Ralph’s Comedy Festival Diary – Part 2
When one is working towards a period of heightened activity such as the Comedy Festival, or a string of important performances, one tends to indulge in hypochondria. Terrified that the slightest tingle in the back of the throat will transmogrify into any number of voice-limiting lurgies, one lines the medications up in serried ranks along the bathroom shelf.
What usually happens is Dr Theatre (or in this case, Dr Festival) fends everything off until the whole caboodle is over and then one collapses in a heap of aches, pains, diseases, rashes and illnesses , real or imagined.
In my case I seem to have done the opposite this year. In the last week or so I’ve had my arthritic thumb flare up, my new knee turning to jelly, a mild attack of German measles (with its accompanying rashes, headaches, insomnia, sweats, sore throat and itchy eyes), an in-growing toenail and athlete’s foot …and now my back seems to have ceased up.
I could barely reach forward to turn on my computer to start typing this. But rest assured, the moment I peel on Lady Margaret’s support hose and apply her thick layer of wrinkle-defying foundation on Friday evening, everything will be miraculously, if temporarily, cured. Into the taxi and up the Guildhall stairs, tripping the light fantastic. Delivering barbed witticisms with perfect diction. Scurrying across town to draw the raffle at the cricket club and necking copious glasses of white wine until time is called.
I was once touring a big show in Germany and one of the cast rather over-indulged the liquid refreshments at the end of tour party. We had one more performance to do, with the sponsors in the house, so it had to be good. Matey was incapable of keeping down anything solid. He looked like death warmed up and could barely manage a croak, let alone deliver his spectacular tenor solo at the climax of the show.
We dragged him to a pharmacy where they prescribed medication in the form of some frighteningly large suppositories. Sent to the bathroom to apply said item, he emerged looking even paler. On the way to the theatre I commented that the Germans apparently used suppositories for far more conditions than do we in the UK. What exactly is a suppository asked my invalid friend weakly? Why, you stick it up your bum of course I replied. You live with a doctor, surely you know that?
On this, my pal leapt from the taxi, put his fingers down his throat and brought up an unfeasibly large, pink waxy torpedo-shaped object. Right there in the middle of a three-lane highway.
Back at the theatre we forced him to apply a second suppository, this time in the appropriate location. Buckets were placed strategically back stage. You’d better be bloody good, I hissed as the curtain rose.
Needless to say, he produced the performance of a lifetime. Even got a standing ovation, the blighter.