Thursday 17 May 2012: The Family Diamante
Diamante - artificial diamond used as adornment, such as rhinestone, rock crystal or glass. These belonged to my paternal grandmother who loved them, given to me when she died the year I was 11 and became known, tongue in cheek, as The Family Diamante.
Angel - person who invests money in a stage show in the hoping of making more.
Last night we went to see Anthony Andrews in a play called 'A marvellous year for plums', about the Suez crisis. Interesting theme, perhaps not the best subject for the stage.
My seat was next to the stairs the actors used, as it was theatre in the round, so I got close up to Mr Andrews, on whom I had a leeeetle crush, during his Brideshead days. Many moons ago I had the honour of drinking champagne with Mr A, when my husband's company became Angels to a play in the West End. Here's the story.
Flirting with Fame
The night I drank champagne with Anthony Andrews
the stars were bright.
Some of you won't know who Anthony Andrews is
but you'll know his type;
handsome, talented at acting well-heeled.
We met in a West End foyer,
both of us Angels
to a forgettable play,
and an unforgettable first night.
So I drank champagne with Anthony Andrews,
confident in my black velour
and the family diamante. In that glittering crowd
he held court.
We swigged together until Christopher Biggins -
cutting a swathe through the plebs,
alone in deck-chair-stripes among the tuxedos -
went through the foyer sweeping up celebs
like others might pick up crumbs
with the hoover.
Smiling like the Angel I was, I waited,
making no move to circulate,
nibble canapés or gaze
at the good and the gracious -
Lauren Bacall was there as I recall.
I remember the lights briefly dimmed
as in some flea pit provincial cinema,
and the flurry reached fever pitch;
flutes were drained, lips were licked.
Still I waited; he might re-claim me,
I thought, for Act Three.
The Biggins retinue re-appeared
and lit up the foyer, as Christopher expertly steered,
his party raucous except for an exquisite woman
guided by a gentlemanly hand
on her waist.
Black sequins, tasteful, elegant.
The gentleman's hand was Anthony's.
I hadn't known that West End Angels were allowed
to have wives,
unless of course they were other Angels.
Like me. Nice.
But she had flair, and the square-cut diamond on her finger
was a cut above.
The look they gave each other said it all.
Still, I can always say
I drank champagne with Anthony Andrews
and all the stars came on like lights.
The play bombed;
it must have been
the most expensive champagne supper of my life.
Ps: the fact that Mr A is looking so worried is nothing to do with the prospect of spending another opening night with me:)