Ray thought it would be a good idea to film an amusing scene when Larry, our leading man, is seen leaving his house on his way to a gig and is struck down by an attack of asthma. The plan would be to show the whole episode on a large screen, on stage, to give the theatre audience a bird’s eye view of what was going on outside our makeshift house.
So, we set off on a location reccy. This involved trawling the suburbs of North London to find a residence that could pass for a picturesque house in a typical North Miami neighbourhood. Not an easy task on a cold grey morning in late October! After a fruitless few hours, we suddenly came across a modern looking two-storey home at the end of a pretty cul-de-sac. “That looks Ideal,” we both agreed “Now what?” I inquired. “Go and ring the bell and ask them whether we can film the outside of their house.” Ray said. “But what happens if they want paying?” I protested. “You’re the producer! Think of something,” he replied, glad to pass the buck to me.
Fortunately, the door was opened by a friendly woman, who seemed genuinely flattered that we had selected her home. She then went straight off to telephone her husband with her good news. Whether the prospect of instant stardom overcame her commercial judgment is still unclear because all she asked in return were two complimentary tickets to our show and a donation to her pet charity.
Filming was set for the following week, giving us ten days before our grand opening!
On the day in question, the whole cast, together with camera crew gathered in the street outside our designated location. To give the scene more ‘atmosphere’, a handful of vociferous extras were arranged through our enterprising young stage director, Loz.
Unfortunately, no one had thought about toilet facilities or nourishment for the twenty or so participants…
Yet again, I found myself calling upon the good nature of the lady of the house to get me out of trouble. Fortunately, being in the catering business herself, she coped effortlessly with our requirement for running teas and coffees. She was however, understandably less enthusiastic for a bunch of strangers queuing up for her downstairs loo. After a while, she got fed up and just left the front door on the latch.
A few hours and several takes later, we had got our film. Next was to get hold of a suitably large monitor for the stage. We were nearly ready for our dress rehearsal. Things of course were running far too smoothly. Not for the first time, I had been lulled into a false sense of security!