One of my ‘brain gone, leaving no forwarding address’ moments occurred a few weeks back when I was speaking to Ben Forster as he signed my ELF sketch on the final day of it’s run at the Dominion Theatre. Given my many moons involvement in theatre, both on, off and in between stages, I said something so profoundly stupid yet, by a twist of fate I almost redeemed myself. Bear with me.
I asked Ben what he was doing next and he said PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
‘Which part?” I asked.
“The Phantom” he replied.
“Oh the big one.”
“Yes the big one.”
This is when my wires crossed and I asked,
“Is Jermey Secomb still playing Javert?”
“That’s LES MISERABLES,” he said in his usual very nice manner.
Half mask, brain at half-mast, half wit… find a hole to disappear down.
Anyway this week the moons all lined and some theatrical lunacy occurred that in a perverse way vindicated my stupidly, in my own mind at least. Ben, as the lead Phantom was injured, Scott Davis the standby and Kieran Brown understudy were unavailable, so all of a sudden PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, one of the West End’s major musicals was just…’of the Opera.’
Step in Jeremy, aka Javert, the emergency Phantom, who was familiar with the role, having played it many times around the globe and previously at Her Majesty’s. He literally leaped form the barricades at the Queen’s Theatre down the Haymarket to the secret lair, at the last minute to save the day. Slightly dramatic, but you get the picture.
I just had to do this sketch of Jeremy, who I had previously drawn as SWEENEY TODD and get it signed to commemorate the occasion. On Saturday I headed out on my vindication venture, but which role was he doing and at which royally-named theatre? I found out he was back on the barricades at Queen’s and showed him this is a little tribute to his brilliance professionalism and Antipodean versatility He remembered my Sweeney sketch and was pleased to be able to graph it for me. My rendered redemption was complete… sort of. Jeremy Secomb was Javert, who played the Phantom. You get the picture.