I don’t usually write a blog, I’m more of a rant indiscreetly all over twitter kinda girl, but it turns out I have a lot more than the 140 character limit twitter offers to say about this situation and as its now been blown far out of proportion, I just felt I would do a blog.
So obviously most people who have an interest in theatre and haven’t been living under a rock for the past 6 months know what is going on with Sheridan and Funny Girl (Well I say “know” you don’t really know, you just know what the trash papers and mags have filled your brains with and chosen to believe what you want from them). I am also not going to pretend that I know exactly what is going on, I have known Sheridan since the Legally Blonde days, but I am still only a fan and am not going to, unlike some fans, pretend I am anything more.
So basically, for those of you who were under a rock, Sheridan was unable to perform the last week of the Menier run of Funny Girl as her dad was taken ill, causing all kinds of havoc on Twitter, including many “fans” using this difficult time for her and her vulnerability to pry and ask her for exchanges to see her perform at the Savoy, being the type of person Sheridan is (again only from a fans perspective) she caved and offered these vultures everything under the sun, thus causing the Menier/Sonia Freidman Productions to cave and offer exchanges. Now this caused my first problem. Many people got on their high-horses about how people were not supporting the understudy by exchanging their tickets, when really only a handful of people demanded the ticket changes, once they had offered them however there are many people who thought ‘well I would have seen the understudy, but since they are offering to exchange for free, I may as well wait and see Sheridan’ The people in this situation who did not support the understudy were the theatre and the production company, instead of sticking to their policies, they caved, they also would not sell on the exchanged tickets to give people who wanted to see Natasha the chance to do so. Instead they left the theatre half empty, meaning the poor understudy had to go out and perform to half a crowd.
We then move on to the current Savoy run of the show, there was many a speculation around whether or not Sheridan would even do the run, but obviously that was all just rumour and hearsay, as on the first preview she was up there knocking it out of the park. Then we bring ourselves to Thursday 28th April, the theatre is brimming full of excited fans ready to watch Sheridan and the show, only 15 minutes in (after Cornet Man) the show is stopped and the curtain is brought down. I wasn’t at the show but from what I can understand the show was stopped for somewhere between 30-45 minutes before an announcement was made that the show was being cancelled due to technical difficulties. Now I have been at shows before that have been stopped due to technical difficulties, as I’m sure many other people have, ok I have never been at one that has actually had to be cancelled, but I have been left waiting in the theatre for upwards of 30 minutes with no other explanation. Usually that explanation is expectable, however on this occasion all hell broke lose! This suddenly no longer became a good enough reason for the general public, some of whom seem to think the world owes them something. Nope seemingly overnight Sheridan has now become a raging alcoholic and was unable to perform the show due to being massively intoxicated. These stories obviously then spiralled completely out of control, ranging from stories of her being locked in her dressing room (brilliant case for false imprisonment) to her trying to lift the iron safety curtain and I’m sure there was also a story circulating that she basically tackled her understudy, who was in costume ready to step in, to the ground demanding the show would not go on without her.
Now whilst I can understand it can be annoying when your plans are changed at the last minute and you may have paid out for trains and hotel, etc, sometimes these things are unavoidable and can not be planned for. The fact still remains that the show could have been cancelled due to technical difficulties and no the theatre are not obliged to tell people exactly what those difficulties were, as to untrained technical people, it would probably mean nothing anyway. My theory is that the travelators broke, and whilst many people say the show could have gone on with the cast and crew moving the set around I’m not sure how well some scenes would have worked in that way, for example the very touching moment when Sheridan and Darius are arm in arm at the front of the stage singing Who Are You Now, and the set silently and discreetly slides off stage on the travelator, I just feel two guys coming on and cluttering about moving the set may have taken away from the beauty of the moment a little bit. At least once whilst the show was at the Meneir they almost cancelled before the curtain even went up as one of the travs was broken. I also feel this theory can be backed up as someone who was actually at the show on that Thursday night said Sheridan walked on at the beginning of Cornet Man oppose to arriving on stage via the trav. However this person did seem to think it was due to her being to drunk to stand up straight on the moving trav, interesting theory if she then went on to perform the whole song, choreography included, I would find the fact was “so drunk” one minute she could barely stand, yet the next is able to perform the most choreographed number she does in the show, with seemingly no problem (as I haven’t read anything to say she threw up or tripped and fell into the orchestra pit during this number). However a small handful of people out of a theatre of over 1000 tweet she’s drunk, so she must be. People going on about how she should have or should now say something about the situation or the theatre should give more explanation, there is no point, the seed of doubt is already planted. Sheridan could have come out that night and stood on stage, with a police officer, and done a live breathalyser, had it come back clear and people still wouldn’t have believed her. There is nothing that can now be said that will change the minds of the people who believe she was drunk.
