I could not start without telling you about my curfew experience on the first Sunday night - I hardly knew what had hit me. It started on the ironing board (from where I’m too afraid to get down) with Rache attacking me with an electric shaver and creative vigour. I then get thrown in the bath, followed by an over-excited hairdryer experience, accompanied by a My Little Pony hairbrush. The result, however, was spectacular - I’m a bichon frise, and I’m supposed to be all puffed up, fluffy beyond fluffy, with a Dave Lee Travis shaped head and a bouncy sparkling white pom-pom tail, but I’m happy to be in my own fur and ready to tour...bring it on.
24 gigs later…
Frankly, I could see how it was all going to pan out when we got welcomed at the first care home reception - all thought of Covid out of the window, the receptionist had me in her arms (tickling me just where I like it) before I could bark, track and trace. After the show,I did a mad dash into the care home - everyone squealed and chased me, but no lockdown belly could catch me; I’m fast for a little one.
It’s been a roller coaster ever since...
“The bloke is funny and Rachael, lovely. But nothing beats that little dog,” comes the feedback day in, day out (and the other cast members obviously resent me for it). Sean works so hard making people laugh, Rachael works so hard sending love through double glazing, Joe works so hard scrubbing up their mess (I do try help him out with the cake crumbs). But none of them have what it really takes to charm a room full of people.
I think the way I enter the stage helps me steal the show - it’s a terrific surprise entrance from a box-seat on Florence’s zimmer frame. I then go on to do what nobody ever gave me credit for being able to do, and perform an athletic leap through a giant hoop…I really feel the thrill when the audience whoop me on. But my favourite bit is when Joe comes towards me with the pink tutu and I balance elegantly on the zimmer frame, alongside a disco bubble machine, and glide around the stage to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, idyllically played by the London Symphony Orchestra (and butchered by music editor Janie for comic effect).
And then at the end of the show, without fail, the strict, over anxious staff member that we met at the top of the day has melted into submission and comes straight out and begs to take me inside. This is the bit I tolerate because of my professionalism, but in future I will learn to do a mad dash from Stage Door. I get pulled and prodded, squeezed far too tightly, kissed with over familiarity but I sink into a tantric state of love. I’m going to write a paper on the therapy of doggie love - the dos, the don’ts and the maybes. Please look out for it; you humans have so much to learn.
Norah Savage x
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