Thursday 30 August 2012

Auditioning - Trying to find my inner Zig-a-Zig-Ah!

I have never been trendy.   Nor hip, en vogue or whack!  I didn’t have a record bag or bomber jacket in secondary school; in fact I wore the same grey skirt for 5 years which is one of the perks to being the same height since the age of 9.

And this has continued throughout my life; Ray-bans don’t suit my face, I can’t carry off the customary summer “boho” look each year or get away with saying “Innit?” whilst flicking my wrist. (I can’t even manage to describe the action in a cool way!)

I was reminded of this lack of street-cred last week when I attended an audition for 'Viva Forever' the new Spice Girls musical.  You need to understand something about actors; even if they don’t want a job when offered an audition, or even worse a recall, they start imagining themselves in the role.  They start to plan their life post getting it and convince themselves it could be a stepping stone to something else or help them save for a house.  The reality is that you never save because you buy Starbucks everyday or the tax man takes it all the following January.
Who has the energy to Spice Up Your Life?

But I transgress; I knew I probably wasn’t right for this new pop musical.  Despite my killer rendition of Viva Forever in a Magaluf karaoke bar after a bucket of sangria in 1999 ,I have firmly left my bouncy pop-self in my last performances of Mamma Mia!  But I started convincing myself that maybe I still had a bit of inner funk left and I could maybe abandon all my writing dreams and be happily ensconced in a massive West End musical for 12 months.

So there I was at the 'Viva Forever' singing audition at the respectable time of 12 noon.  Seeing some comrades of musical theatre auditions relaxed me as these girls were also on the wrong side of 29, so how bad could it be?  But then these so-called comrades changed into their “audition outfits”* and suddenly I was out of the game; I was surrounded by leopard print leggings, leather leggings, converse trainer boots and even a 1990s black bowler hat.  There was make-up, big hair and loud belty voices powering out The Pointer Sisters’ “Jump!” from the other side of the audition room door.  Me and my smart navy dress slowly melted into the background wishing I could teleport myself back home to the Beatrix Potter biography I am currently reading.

Sometimes we are just not suitable!  Image from the album Jesus Chris Superstar,
you can buy it now at

It will not be a surprise to you that I didn’t get re-called to the dance audition, although I later discovered it included 3 routines in an hour plus a bit of crumping so I was relieved.  Crumping?  I didn’t know what it was either, apparently it is a “hip hop grindy thing” as demonstrated on MTV and there I was thinking it involved crimping your hair and eating crumpets. 

I am just not suited to being in 'Viva Forever,' I can’t even dress up and pretend I am.  In case you now see me as some insecure woman who has no idea who she is, let me assure you that this is not the case.  I have grown to accept and love my quirks in my weird little world but sometimes events like that audition just shake you for a few seconds, especially in an industry where we are all judged by our appearance. 

Whatever job we do, don’t we all wish we could be a bit more this or a little less that sometimes?  It could bring us more success, happiness or relationships.  But as Beverley Knight sang so wonderfully at the opening ceremony of The Paralympics last night “I am what I am” such pertinent lyrics by Jerry Herman that tell us to embrace our individuality.  The world would be a very dull place if we all wore leather leggings and bowler hats.
"Cherish forever what makes you unique, 'cuz you're really a yawn if it goes."  Bette Midler

I have no desire to be ‘street’ or ‘with it’ (more phrases that betray my M&S clothes wearing self) but to all those audition girls who are, good luck and enjoy a wonderful job in the West End and I’ll keep praying for a more suitable ITV period drama casting or writing pitch. 

As my nephew learnt with one of his toys – you can’t put a square peg in a circular hole.

But seeing as actresses are allowed to be emotional and dwell on things - the fact I was never allowed Buffalos (don’t pretend you don’t remember the wedge trainer, The Spice Girls were to Buffalos what Carrie Bradshaw was to Manolo Blahniks) just cements how uncool I was and why, 14 years later I am still not cool enough to be in The Spice Girls show so, therefore, with no psychiatrist to tell me otherwise, my lack of trendy genes......?  I blame my parents! 

* you can find my thoughts on "audition outfits" in the article "That's all we need for today..." listed opposite on my pages


  1. Bet your Mum had a pair of Buffalos stashed away in a wardrobe. x

  2. I was told after a re-call for Never Forget that I wasn't 'Funky' enough. Let's leave it to those who are whilst we sing Rodgers and Hammerstein. x