The stage was smaller than we expected, and the catwalk longer and thinner.
Apparently we almost didn’t have it at all, but the whole show is built around it, and the show before ours on Friday night is a drag act. The combination of the two means the guys in charge of the tent don’t stand much of a chance when they say no one else has requested the runway, so do we mind going without?
The extra length means there are no more fan clashes or colliding bosoms mid-turn, but it also means that to keep the routine as close as possible to what we’ve rehearsed, the three of us out on the limb have to stage run back, fans strategically placed, to get into the circle of fans rotating around our singer, then leap back out as gracefully as possible for the next part. Imagine Dirty Dancing without Patrick Swayze to catch Baby.
This is where the narrowness of the runway makes things interesting: after removing our first stockings, we get onto the floor for some pretty legwork and a bit of back arching. The majority of our run through on Thursday afternoon is taken up with working out where to kneel so outstretched legs don’t hover over nothingness, or in someone’s face, and so that when we swing onto our backs, our heads are still safely on stage.
We decide that when we’re coming back up we’ll drape legs over the side of the stage. We’re facing alternate directions, me – upfront at this point – to the right of the stage, the girl behind me to the left and so on; it looks really good. On Friday when it’s seriously oversold, the chairs come almost flush to the stage; as I arch back up my draped leg ends up in someone’s lap. The man – it had to be, didn’t it? – looks pleasantly surprised, and the woman next to him finds it most amusing. I smile “sorry darling”, and proceed to take off my other stocking trying not to laugh or kick the poor fellow as I swing my legs back onto the stage.
On Friday night, the Chap is there, and he’s sitting centre aisle. As I’m at the head of the runway he has an almost unrestricted view of me. I can’t see beyond a few feet in front of me, but I can feel him watching.
This is the part of the routine I’ve only just mastered in final rehearsals, and as well as requiring an extra degree of concentration, it involves getting onto knees that under the concealer are still horribly bruised from practising on knackered tiles. The Chap says afterwards that he could see me counting it through – but his attention is soon shifted. For now comes the unclasping; the strategically placed fans as we slut lift; remove bras, shoulder strap by shoulder strap; the final run back to the main stage.
Facing away from the crowd, our fans raised in crown position, we wait for the cue. When it comes, the fans flick back into place, covering our modesty and teasing the audience until the last moment.
With the final line of the song, all that’s left is the reveal:
This last image is my contribution to this week’s Sinful Sunday.
Who else is playing this weekend? Click on the kiss: