Sunday, January 21, 2018

The 1980s theatre strikes back ...

Today has been a gloriously happy day of 'looking back'.

When you are a theatrical agent, you are not allowed 'favourites' amongst your clients. You have to work for each actor and actress with equal vim and vigour. But, of course, there are some clients who become dear friends as well ... and there you may, if you wish, have favourites!

In the years when I was active on the West End scene, I looked after some fine performers and made some dear friends, and one of these was the delicious Diana Martin. Who could ever forget her performance, for example, as Minerva in the 1983 London revival of the twenties musical Mr Cinders, duetting with and pinging comic sparks off the utterly inimitable Graham Hoadly? Or as the coloratura telegraph girl in the film Brazil (1985)?

I retired from agenting and went off to write mega-books in the south of France. A couple of years later Diana, who had carried on soubretting until her mid 30s, decided to 'grow up' and became a business lady, married, had a daughter ... and we sort of lost contact. Until the invention of Facebook.

This year, with retirement looming, Diana and Barry decided on a New Zealand tour. It ended today in Christchurch, but not before they had grabbed the most efficient of Uber drivers (Christchurch taxis are inefficient and overpriced) and driven out to ... Gerolstein!

And so, we had three hours together, catching up, flinging memories about, wandering round the acres meeting the animal population, and so forth, fuelled by good old Jacob's Creek chardonnay  ... the merriest of times!

I may bear the traces of a stroke, Diana has arthritis and hip replacements, but for three hours we were Kurt and Diana of the 1980s, making recordings together at Chappells -- the original demo of Peg, Leslie Julian Jones's A Queen for Sunday, Peter Coe's Husbands and Lovers, The Geisha -- such happy memories.

And now Diana and Barry are on a plane, headed for Warwickshire ... until next time, dear friends!

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