Then we move on to the press side of things, mainly the bad press. I have read on many forums and on Twitter people saying the press isn’t good for her or show, she’s making herself unemployable and will never work again. On the contrary, no press is bad press, I spoke to people in the dayseating queue last week who were eager to see the show “incase” she didn’t complete the run, the sales must have gone through the roof with people panic booking the closest possible date they could just incase, lovely little sales pitch if you ask me.
Oh and the people who say ‘she’ll never work again if she’s not careful because of her tweets’ the last time I remember a similar event (and yes I know this person wasn’t technically famous) but back when Legally Blonde was shutting in the westend and Aoife decided to return to close the show as Brooke pushing Tamara out of the role weeks before it closed, Tamara took to Twitter to express her anger and disappointment. The daily fail covered the story, and I think maybe a couple of other trash, everyone made a massive deal ‘she’ll never work again’ ‘silly girl has ruined her career’ blah blah blah! She then went onto star in Viva Forever, whilst yes a complete flop of a show that wasn’t down to her, but she now stars in one of the biggest soaps in our country, so I can’t say I think it’s done her a lot of damage.
Going back to Sheridan, whilst I don’t condone her Twitter rants and do sometimes feel someone should step in and advise she steps away from her phone, what people seem to be forgetting, and not just the press, is that behind that Twitter is a very fragile woman who is going through hell at the thought of losing one of the people she loves most in the world, one of the people who has been there every step of the way, supporting her career and as a person, the person who is there to cry with pride and give her the nod of approval when she does something well, and also be there to wipe her tears and reassure her when they don’t. I would give my hat off to any of you who could have all that going on, then the press sniffing around constantly, filing he papers with all kinds of shit, haters everywhere she turns waiting for any little hint that’s she’s about to fall flat on her face, and still be able to go out 8 shows a week and perform a role, that is physically, mentally and emotionally draining, who spends a good 90-95% of the show on stage, and deliver it to a high enough standard, knowing that some of the above mentioned scum are in, waiting with baited breath, for you to make any little slip up.
And please don’t reply telling me she is a professional and the show should go on, she is a human being, and no matter what profession or situation, sometimes you have to be a little bit selfish, because you and your family should always come first.
I was recently in a personal work situation and I was going through absolute shit, both at work and in my personal life. I have clients who were absolutely gutted to hear I was leaving and I tried my hardest to struggle through my notice period, but eventually caved 2 weeks before the end and held my hands up and said I couldn’t do it anymore and left with immediate effect. I put myself first, something I hadn’t done in the 12 and half years I had worked for that company, I knew it would upset people but at the end of the day I had to think of myself and Sheridan is clearly doing the same thing, can you really blame someone for being a little bit selfish once in a while and putting themselves first?
And I suppose I should brush over the BAFTAs slightly, I mean what a pathetic thing to make a massive story out of! Of course Sheridan was disappointed The C Word didn’t win, that show meant a lot to her, she didn’t want herself to win, for her, she wanted the show to win for Lisa, she wanted to do her proud.
So basically I would like you all to just sit back and look at the bigger picture here before you jump back on to twitter/forums and start judging her, think about that young, fragile, vulnerable, impressionable woman. Think of how you personally would handle such a situation. Think of the incredible pressure she is currently under, to go out every night and give 2000% in that performance to not let down the hundreds of thousands of people who have travelled far and wide to watch her, she does everything for her fans and just wants to make them happy and after seeing the way some of them have kicked off/are kicking off, I don’t think they deserve it!