This is Mark (Marky as I was to you!), ex-Mayflower Theatre. You’re very much in the minds of so many of us who still and always have great affection for you, and this is one of those “moments in time” to remind you of this. It’s been a small lifetime since our paths first crossed, when you came to the Mayflower in the production of White Christmas. We all have such dear memories of you, and so here are one of two of my own. I’ve kept a daily journal for decades, and so am able to refer back and call to mind if necessary…..although I can recall that happiest of seasons with very little effort. I do remember the very first time we met, at the opening night party…. I hadn’t yet seen the show, but I do remember thinking to myself, with regard to yourself, “He can’t REALLY be this nice”! Well, as we were all soon to discover, you really were, and are, and throughout that season you became not only a “part of the furniture”, but a part of our hearts as well.
Of the countless visitors to the Mayflower during my time there, I honestly cannot recall a performer, or indeed a man, who was so popular and loved, offstage as well as on, by everyone. Your openness and kindness on a daily basis, your coming regularly to hang out with us in the office, were moments we looked forward to and treasured. So much joy, so much laughter, and so much mischief… I wonder if you recall the day you decided to (harmlessly) “deface” Mel’s photo of Tim just before she returned to the office….she gave a yell, we were all in fits of laughter, and as for you, I’ve seldom seen anyone move so fast!
Some of us still recall your selflessness away from the theatre. New Year’s Eve, visiting the General Hospital with your guitar, to bring some entertainment and joy to some of the youngsters there. Quietly done, and it wasn’t even mentioned in local news as I recall. But again, it said so much about you as a person. At the end of the season, and after that (hugely emotional) final performance, I remember many of us hugging you goodbye as a friend. When you came back the following Summer in the tour of Chitty, pretty much the first thing you did was come up to the office to see us all, and it was as if you’d never been away. It is often said, and accurately, that the Star of a Show can determine the atmosphere not only backstage, but throughout the entire building, as a result of the type of person they are. Throughout each of your visits, the Mayflower was a very happy place to be. And then of course, we welcomed you back for Panto, every bit as happily! Your absolute professionalism, too, I remember. At one point during Panto…….and during White Christmas…..you were “bunged up” with the notorious cold and flu bug, and yet you never missed a single performance. A true example, and again indicative of the good soul that you are.
I send you and Vanessa my love, and friendship. It matters not that we haven’t set eyes on each other in years (although I bet you’re wearing a bloody sight better than I am!), but memories are strong and lasting, and I hope kind fate will arrange for you to come and do more work over here in Blighty, not least so that I (and others!) can come and see you and give you a bleedin’ great hug. And I get to be called Marky again!
Much love to you,