I didn’t actually do any acting for my audition – I just needed to sing ‘London’s Burning’ twice. I actually was only supposed to sing it the once but as I didn’t quite nail a couple of the notes, my teacher Mrs Tunbridge requested that I sing the song again. Still, I did manage to get the part that I wanted which was Geppetto’s wife, not that I ever remember Geppetto having a wife, but this was Mrs Tunbridge’s spin on Pinocchio and an interesting spin it was. The play came with its very own Bruce Forsyth impersonator-narrator who during the play would shimmy on at random moments saying Brucie catchphrases like ‘Didn’t he do well’ and ‘Nice to see you, to see you, nice’ and at one point shouted ‘Shut that door’ even though there was no door on the stage to actually shut. However I later learnt that this particular catchphrase didn’t even belong to Bruce Forsyth, it belonged to a presenter called Larry Grayson but again this was Mrs Tunbridge’s version of Pinocchio, which even had Pinocchio doing a couple of lame rap songs, lyrics written by Mrs Tunbridge who I doubt had any rap music in her collection of albums at home. Nevertheless, the parents found the whole thing hilarious. For me, however, the play turned out to be one of the scariest moments of my young life. Even though I’d been in several nativity plays from the age of five, up until this point I’d never really had any lines to say.
In those nativity plays I’d either played a sheep (so it was mainly just bah-ing I had to do) or a silent angel in Gabriel’s angelic posse. But this time I had a major part with lots of lines. For weeks I’d practiced and during the rehearsals I was perfect, I didn’t forget any of my lines at all. So I guess when it came to the big night itself, seeing all those faces in the audience, the huge lights above my head and the expectation in Mrs Tunbridge’s face made everything just fall to pieces. My stage fright was so bad that I could barely remember my own name let alone my lines. And thus I had no choice but to experience the dreaded whisper or should I say the dreaded hushed angry bark from Mrs Tunbridge as she sought to guide me through each and every line from behind the stage. It was so embarrassing especially as I even struggled to correctly repeat what Mrs Tunbridge was saying. And hearing the scattered laughter from around the room as I messed up only made everything feel ten times worse. At least I got a lovely hug afterwards from my gran who insisted that my acting was really good. But even though there was a time when I longed to one day become an actress; I swiftly changed my mind after my unfortunate Year 6 play – and I haven’t been seen on a stage since.
My top five favourite actresses:
- Meryl Streep
- Angela Bassett
- Judi Dench
- Renée Zellweger
- Julia Roberts