My friend Simon, best friend of my beloved, but good egg in his own right, said did I want to come and see Barbara Cook, which struck me as quite a good idea, because,bless her, she is wonderful. And the thing about significantly ancient divas is that they do eventually die, as do the rest of us.
(Barbara Cook is a diva of the American stage musical - she opened Bernstein's 'Candide' and 'The Music Man' and 'She Loves Me' and in late middle age rebuilt a career out of singing, incredibly well, all the songs she can still manage. She does a riff in her act about pole vaulters visualizing, and how inside her head she gets Kiri te Kanawa to do those pesky top notes for her. She is very camp, and beloved.)
So of course we meet loads of our friends outside the theatre - she closes in a few nights and people are getting in before the last night when it will be packed. Not many celebs in - Joan Collins two rows back from our front stall seats, courtesy of the Leicester Square half-price ticket booth.
And o! dear, it is a terrible confession but I am very fond of show tunes; she is doing a mixture of Sondheim songs and songs Sondheim likes, so - not only Send in the Clowns (yawn!!!) and Losing my Mind (best torch song of all time except for the other ones - ok serious contender for best torch song written post war and not by Jacques Brel,) but also The Trolley Song and The Robert E.Lee and lots of stuff it is almost embarrassing to like as much as I do.
And then of course we go and sit in a bar, Simon and I and Eric. Eric is someone I have known since before most of my on-line friends were born and he is a very witty man, in whose presence I find myself being witty just to survive. My humour gets a bit camp in such circumstances, but with this strange surreal edge that can get very strange - running gags about Edwardian gents wearing Jaeger suits (silly health fabric with tufts sticking out) so that they could claim that embraces were just a Jaeger accident and they were stuck together like with Velcro, and being let off by policmen and then, when the other two were discussing the search for birthmarks in Gilbert and Sullivan denouements, having my Edwardian gents explain to the police that they were only searching for identifying birthmarks, and the police accepting that this was a perfectly normal extension of property rights.) Maybe you had to be there.
And the evening finally descended to low comedy as a couple of chairs attached themselves to some of the straps of my bag and followed me down the stairs - I was singing along with Barbara and so I didn't know and had to be detached. Dignity, always dignity...I would so like to be ice- cool, thin and elegantly witty, but somehow nature stands in the way.