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-Hi David, it's Sue.
Um, thanks for getting back to me.
-'Are you still going to the auditions?'
Great! What time do you want me to pick you up?
How about six?
And I thought afterwards...
-'I could, um...'
I could take you back again.
What do you think she's wearing?
-Under her clothes?
Oh, go on, Daniel! Give us your expert opinion.
Her skirt and the blouse were painted on this morning. She's a walking work of art.
I don't know about art. But I know what I like.
Sorry, how long have I been living in a Carry On film?
You've got to admit, she's nice... on a superficial level.
You are superficial on every level. Can I make a cup of tea now?
Or shall I spill it down my front for a wet T-shirt effect?
-Well, I could help...
-Don't go there.
-A traditional Japanese greeting.
The sort of thing Nanki-Poo might say to Pooh-Bah.
The Mikado wasn't written in Japanese.
I'm going for a depth of characterisation.
Something authentically Japanese.
-Well, you already sound like Yoko Ono.
-She's bending over!
Young Kevin is staring at the new receptionist.
It must make a change seeing a woman without two staples down her middle.
Oh, look, she's on tiptoes!
Works for me.
Um, I've got an appointment with Doctor Carter.
And you are?
Um, David Moss.
-Is the "um" part of it?
Take a seat.
Oh, I'm so sorry!
Oh! It's all right, thank you.
Oh, um, Mrs McGuire!
It's a long time since I've been that!
It's me, David.
I used to go out with Sam.
David! Yes, of course! Oh, my goodness! How lovely to see you.
It must have been, what? Ten years?
-Do you know Lauren? Lauren's a friend of Sam's.
So, how's Sam doing these days?
Well, she's great actually, she's got an interesting boyfriend,
lovely flat in Greenwich, and a very good job too in advertising.
Well, I'm still single, I've not got a flat in Greenwich, and I work in a call centre.
-Who are you here to see?
-Er, Doctor Carter.
Right. Well, I'll see if I can hurry him along for you. Nice to see you.
Of course, one of the first people to play Nanki-Poo was the great acting guru, Stanislavski.
I do not have your QOF information?
-I told you I needed it yesterday!
You will definitely have it tomorrow.
No, Heston, today! Five o'clock.
-And you have a patient.
Yes! Apart from being a world expert on Gilbert & Sullivan,
you are also a doctor!
How did it go?
All A stars?
Oh, I don't get my results till tomorrow.
Sorry! Silly me! I shouldn't be piling on the pressure.
It's all right.
David Moss, what can I do for you?
Well, I want some sleeping tablets, cos I'm having difficulty sleeping.
A good reason to have them.
I just find, at night, my mind is racing like an express train.
Where does it go to?
I'm a member of the Letherbridge Light Operatic Society.
Oh, I see...
And they've got a new director, and he's promised to... shake things up a bit.
I know it's just a hobby, but...
in some ways, it's what keeps me going.
-I'm getting in a bit of a state about this.
-Has he asked you to leave?
I've heard on the grapevine, he wants to get rid of the old guard,
and he's invited a load of new people to audition.
Right, I have to declare an interest here.
He's asked ME to audition.
-What?... What part?
# Poor wandering one... #
Oh, dear. I can see where this is going.
There's no guarantee I'll get it, and there are plenty of other parts.
Sleeping tablets. Let me have a look at your history.
Don't want to overdo it, but you need to get a good night's sleep.
# Poor wandering one
# If such poor love as mine
# Can help you find
# True peace of mind
# Why, take it, it is thine... #
I'm so sorry, I thought I'd lost my keys, but they were in my back pocket.
David, I haven't heard a scream like that since the last time I looked at my credit card bill.
Surely, there must be more to it.
-It's to do with Gilbert & Sullivan.
-Well, now it's my turn to scream,
cos my colleague has been going on about that for DAYS.
Yes, well, I've just found out we're both up for the same part.
-It looks like he's going to get it.
I've heard him sing.
Why is this so important to you?
-It's all to do with a girl called Sue.
She's in the Operatic Society with me and...
..she is the most...
perfect, magical, beautiful human being.
-And I was up for the part of Nanki-Poo.
