in the second row - we could see everything - it was fantastic!) we went to the stage door and waited. I was nervous, and I didn't get anyone to sign my autograph book because it was scarey enough getting them to sign my programme.
Marc Allen (the reporter) came out first, but I let him go because I wasn't interested in him.
Then - Eric Sykes. "Could I have your autograph please?" "Certainly - since you went to all the trouble of coming down here to get it." (happy smile)
There were security guards, and a padded bench on each side of the glass doors - opposite the wooden doors people came out - the other set of wooden doors had people in formal suits coming out - there must have been a concert on at the same time (that did look like a clarinet case that man was carrying)
Then. David McCallum. He was dressed in a dark blue casual short sleeved top with the collar turned up and shorts. Apparently he was going to play tennis. He was looking tired. I asked him for his autograph, and he said "Haven't we met somewhere before?"
"No, I'm sure we haven't," said I, honestly.
He smiled and said, "Perhaps in some other life."
The pen was not working very well, so he kindly went and borrowed a pen from the guard at the desk and finished signing the programme with that. Then I summoned up my courage and pulled out Annie's Sapphire & Steel Annual, and asked him "Could you sign this too please - for my friend, she's sick and couldn't come."
Opening the front page, he kissed his hand and touched the photograph of Joanna Lumley on the inside cover. "You know she's married now?" he remarked. Then he said something I didn't catch about 1981 (the Annual was a 1981 Annual).
When I said it was a pity Sapphire & Steel hadn't been shown here, he said, "You never can tell..."
A lovely night.
Then David Goddard came out, and signed by his picture. They all asked what I thought of the play, and of course, I replied with spontaneous "Marvelous, wonderful, hysterical..." etc.
Then Katy Manning, her usual smiley bubbly self came out, dressed in a striking black dress with black frills at the bottom - obvously she wasn't about to play tennis! I said "I already have yours, but I'll get it again" (Now I regret that remark as awfully rude, but she didn't seem to mind) She spelt my name right this time - and gave me a "Christmas smiley face" too.
Lastly, Jack Smethurst - he asked me how I spelt my name, and he signed on his picture, instead of below it.
I decided not to wait for Penny Whitely or Paul Mason, since I'd gotten what I came for, and more.
In the car on the way home, I sang the song I quoted above (and below).
"You say goodbye, away you fly
But on your lips you keep a kiss
All your life you dream of this
Lovely, lovely, lovely night"
(Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella)