The Christmas show is over an hour of new material which, considering my general lack of ability to learn lines as quickly as proper actors, has felt like a bit of a struggle but we’re on track, kind of. The tour starts next week, it’ll be seat of the pants stuff on stage, but adds to the excitement of it all – if the audience can sense a little edge in our performance it’s far more enjoyable for them rather than an actor going through the motions. Ticket sales have been great in some places, less so in others (in particular Cambridge, but I’ve come to expect that now) and the press machine is working well with some notable coverage in Devon, Preston and the Lake District. And most importantly; it’s a really strong show – we’ve pulled out all the stops with this one, as much as it’s great to try out darker material or new methods of working, this one very much builds on the success of the last tour, it’s joke-heavy and exhausting, in the best possible way. I just wish my elf costume was a bit…well, bigger. Clearly ‘one size fits all’ isn’t ‘one size fits Paul Richards.’
After all these rehearsals (occasionally with two different rehearsals in different locations in one night) it was great to be gigging again this weekend. On Friday I played with Flaming June in Louth (near Grimsby) where it felt like we couldn’t do a thing wrong, is it strange that I feel awkward when people are being so incredibly friendly to us? On Saturday I played in Royston with Fred’s House and we absolutely stormed it – it was a long show, but the momentum got us through. Yesterday back with Flaming June for two afternoon shows in Huntingdon as part of their Christmas lights switch on. Huntingdon is a thoroughly miserable place, the guys behind the event worked hard and I appreciate that, and we did well under difficult circumstances, but I was still quite glad to get home. Last night my new play, ‘Gaps’ was given a first performance by WriteOn at the ADC – cracking cast, cracking vibe, great direction, happy Paul.
In between all of this I’ve finally finished the script for a new show, ‘Short Stories For Lanky People’ – it’s being recorded tomorrow night for an audiobook release, cutting it fine, as always, but I get a strange buzz out of this. In the meantime my little sitcom, ‘Technically Single’ is nearly complete, I’ve been unable to make a lot of the recording sessions due to my schedule but have been kept very much in the loop, they’re a wonderful production team so fingers crossed this ends up being the perfect calling card for all of us involved.
The festive season is very much with us now, always the busiest time of the year. I’m certainly going to have myself an intense little Christmas…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.