Back in spotlight after being Mrs O

Trish as Mrs Overall
Trish as Mrs Overall
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Blogger Trish Burgess writes for the free press

It seems very odd at this time of year not to be rehearsing for a musical with Spalding Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society (SADOS).

Since 2002, when I tentatively took to the stage in the ensemble of Carousel and surprised myself with an uncanny representation of a wooden horse, I have spent the first five months of most years desperately learning lines, tunes and dance steps before taking to the stage of the South Holland Centre.

I often wonder why I put myself through this but, like all luvvies, amateur or professional, I adore the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd.

2013 proved to be one of my best years. Aware that I’m now getting on a bit and even the stage make-up and clever lighting can’t hide my wrinkles for much longer, I auditioned for the part of Mrs Overall in Acorn Antiques, The Musical.

I fine-tuned the Brummie accent, perfected the stoop and uttered the lines in the audition piece which, being written by Victoria Wood, were pure gold.

“Well. Somebody offered her a cocktail. Next thing you know she’s headed for Bermuda with a trunk full of provocative scanties.

“If she’d stuck to a lattice jam tartlet and a Vimto, all this could have been avoided.”

I was successful. Like Daniel Day Lewis preparing for his role as Lincoln, I lived the role of Mrs O in the following months.

The family would roll their eyes as I brought in the supper tray, accompanied by the shaky, knee-wobbling gait. I hardly stood up straight for weeks.

I would sit in the evenings sewing thick blue wool into 60 denier tights, to create the impression of varicose veins.

A hairnet was procured, frumpy shoes found and a wonderful Dowager’s Hump was created with an old cushion, a vest and some Velcro. I certainly looked the part and my husband was given a frightening glimpse of the future.

I decided not to audition for this year’s musical, Bad Girls, and so far I’m enjoying the break – but I know it won’t last.

I enjoy being me, but it’s far more fun to dress up and be somebody else for a while.