In my last blog Christmas at Vivo I said I had dropped a broad hint to Bambi Dhami that a behind the scenes write up would go down well. True to her word and despite a very hectic schedule she has sent me the following – so a great big thank you to Lulu pictured below who probably had to cut her dance class short while you wrote this
Having worked most of my adult life behind the scenes in shows, not a lot of people get to peek at the things that go on in dressings rooms! Over the years I have seen, tears, tantrums, boobs, bums, catfights, injuries and lots of things that could never be repeated in “The Outside World”. It’s almost like a clandestine secret society that one is privileged to be a part of.
I have used many dressing rooms all around the world. The smartest being in TV studios and theatres around the UK and the grottiest was a broom cupboard in Finland!! And I MEAN a broom cupboard!
Decade’s dressing room is about 16 ft. long and about 5ft wide. Doesn’t sound that small, until you put 2 drag queens, 3 dancers, 5 chairs, 50 wigs about the same in shoes, and hundreds of costumes! To mention just a few things that we have to navigate through each show! Luckily, for the 5 cast members, there is mainly laughter and banter between us. With the odd expletive if things go wrong or a costume snaps mid show!
We all help each other if one has a quick change. As an example, when Barry was doing a quick change his zip went in his “New York” dress. The dancers jumped into action grabbing safety pins to fasten the back of his dress (didn’t quite look like Liz Hurley in her safety pin dress) but it got him through the number. Barry is the sweetest guy and very dry in his sense of humour. He is always walking about in his tights and high heels; it is a sight to behold!! Barry sits in-between Johnny and John.
John’s place is the furthest from the stage entrance. He is hilarious if something goes wrong in a fast change. First he says “I’m not going to make it, I’m not going to make it” Then he shouts it I’M NOT GOING TO MAKE IT ARRRGGGGH, then, he runs the length of the dressing room shouting “I’m ON, out of the way!” Dancers, glasses, boas etc. being pushed out of the way in the stampede! We all fall about laughing, and when he comes off, he’ll laugh too. John is hysterically funny and keeps us all giggling with his story telling.
Naomi is the baby of the group and she gets some stick!! We take the mickey out of her when she asks things like “Who is Marilyn Monroe?” We call them “Naomisms!” She gives as good as she gets. I’m next to Naomi in the dressing room and we always have girlie conversations about shoes, handbags, hair and clothes. We help each other with our changes too.
Johnny is in the middle of the dressing room in between Naomi and Barry. Johnny has worked for many years as a dancer and there is hardly a place on earth he hasn’t visited when he worked on cruises. I gave Johnny his first dancing job back in 2000 in Lanzarote. We have been friends ever since (our apartments are next door to each other here)! He doesn’t say much, but when he does, it’s usually gold. He is the consummate professional who is always a pleasure to work with. He hardly ever puts a foot wrong on stage.
I’m the first person you’ll see if you come off the stage. I’m closet to it! I mainly laugh at all the banter and occasionally have my say. But I’m usually quiet when the show starts, as I need to concentrate and make sure everything is going ok.
When the curtain falls, Barry, Johnny and Naomi go onto the doors to say goodbye to the guests. This leaves John and I 5 or 10 minutes to chat about new ideas or any issues that need to be discussed. It would make a great TV programme!! Decades could be the new TOWIE; we have so many characters there!
Then it’s Ta Ra to all and off to the bar for a blackcurrant and soda!! Life’s not all rock and roll in showbiz you know!!
Thank you Bambi and if anyone wants to see more of Lulu check out the little darling HERE