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How Three Men In A Boat beat the floods
THE cast of a stage production ironically entitled Three Men In A Boat have described how they braved Tuesday’s floods to ensure the show went ahead – just.
Christopher Brandon, who plays George in the production at Darlington’s Civic Theatre, arrived about an hour and-a-half after the actors had been called to the stage to begin preparing for the show, having travelled from London by car.
Because of the flooding, he added about 100 miles to his journey, which lasted eight hours – three hours more than he had estimated.
He said: “I got as far as the A1(M), but they had shut that down and then a river broke its banks and we got trapped for a while. I then spent my way trying to navigate these country roads pushing my way through floodwater.
“My phone had also died so I couldn’t contact anybody.
“I probably didn’t think about what had happened until after the show. The adrenalin kicked in and we just got straight on with it.
There were a couple of weather mentions in the play as well, which got a real laugh.
“This particular date in Darlington will always stick in the memory.”
Alastair Whatley, who plays the character J in the show, and is the creative director of its producers, The Original Theatre Company, said: “Chris decided to drive from London and we couldn’t get hold of him when he was running late.
“It was very frantic as we had being trying to get hold of him by midday without an answer.
“We had to think about all sorts of eventualities in case he didn’t get here. Craig [Gilbert] the director was also on a train and would have gone on had Chris not made it, but he ended up criss-crossing the country and didn’t get to the theatre until half past ten, by which time the show had finished.
“The next option was the stage manager Gareth [Moss], who is not an actor, who was literally quivering in the wings and having cold sweats about the prospect.
“We were all a bit nervous.
Things often go to the wire with theatre so you don’t panic unduly, but there was a feeling that the show had to go on. There were still a good 200 people who had braved the floods to get to the theatre, so we couldn’t cancel it.”
He added: “The show was received really well, we had a great time doing it. The audiences are lovely and it is a gorgeous theatre.”
Three Men In A Boat runs until Saturday. Tickets cost between £15 and £24.50.