And she was going to be my Yum-Yum.
-Right, so you two usually play the romantic leads together?
And what about real life?
-Why don't you ask her out, for heaven's sake?
When you've loved someone so much, and for so long,
you just can't ask, because...
..if she said no...
Phone for you.
-It's Mummy dearest.
-I was just wondering if you would like to go out tomorrow?
I've been reading about this Italian restaurant.
It's right on the canal, and the waiters sing opera as they serve you.
What's this in aid of?
Well, I was hoping we might have something to celebrate.
Mum, I don't want a meal. I don't want a brass band or fireworks.
I just want to be left alone!
Oh, sorry I spoke!
Have you been in limbo all this time?
you get used to it.
I blame Sam. She's put you off women for life.
It wasn't just that. There were other issues.
But it was a bit weird when she dumped me.
She never said why, just didn't return my calls.
That's Sam all over, she was a bit harsh when she was younger,
but this, um...
You know, you have got to tell her, David.
Why don't you take her out for coffee?
Make sure you take her somewhere you can be yourself and not hide behind a character.
And if she says no?
Well, honey, you're no worse off than you are now, are you?
Just talk to this girl. Ask her.
At least find out where you stand.
-So that's one mozzarella, and one cappuccino.
No, I'm sorry, I can't do tonight, I've got an audition...
OK. If you insist, I'll stay over.
But I won't be there till ten.
Love you lots.
-Sorry, did you want something?
-No. I'll see you at six.
Was there anything else?
-See ya. Oh, best of luck tomorrow!
Sayonara, Doctor Carter.
Break a leg. Not literally, obviously.
Best not. Though it might add something to the characterisation.
Do you know how Gilbert came up with the idea for The Mikado?
-No, I don't, actually.
-He was in his study, when an Oriental sword fell off the wall.
And he thought, "That's a sign."
Extraordinary! It just goes to show.
Sometimes you have to seize destiny with both hands.
# Defer, defer
# To the Lord High Executioner
# Defer, defer
# To the noble Lord
# To the noble Lord High Executioner
# Bow down, bow down
# To the Lord High Executioner
# Defer, defer
# To the noble, noble Lord
# To the High Executioner... #
-Lauren, did you send off those QOF reports?
Did Heston give you his?
Oh, I say, you look nice. Are you off?
Any minute now. When my knight in shining Armani gets here.
Heston, it's Julia.
Very sorry that I'm interrupting your very busy theatrical schedule,
but would you please call me immediately! Thank you!
'Hi, Elaine, it's me.,
'I'm running a bit late.
'Can I possibly meet you at the restaurant?'
MUSIC: "Three Little Maids From School" by Gilbert & Sullivan
-Thanks for the lift!
-Are you all right?
-Why wouldn't I be?
I don't know. You just seem a bit...
I'm going to get some coffee.
Now, don't wear out your vocal cords.
-I'm looking for Doctor Carter. Have you seen him?
So how did it go?
Well, it never actually started.
-But at least I don't have to worry about it ending.
-How do you mean?
I left it too late.
She's found someone.
So will you! You just have to give it time.
I don't want anyone else.
Obsession is not just an aftershave.
And, of course, the greatest Ko-Ko, in my opinion, was Groucho Marx.
-There he is.
Julia! Have you come to give us your Pish-Tush?
I've come to give your head on a platter to the PCT.
-QOF reports, Heston.
-Due by five o'clock.
-I gave it to Lauren.
She said she wasn't sure.
I don't know where that girl's head is sometimes.
-Was that it?
-It was, but I think I might hang around for a bit.
-Bit worried about someone.
Good evening, everyone! I'm Howard. Howard Woodham.
And it gives me huge pleasure to see so many budding Thespians.
Why don't you all come through to the stage, I'll show you my vision.
Ah! Hezza! Good to see you, old man.
-Oh, hello! And, what are you up for?
-I'll be trying for Yum-Yum.
I thought so. I took one look and I immediately thought, "Yum, yum."
OK, everyone. Now first of all, I want you to forget about nice tunes,
charming costumes, pretty scenery.
There's nothing pretty in a Howard Woodham production.
