There is a tangible sense of finality in the air around the company of Annie Get Your Gun. This week we have been visiting the beautiful green and gold auditorium of the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, our penultimate venue. Additionally this is also the final venue that most people will have to be 'on the road' for as next week we are in the warm embrace of London's New Wimbledon Theatre and those that can, most certainly will be commuting from home.
Glasgow has also been one of the most distant venues that we've visited on this whistle-stop tour of the UK. With the impending Scottish referendum, it's possible that the next time any of us play this theatre it will be on entirely different grounds. The political spark throughout Glasgow during our visit has made for an interesting and thought-provoking week featuring many a lively debate and lustily thrust leaflet, but the audiences have been just as responsive as ever, if not more so. I put this down to the Scots loving a feisty lass - and Annie Oakley certainly is that!
However, as we head into our final week and our final eight shows, the past five months are beginning to take their toll. It's a truth stranger than fiction that teachers, for example, only ever get sick during holiday time. No matter how well they look after themselves through the term, fighting off every bug known to man with aplomb, they will, without fail, be stuck with a summer cold throughout the entire sunshine season, which will only clear up a few days before term restarts. It's a similar thing with theatre-folk, the week after we finish a job of any kind, we all get sick!
I put this down predominantly to the fact that you spend so long ensuring you're fit and well enough to do your job, that the minute your body gets wind of a potential break, it seizes it wholeheartedly. Following my vocal rest in Brighton, this week saw attacks of gastroenteritis, colds and severe migraine resulting in swing and understudy bible central. It wasn't until Friday evening that we had a complete show again, and much kudos must be given to everyone who made sure that the production went ahead faultlessly despite these factors. Now that we're into single digits, nobody wants to miss any more performances.
With that end in sight, and a fortuitous surprise visit from my parents, I took the opportunity to lug my ever-expanding tour suitcases home to Yorkshire before I hit London again with something more manageable for the week. It's astonishing how much you can accumulate in such a short space of time, and also how much you find you've merely dragged from place to place and not used! As I sit here writing this on iPad Mark 2 (following a literally smashing incident the other week), I am surrounded by the chaotic jumble of no less than three suitcases. My kit box on the truck now contains only my make-up bag, steamer and cards... plus some Annie Get Your Gun bunting we stole from Aylesbury (ssshhh)! Hopefully this way I can finish the production and return to the North without dragging another five tonnes behind me. I mean, even I can't buy that many pairs of shoes in a week.
Unpacking has however proved therapeutic to some degree; rediscovering things I'd forgotten that I'd picked up on our travels and learning how little you really do need to get by. The past five months have made me some wonderful memories and some even more wonderful friends, but we're not over yet - there are eight more Wild West wonders to hit the bullseye with. Packed houses beckon, filled with friends, family and familiar industry folk and then there's the end of tour party to be rocked, tour swag hoodies to be claimed and even an awards night on the not too distant horizon. It's sure to be a week of fun and frolics, and maybe a few tears but as they say - it's not over until the not-as-chubby-as-she-was-when-she-started-this-tour lady sings, right?