Recently, my workmates (aka Daisy and Maisy) and I had a Girl’s Night out in Douglas. I use the term night loosely, because, like old-folk hurrying to catch the pensioner-special, we set off at 4.30 in the afternoon. Our early departure was, according to Daisy, in order to avoid the crowds at the restaurant. And avoid we did; when we arrived, there were only a couple of people…finishing their lunch.
Joining us for the evening were Daisy’s besties – let’s call them, Polly and Dolly. The trio have been friends for a long time and, although they are all very different, they amuse each other no end. Indeed, to enliven an otherwise dull morning at work, Daisy will regale Maisy and I with tales of their adventures.
Of all their adventures, my personal favourite are their weekly keep-fit walks; which, despite their efforts, have not yet reduced them to waifs – probably due to the fact that they typically end with paninis, coffee and cake.
Indeed, when we picked up Dolly in Laxey, on our way to Douglas, she informed us that the Butcher’s there is now a French Patisserie – selling all manner of cream-laden fancies. In light of this new information, it came as no surprise when, later that evening, Daisy, Polly and Dolly decided that their next keep-fit walk should be in Laxey.
Our dinner – come afternoon tea – was at Sir Norman’s, which is situated within the Sefton Hotel, on Douglas promenade. The restaurant’s name-sake, Sir Norman Wisdom – British entertainer and funny-man – lived on the Island from 1980, until his death in 2010. Arguably, one of Sir Norman’s finest achievements was being made an honorary citizen of Albania. Having attained cult status there, his films were among the few that were allowed to be shown in Albania during the rule of Dictator and Sir Norman devotee, Enver Hoxha.
You can’t miss Sir Norman’s the Restaurant, because the man himself is sitting outside.
Dinner was superb, both in terms of food and company. Dolly, who lives on a farm, entertained us with stories of her favourite bovines – namely Miss Isle of Man and Frank. Just as we were cooing over a photo of handsome Frank, Polly informed us Frank had since left the farm – not, as we were hoping, on his summer vacation; rather, as Polly put it, he had gone for beef – prompting Maisy to order a veggie burger and causing Daisy to eat her Manx-beef burger with some misgivings.
Polly was excellent company too. Just as Daisy knows everything that’s going on in the North of the Island – from political intrigue to domestic scandal; it turns out, Polly knows what’s happening everywhere else – except, of course, Port Erin – no one knows what is happening down there.
After our meal, Dolly surprised us all with a goody-bag – relevant to the next part of the evening. Each bag contained a bottle of water, a packet of Minstrels and a pair of binoculars.
Where were we headed?
The Full Monty…the musical!!!
The show was at The Gaiety Theatre, which, as luck would have it, is next-door to the Sefton. The Theatre, the jewel of the Douglas Promenade, is absolutely exquisite. In the 1960’s it was saved from demolition and has since been lovingly restored. A fine example of Victorian craftsmanship, The Gaiety boasts the only surviving Corsican Trap in the British Isles. A Corsican Trap (aka Ghost Slide), allows an actor to rise through stage floor while simultaneous sliding along in, as the alternate name suggest, a ghost-like fashion. Speaking of ghosts, the theatre is reputedly haunted by a woman who sits in seat B14.
Having bought our tickets to The Full Monty weeks in advance – courtesy of Dolly and Daisy’s top-notch forward-planning – the anticipatory excitement was huge. While milling outside the theatre, it was apparent that we were not the only one’s eager to see what our local male thespians had on offer; a good portion of the Island’s female population were there too…divested of their husbands of course.
Such popularity made it surprising to hear that my sister in-law had declined an invitation to see the show. However, her reasoning was:
“Why pay good money to see some fat bloke get his kit off, when I can get that at home for free?”
For me, minus a fat bloke at home, the opportunity to see some men prancing about in the nick seemed like a grand idea. Turns out, not so much. You see, the whole premise of The Full Monty is: ‘ordinary men’ taking their clothes off to music, regardless of shape or size, is exciting to woman. Well, I am here to tell you, categorically, that it ain’t! At best it’s funny; at worst it’s downright traumatic.
Now, I don’t wish to be too critical; however, if you’re going prance around on stage in the nuddy then you necessarily open yourself up to appraisal; that said, unless you’re strapping and bother to work out, then striptease is probably not for you. The fact that The Full Monty propagates the myth that any old fella can have a go, and women love it, is completely misleading.
10 out of 10 women would agree: they’d rather see this fella strip…
…than this one!
Of course, the predominantly female audience were generous in their applause and hooted and hollered when the fellas got stripping; which was partly kindness, partly horror and mostly amusement; what it certainly wasn’t, was attraction.
To be fair to the actors, their performances were excellent; I thought the singing was particularly good. Naturally, Polly knew half of the cast – where they worked, who they’re related to, and their place in the intricate web of Island life. As for Daisy, she thought she saw the DHL guy; however, this was later disconfirmed by one of his work mates (either that or the guy had neglected to tell his co-workers that he moonlights as a chorus stripper.)
All in all we had a brilliant evening – as one does when the food, company and entertainment are excellent. Also, I am pleased to report that the shock of seeing flaccid, pasty bodies pirouetting across the stage, has since worn off; and, although there is the occasional flash-back, I expect to make a full recovery. As for Daisy, Polly and Dolly, their weekly keep-fit walks have suspiciously changed location, and now take place in Laxey.