I was about to knock on my schoolmates’ front door when I heard his father, Bob, yell, “I’m going to murder you m’dear, just like I murdered the others! Mwahahahaa!” Not for the first time I wished we lived in a better neighbourhood.
Now, I was thirteen years old and built like a matchstick, and he was a fully grown man built like a shaved grizzly bear, so I’d have my hands full trying to stop him.
Lunging at his wife, he saw me gawping through the screen door then cheerfully called, “Come in Greg, this won’t take long.” I nearly wet my pants. Fortunately they were rehearsing for an upcoming play, and they continued practicing as I sat on their couch fanning myself with a Phantom comic, and trying to get my heart rate under control.
Afterwards, Bob asked me not to reveal the secret ending, “Because if you do,” he added with a grin, “I’ll murder you too.” He had this look in his eye…
Anyway, many years later I stepped a fair way out of my comfort zone and followed in Bob’s acting footsteps. I often wonder if he experienced the bum clenching horror of stepping on stage in front of a packed house and forgetting all his lines?
Which is why I’ll be happily sitting in the audience next month, watching a couple of my mates strut their stuff on the marina stage in the upcoming QMF production, ‘Boomtown!’ Apparently this all singing, all dancing, technicolour extravaganza of a play is going to make Ben Hur look like a poorly organised kindergarten Christmas pageant.
And I’d love to tell you more, but I’m sworn to secrecy. Which reminds me, if you missed a certain GLOS play back in 1979, well, I think it’s safe to tell you now; Bob the Butler did it!