Sat 31st May 2014 saw the final performances of ‘We Will Rock You’ in the West End.
It was slightly unreal as on stage for both performances we had Brian May and Roger Taylor performing with the cast. It’s not the first time I’ve followspotted Brian May performing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Oct 2013 for the cast change) but this felt very different.
Someone in the audience recorded the final performance of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Show Must Go On’ – look out for a particularly awesome snap at the end of Bo’ Rap. I’m the side spot on the left (of the video, so Brian May’s right).
I’m going to be doing some cover work at the Aldwych over the next couple of weeks so I’m not as unemployed as I feared I would be (it’s quiet out there for spots at the moment, what with various shows closing).
Well. It’s that time again. Time to dust off the ol’ CV and walk around the West End handing CVs to stage door keepers, hoping that you’ve got the timing just right so your CV is the first one the Chief sees.
The first show I worked on to get its notice was Dirty Dancing and I decided not to stay until the end. I took a job on a new musical called Lend Me a Tenor which unfortunately got its notice four months into the run – so far the only show I’ve opened and closed. The next show was The Wizard of Oz. We found out it was closing via the posters – no one ever actually came and told us that we were closing!
It’s a strange feeling when you do finally get confirmation that you’re going to be out of work. During the lead up to the actual meeting there are rumours flying around the theatre, the West End and annoyingly on message boards like Broadwayworld and WhatsonStage. When the announcement is made or the poster is put up at stage door letting you know there is a full company meeting you know what’s coming – now it’s really just a question of when.
Dirty Dancing got five months notice. Lend Me a Tenor got two weeks. I’m not sure what The Wizard of Oz was, I think the date went up on the posters maybe six months before. We Will Rock You has three months, which has been the biggest surprise. I always thought that WWRY would be the type of show to go out with a huge advertising campaign but things have changed a lot in the West End.
WWRY has been a fixture in the West End my entire professional working life and was the first West End production I ever saw (in 2002, not long after it opened). I never really thought that I’d end up not only working it but seeing it out at the end.
It’s going to be very strange going past the Dominion Theatre and not seeing Freddie.