This is a show I’d had booked for quite a while – before it was announced that Oliver Tompsett would in fact NOT be leaving the show. Unfortunately Rachel John, Wayne Robinson and Emma Hatton would be leaving, along with Jeremy Taylor, Scott Monello and Ross Aldred. I wasn’t really looking forward to saying goodbye to so many amazing performers in one go, but the fact that Brian May would be making an appearance made it slightly easier to stomach.
After seeing Rock of Ages in the afternoon with my good friend Tanja who had come over from Germany to say a proper goodbye to her first Galileo, Scott Monello, it was time to head over to the Dominion for the cast change. Thanks to booking way in advance I was sat in Row A and, by a stroke of pure luck, Tanja was sat immediately behind me. As soon as the music started I got goosebumps, but I was determined not to cry. That all went out of the window when Emma Hatton came on stage as a GaGa Girl, crying her eyes out. She was my first Scaramouche in December 2012 and I’d always had a bit of a soft spot for her, so it was very hard to see her upset. I spotted Jeremy in the background in his role as “Teacher” and, although I knew I had tickets to see him as Fiyero in Wicked the following month, it was still hard to know this was the last time I’d see him in this show. Emma would be joining him in Wicked as Standby Elphaba and I can’t wait to see her as the green witch – that girl can sing!
I was just about holding it together (apart from that little blip at the beginning) when Rachel John stepped up to the front of the stage to perform her solo “No-One But You.” She put her absolute heart and soul into that song and received a well deserved standing ovation when it was over. She was in tears, the cast was in tears, the audience was in tears – it was the most beautiful rendition of the song I’d ever seen.
As it came to “Bohemian Rhapsody” the finale of the show, I’d totally forgotten that Brian May was hiding backstage somewhere. So when he rose up through the trapdoor in a cloud of smoke playing the guitar riff from Bohemian Rhapsody, I damn near wet myself. As Oli Tompsett said later on twitter, the whole theatre levitated. I can now officially say I have head banged to “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Brian May playing the guitar. What a crazy crazy night!
Naturally, the stage door was packed afterwards. Some bright spark had parked their great big Mercedes slap bang in the middle of the courtyard so everyone had to work around it. It turned out the car belonged to Brian May’s driver, and he was very precious about it. We were told in no uncertain terms not to touch, lean on, breathe near or even look at the car. Here’s an idea – if you’ve got a very expensive car don’t park it where you know a crowd of people are going to gather. Just a thought.
One by one the cast members came out of the stage door, all looking absolutely gorgeous and obviously off for a cast drink afterwards. They were all so lovely though and took their time talking to everyone who had waited to see them. I had a lovely chat with Rachel John, who I can’t wait to see as Mimi in the RENT in Concert tour in November. I heard my Mum shout me and as I turned around I came face to face with Brian May. Well, face to chest hair actually. He’s very tall. I managed to get out “…picture?” and he very kindly agreed. I was amazed by how softly spoken he was and how much time he had for his fans – I presumed with the car parked where it was he’d come out of the stage door, into the car and that would be it but he was there for a good half hour chatting away and posing for pictures.
Although I’m sad to say goodbye to Rachel, Emma, Scott, Jeremy, Wayne and Ross, I know they are all going on to their next exciting projects and I will definitely be there to support them in whatever they do next!