GFT! Who'd ever have thought it would ever happen! I
had started my job there as a House Manager in March 1996, to hear many
comments and jokes about "so how long till Rocky's on then?",
only to have them book it three months later!
The film had not been
screened there since 1983, when it ran for a week prior to Xmas. Part
of the reason that Rocky is rarely shown is the GFT's taste and decorum,
and also the fact they don't want the beautiful cinema wrecked. The
reason Rocky was booked in for that late Sunday night in June is that
refurbishment was to start the following day - so what the hell!
This was a very different
show for me. I knew I would have to be on duty, i.e. manage the cinema,
for the show. And I knew there was no way I could perform as Frank.
Not in my place of work! Instead I played for the first time the role
of Cinema Manager. Which I did in top hat and tails, fishnets and cane.
I wish now I could have run the show with the same pizzazz as the late
John Wright (manager of the Grosvenor 1980-1992) did years ago. He always
gave the show a good introduction. I just felt incredibly stressed by
the whole night. At the best of times my job as a manager involves planning,
organisation and control. When could you ever have that at Rocky? I
was doing my job that night. I couldn't enjoy myself, and that was hell.
I was counting money in the office and I could hear the movie, and the
crowd (the doors to the auditorium were open to let air in, as it was
a hot night)! I also felt uncomfortable with bringing something that
was "me" into my place of work.
The cast that night
We also had a friend
(name long forgotten) of Robbie's (in a floor show costume), Stewart
from the Vampire Society (who stood in admirably as the Narrator) and
Becky, Saff's Noddy-obsessed flat mate from Edinburgh who was chiffon-Magenta.
We were captured for posterity by the Evening Times, who used a photo
of the group in an advert for their Times Life pull out. (We were the
"night life"!) The show went down well. There were 180 people there,
which was good for a Sunday in the middle of June! We had videos and
stills of the recent VHS release to give away to costume winners. Carla,
the transsexual hostess from Madam Gillespies nightclub, made a guest
appearance - we anticipated her as a "celebrity judge", but she spun
out the costume contest into a Lily Savage type routine, which slowed
things down a bit.
The show was filmed
by one of the GFT staff, an usher called Ron Stirling, who left the
GFT shortly afterwards (not related events) and is now a professional
actor. He promises to dig out the tape, some day....!