||Emma: Kirkcaldy 23rd March 2006:
I saw the show on 23rd March at the Adam Smith Centre in Kirkcaldy. I wouldn't have known about the tour had I not seen in advertised in the BBC History Magazine in January (Obviously hadn't discovered your lovely site then!). I also
caught him unexpectedly on TV speaking about it to "Des And Mel" and he made it sound unmissable! On that show Tony had said that he always aimed to make the second part of each show unique by encouraging the audience to ask questions and participate.
We had great seats in the seventh row (my mum was with me and she thoroughly enjoyed it!) and so had a great view. He was very warm and friendly from the start and spoke about his father who was stationed up at Peterhead, near Aberdeen - his attempts at the Scottish accent raised a few giggles! I don't know how much of the first part of each show is basically the same, but he went over briefly about kings of Scotland and England from Richard I onwards, servants, soldiers and even back to Roman times. He also mentioned how he started on stage in Oliver! and about his contempt for school!
The second part of the show started a little bit slowly as I think the audience were a bit nervous to ask questions, but once they got started it was fantastic. Tony was asked about what period he would like to go back and witness and he said the time of Jesus - which I think you have already on the site. He spoke about his strong links to the Labour party when he was asked what he thought of Gordon Brown leadership succession debate and he discussed the programme which was aired on 27th March entitled "Me And My Mum"
He obviously feels very strongly about social injustice. I was impressed by how honestly and freely he spoke about himself. One man asked him what was the best time in his life and he told about when he split with his partner, his young children took over the parenting role from him and looked after him while he was still reeling from the shock and the pain of it all.He also spoke about Time Team and how much he enjoys it, Blackadder and showed the most hilarious clip from an episode he was involved with about an Italian restaurant - I'm smiling still thinking about it! He also spoke about Maid Marian being released and his Terry Pratchett audio recordings - which I never knew he did! I'm sure you know he ends with Any Old Iron - the crowd were jumping!
It was a very relaxed, enjoyable, entertaining and very educational night and I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it and would advise anyone to see it.
Margaret: Newcastle Journal Tyne Theatre, 18th March 2006
Tony came on to rapturous applause and started with a monologue in tribute to the little man, the unsung hero who got all the worst jobs (neatly linking with his TV series). He illustrated this with personal reminiscences about his dad, who serviced Spitfires in the war and, along with his crew, was ignored if not insulted by the officer pilots. He then went on with anecdotes about his early acting career and some of the TV roles hes famous for.
The second half of the show was really different he invited questions from the audience and there were some predictable topics such as Time Team and Blackadder. Tony also talked about his narration of the Terry Pratchett books and his plan to perform one of these novels on the road in a year or two.
He finished off with a song Any Old Iron! which he insisted on the audience joining in with.
The evening was topped off for me by him staying behind to sign autographs (when I got the chance to shake the great mans hand!).
All in all, a very cunning night out!
||Valerie: Stirling: 24th March 2006
When Tony first started doing his one man show in early 2005, I was bitterly disappointed because there were no shows in Scotland. I complained on the various Time Team forums and to Cally, who said that she would mention it to the man himself. So, later on in the year when news filtered out that there was to be another tour this winter, I was hopeful that this time I would get my turn.
Sure enough, when the tour was eventually finalised, two Scottish dates were included. It was slightly surprising that neither of them were to be in the great population centres of Glasgow or Edinburgh, but one was to be in Stirling
. which just happens to be where my son is at University. Bingo!!
The next frustration was that the MacRobert theatre seemed to be exceedingly slow to put the tickets on sale! It was into the New Year before the box office got organised and I was able to get my sticky paws on them. When asked where I would like to sit - the answer was front row and as near to the middle as possible! When the tickets arrived in the post, the MacRobert had made up for their earlier tardiness - I was in row A and I had tickets numbers 18 and 19 - which turned out to be exact dead centre!
The eagerly anticipated evening finally arrived on Friday 24th March. I drove up to Stirling - a matter of about 35 miles from home - and met up with my son for a meal before we went on to the theatre and settled down in our seats in anticipation. We knew roughly what the format of the show was to be, so it was no surprise to be confronted by a bare stage, with the exception of a small table off to one side, with a bottle of water on it and a screen as a backdrop.
Shortly after 8.00pm the house lights dimmed and Tony bounded on to the stage with his usual enthusiasm. He started by telling us that he had planned that the evening would consist of us digging a trench up the middle of the auditorium to do a re-enactment of the Battle of the Somme, with one side of the audience representing the English - which got him a small boo from the Scottish audience! - and the other side as the Germans. However, negotiations with the local planning department had demanded so many safety features that his plans had had to be shelved!
The show then continued with a kind of potted biography of Tony's life and career interspersed with "Worst Jobs" anecdotes. The screen at the back of the stage was used to project images of his family and of various milestones along his life such as a picture of him in the stage version of Oliver! where he got his big break. He started in the chorus but was asked to play the Artful Dodger one day when the original actor fell ill. All went swimmingly until the moment when he had to sing his characters big song Consider yourself
and he realised that he didnt know all the words!! Fortunately he didnt get the boot and went on to be the regular understudy.
Other tales included reminiscences of his brush with Hollywood glamour, when he played a motorcycle courier alongside John Wayne, where his big splash (literally) was to be pushed into Londons Docks, complete with the bike! He kept going for the best part of an hour, with regular asides to his assistant Clare-Louise who we were led to believe was some sort of PA, before he went off for the interval.
In the second half, the audience were invited to ask their questions.
I would say that Tony had a fair idea what he would be asked, since he was armed with film clips to illustrate the answers to the most popular ones. There was quite a bit of Time Team content with a "peep behind the scenes" filmed by our Steve Shearn, one of the regular soundmen on the Time Team crew. There was also film of an elaborate practical joke played on John Gator, which was so good that I will not reveal its content in case any of you ever get the chance see it for yourselves!
One inevitable question was "Where does Mick Aston get his stripey jumpers?". I groaned! Tony's answer was that Mick has an army of groupies that knit for him!
He was asked how much longer he thought that Time Team would carry on. He confirmed that they have already started filming the series for 2007 the previous week and that it had been freezing! He also said that he is optioned for one year after that. Beyond next year he said, it is really up to Channel 4, but he did say that he would like it to go on for a bit longer yet.
He also said that there will be a Time Team Live this year, adding that it will be over four days at the end of August and that he was very excited about it. When you consider that this was in answer to the question "if he could take Time Team anywhere in the world to dig where would he go?" it makes you wonder where exactly they have got in mind!!!
I did ask my question "When will the next series of 'Worst Jobs' be airing and why are the Canadians seeing it before us?" In answer to the second part he asked if I was psychic - I just told him I know Cally! - he said that 'Worst Jobs' was extremely popular in Canada, as he had found out when on Prince Edward Island filming for the trip down to see the Titanic (which led to a long aside about the perils of being eighteen hours without being able to go to the toilet!), but that it would start here in April.
Afterwards at the signing session, when I got to the front of the queue, I gave him my copy of "Worst Jobs", congratulated him on a brilliant show and added that it was good that he had managed to come north of the border this time! He cottoned on immediately and asked me if it had been me that had been whinging about it - I admitted that it had been - much to my son's deep embarrassment - so he signed my book and added underneath "see I did come north of the border"! I now have a unique souvenir.
Altogether an amazing evening - roll on the next tour!