‘Fences’ Lenny Henry
No-one wanted to come with me so off I went on my own. August WIlson. Never heard of him. The theatre info claimed he was up there with Miller and O’Neill and in the tradition of Williams. Lenny Henry is a comedian from the Black Country. Where could I go wrong?
Well, Mr Henry was amazing but Mr Wilson is no Arthur Miller. It was a good play but no more. It was long. Very long. But at least I did not get shouted at on the way out this week. However, this is Planet ‘You Couldn’t Make It Up’.
So eventually the break arrives and because I am on my own, last seat Row B, I am out like a shot and first into the loo. All good. By the time I come out the ice cream queue is huge, and even though I don’t actually need a cigarette I wander outside to join the other social piranhas – to find I’m the only one. Until a bunch of teenagers come out. Paranoid about meeting ‘a pupil’ – God knows why – wishful thinking? – I wonder back in. A ‘lovely’ middle-aged, middle-class, over-dressed women overtakes me in the ice cream queue with the brash confidence of any yob worth their illegal weapon – charming. Anyway, eventually I wonder down the art gallery with my tub of vanilla (120 kcals) and within seconds find the only – and most expensive – decent thing on the walls.
And then I find a row of bags, grotesquely decorated with skull-masks and bits of ‘things’ – paperclips, chains, plastic flowers … And a charming lady appears by my side and comments on them. I then proceed to engage in a criticism of the said ‘artwork’ – pointless, ugly, not really saying anything. The charming lady responds in a similar vein – tongue in cheek fun, art has gone too far with what people get away with, could be used to contribute to an ambience … and finally, “I have been an art dealer for 30 years … ” Ohhh, you couldn’t make it up. What had I said? Frantic rewind of conversation in my head. How bloody pretentious had I sounded? Well, she hadn’t sounded very impressed with the exhibit either, had she? Ohhhh …
Thankfully, the bell beeped politely, as it does at the theatre. And ‘Lenny Henry’ came back on to reveal to ‘his wife’ that he was about to have a baby with another woman – who reacted with the ‘what about my dreams’ speech and kinda put my embarrassment into perspective for a while.And on it went. It all ended in tears, as life does. I was well-over half-way home before Shania Twain started blaring out, ‘I feel like a woman’ and I joined in, remembering the charming lady again, and over-singing, ‘I feel like a dickhead’ du der du du du, du der du du ‘yeah’ …
This post was first published on April 4th 2013