Even though I do get too hungry to wait for dinner at eight, I love the theatre and I never get there late, I never really bother with people I dislike, I am a gentleman of high moral fibre. Do you think it would make a nice song lyric?
What's he on about now you all cry?
Theatre darling, theatre!
You know that Mrs B and I are real culture vultures, as I type this I have just booked tickets to see the John Wilson Orchestra at the Royal Centre in Nottingham later this year, in the pipeline we have tickets for John Barrowman, the John Barry memorial concert at The Albert Hall, we hope to see Lend Me A Tenor in the West End in a couple of weeks time, tickets are secured for Sweeney Todd at The Chichester Festival and already this week we saw Michael Ball at the Concert Hall in Nottingham.
I'm sure there are many in Mansfield, and other areas, who are not fortunate enough to have the resources which allows this degree of theatrical attendance, but I'm also sure that most live within reach of a local theatre group and this morning I want to motivate you all to find a local theatre group, see what they are doing and go treat yourselves to a night in the theatre - it's cheaper than the cinema!
Last night I paid my £6.50 and joined an almost capacity audience at my local theatre in Mansfield, The Palace. The play was Brassed Off and the cast was made up of members of the local community - some of whom I had acted with myself on many occasions.
With wonderful support from the Newstead Brass Band, the actors told the story of a community dealing with loss - the closure of the pit, the impact on family life and on individual self esteem.
It was a very rewarding experience and the play was a perfect choice for Mansfield, a town which has its own scars from the destruction and decline of the mining industry. The message of the piece resonated loud and clear for the audience who were all drawn into the story of the Grimley Brass Band and the community it came to represent.
Of course many would have seen the iconic portrayal of this story in the 1996 movie version which starred the late and very talented Pete Postlethwaite, but even if you had seen that film it didn't take long for this play and the characters within it to assert themselves. This was honest and straightforward story telling, done with great passion and skill.
I'm not going to try and tell you that everything was pitch perfect but that doesn't matter - the whole cast and crew produced something wonderful out of their combined efforts.
The idea that a community pulling together can in some way reestablish some sense of local pride not only inhabited the plot but the people who told the story - it was a very moving thing to witness.
It was good fun too, there were lots of 'laugh out loud' moments and then we had the beautiful music which heightened the sense of time and place, the Newstead Brass Band did themselves no disservice and may well win new fans.
Brassed Off is gritty, the language is the language of the man in the street, the people we see are all recognisable as our neighbours and work mates. The actors playing the roles ARE our neighbours and work mates - this is why I could sit through the play again and again, it was real.
I know that some of the actors feel they could have been better, they have said as much in their Facebook postings, but this is one time when being human and not being perfect actually was, well about as good as you can get. I can't tell you who was good and who was bad - I can only tell you the whole thing was bloody marvellous!
I can only hope that the level of customer satisfaction I got for my £6.50 will be repeated in the more expensive tickets that I have purchased - but I doubt it. I will enjoy all the shows in their own way but I don't think I will leave any of the venues with the same level of joy as I felt last night in Mansfield.