Ginny Davis: Stand up comedy in the county.
PUBLISHED: 10:59 13 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:40 20 February 2013
Catapulted from stay-at-home mum to star comedy turn at the Edinburgh Festival Ginny Davis starts her new, monthly, column in Warwickshire Life, treading the boards in her home county.
I am often asked where I perform. The answer is, Im not fussy. For me, joy comes not from salubrious surroundings but the quality of audience reaction. One of my greatest pleasures is to arrive in an unlikely venue and within a couple of hours unload and set up props, lights and sound equipment. With curtains drawn and seats in rows I defy any space more accustomed to fruit and flower shows or parish council meetings not to be transformed into a theatre and that moment is when the first thrill of adrenalin runs through my veins.
The Bridge House Theatre, Warwick, and the Old Meeting Place in Bedworth, were two of my recent venues.The Bridge House Theatre, a state-of-the-art theatre, has steps to balconies either side of the stage offering a perfect point of entry at the start of the play. As the audience gathered I began to worry about whether or not I might trip and fall. And so my entrance was a little cautious.
I have much to learn from those (apart from Anne Widdecombe) who dance down steps in Strictly as if theyve done it every day of their life. But everyone clapped. Good start, I thought. Until I remembered that the show was part of the Warwick Words Festival and that audiences always applaud at the start of literary festival events. Pre-show applause caused consternation at the Old Meeting Place in Bedworth too.
The building, a Victorian United Reform Church room, was designed so that audience and performers all entered from the same set of doors. As the organiser finished her words of welcome, the door opened and the audience burst into encouraging applause for my entrance at exactly the moment an unlucky latecomer wandered in looking bewildered and embarrassed.
When I performed to a working community in Derbyshire something went slightly wrong. I opened a bag of Maltesers during the shopping scene, they all flew out and my eye followed one as it rolled onto and off the table and across the stage. I sensed that the audience expected me to deal with it, so I picked it up, hesitated and popped it into my mouth. Spontaneous applause from audience.
Spontaneous applause is not to be taken for granted and I have deliberated whether or not to build this moment into the show. I have decided against. Village halls are every bit as great to perform in as state-of-the-art theatres, but have you seen the mops they use for cleaning the floors?