Dear West End Producer: ‘Any advice for getting through a million shows with a lurgy?’
Advice about getting through a million Xmas shows with an Xmas lurgy?
— MICHAEL JIBSON (@mikejibson) January 2, 2018
First of all, I must say I find it appalling that you’re being made to do a million Christmas shows. It really is not on. While I understand that Hamilton – in which you are currently appearing as King George – is selling out, making you all do a million shows is frankly shocking. You and your cast mates need to sign the new Equity ‘actors are only allowed to do a thousand shows over Christmas’ contract.
So, the Christmas lurgy – what a frightful thing. Coughing, a snotty nose, dry throat and numerous body parts falling off mid-performance are all things that need to be avoided.
I’ve witnessed many terrible accidents in which actors have coughed and spluttered so hard during their solos that old dears in the first few rows have been completely covered in spit and mucus. They don’t enjoy it at all, apart from a lovely old lady called Margaret who bottles it and sells it on Ebay. She made £200 recently on a genuine bottle of ‘Michael Ball spittle’. How marvellous, dear.
Anyway, the first thing you need to do is steam. Every actor knows that this is the best way of alleviating anything (including numerous STDs). I’m sure you’re only too aware of this, but get yourself a steamer – or a bowl that you can fill with steaming water and inhale. Not only will it clear your throat of mucus and leave your skin looking fresh and blotchy, it will also give you another octave to your singing range. Remarkable.
The next thing I advise is honey, lemon and a shot of ginger – the ginger is essential, so don’t be giving away your shot, dear. Pop them all together in a nice show mug, stir and sip. For extra effect, add a clove of garlic. I know this sounds awful, but it really does work, and helps kill all those nasty germs in your body. But if you do this please avoid kissing all of your fans at the stage door, as they will not appreciate a garlic snog, particularly if you use tongues.
Stock up on vitamin C. Eat oranges, kiwis, onions – all of which have good amounts. Vitamin C doesn’t naturally stay in the body, so you need to keep it nice and stocked up. Also, those little orange tablets that fizz when you put them in water are excellent – and will leave you feeling as high as a kite (and turn your wee a luminous shade).
Rest, rest, rest. You need to ensure your body recovers completely from the lurgy that is spreading throughout your veins. Demand there is a bed waiting for you in every wing space, a cab waiting to drive you home (to avoid the tube germs), and request regular interval massages.
And finally: wrap up warm. Do all you can to protect yourself from the elements. Cover your body in deep heat, then add a wrapping of cling film, and at least three pairs of strong show pants (in case your lurgy is escaping down below). And of course, scarves, gloves and bobbly hats are compulsory.
Good luck, my dear. Wrap up warm, eat well, rest and get Cameron to bring you a Lemsip at every half-hour call.
Send questions to your dear agony aunt via Twitter @westendproducer
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