Yesterday was supposed to be the Sitzprobe, but we didn’t do much sitting down. No doubt something to do with having to cover our backsides. It was a stage-rehearsal run-through with the orchestra and Cast B, minus recits, but do you know, it’s almost beginning to come together. Two weeks ago we were Ivan the Terrible; we’re not quite Peter the Great, but we’re probably Boris the Adequate.
Today was the Dress Rehearsal, a marathon session from before 2pm to after 9.30pm. The girls had some remarkable frocks, some with a good deal of civil engineering in the bustles and bodice. Ros’s looks like something out of those fetish parties in north London. Er, that a friend told me about. Helen’s Countess frock is spectacular and was quite a talking point, the talking usually being ‘please don’t keep treading on my frock’.
There was a camera crew in, doing a recruitment film for Goldsmiths. Clearly they think the sight of men poncing about in wigs, tights and exotic hairstyles is going to be a fee magnet for the Annual Report. They may be right.
I did a spoof to-camera piece in the style of a news reporter, a sort of Tim Sebastian in a frock coat. ‘The atmosphere here in Seville is tense,’ I informed the imaginary primetime audience, nodding in that way that reporters do to try and cover the time lag in the satellite link. ‘The wedding of Figaro and Susanna is scheduled for today, but sources close to the count say he is trying to stop it taking place. We also have as yet unconfirmed reports that the identity of Figaro’s parents may be revealed, and which could send shock waves through the community. Whatever happens, this is turning into a crazy day. Don Basilio, News at Ten, in Seville.’
I don’t think Armando Iannucci has anything to worry about.