I intend to grab Gilbert & Sullivan by the...genitals,
and squeeze them extremely hard.
Now, The Mikado's set in a totalitarian regime. So I thought,
"Where shall we put ours?" Afghanistan, perhaps?
But then I thought, "No, let's go retro."
I'm relocating it to Chicago in the 1920s with the ever-present threat of the Mob.
Three Little Maids will all be Mafia brides, and Ko-Ko can come on with a Kalashnikov.
Shouldn't it be set in Japan?
I've never really cared for the casual racism of it. It's all very offensive to the Orientals.
Then we run the risk of offending the Mafia.
-I'd rather take my chances with the Japanese.
I am not interested in bums...
-'Is this Howard Woodham?'
-Yes, this is Howard.
-'Great. Letherbridge Life here.'
-'Are we still on for the interview?'
-Yes, well, I'll see you in about half an hour.
Letherbridge Life. They want to do a little piece on me.
-Where was I?
-"Not interested in bums."
I'm not interested in bums on seats.
I want to see eyes on stalks.
I intend to rip out the dark heart of this play, and fling it in the audience's faces.
This will be a Mikado they will NEVER forget
in spite of years of psychotherapy.
It's all very well bringing out the dark side,
but isn't the point of Gilbert & Sullivan
powerful satire, but with the lightest of brush strokes?
I absolutely agree!
They're far too light in their brush strokes.
I intend to tell this story in fluorescent paint,
in letters 1,000 feet high!
Look, I'm really sorry, I don't think my friend's coming.
Could I just pay for my drinks, please?
Elaine, I'm so sorry. Have you been waiting for long?
A couple of glasses and a packet of breadsticks.
I'm sorry. It was work. And life. And work-life balance.
Just something I couldn't get out of.
-You had your phone turned off.
-Yes, I was driving.
I hate being late. Is there anything I can do to make it up?
This could be the worst disaster since the Titanic.
Mind you, his next production of HMS Pinafore will be ON the Titanic.
What did he mean, "There's nothing pretty in a Howard Woodham production?"
I don't know. But you'd be in with a chance.
Why are you still here?
I'm waiting to have a word with someone.
-Are you auditioning?
No, no, no. I'm just here to support my colleague.
-How are you feeling?
-I don't know.
It's weird to find I'm still breathing.
My feet still move, even though there's nowhere I want to go.
-You are going to audition, though?
-What's the point?
So am I forgiven?
Well, it's hard to be too angry with a mouth full of this.
-It is good, isn't it?
-Here, let me have one of those.
Was that an "ooh" or a...?
-Sounds like a plan.
OK. They have two types of Chianti.
We could have some more of this one, or...
how about a bit of the other?
Sorry, I can't believe I just said that.
# The flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la
# Breathe promise of merry sunshine
# As we merrily dance and we sing, tra la
# We welcome the hope that they bring, tra la
# Of a summer of roses and wine Of a summer of roses and wine
# And that's what we mean when we say that a thing
# Is welcome as flowers that bloom in the spring
# Tra la la la la... #
Cut! Cut, cut.
There's two things that I'm not getting. I'm not getting sex...
and I'm not getting death.
Now, Nanki-Poo is a man facing execution.
This song is the primal scream of a man on the brink of oblivion.
Can you do that?
I didn't think so.
Let's try an exercise.
-Take your shirt off.
Excuse me! It's a bit Neanderthal to assume you have to pay.
OK. It's your turn next time.
-Maybe I'll take you up on that.
-So there is going to be a next time?
I've got to take this.
Now, that's good. Now...
You look so vulnerable. I want you to feel something for me.
I want you to feel a deep obsidian blackness pouring through your soul.
Can you do that?
-I think so.
Oh, I'd better get that.
This is Howard.
Marvellous, you're here.
No, no, you're at the wrong door.
Turn left, and carry on... It's a very bad signal.
-Turn left and carry on walking!
All right. All done?
Yes. I think we are.
What's the matter?
This thing you couldn't get out of.
It wouldn't be your marriage, would it?
OK, let me explain.
No, don't bother.
You...you couldn't help yourself, you've never done this before
and your marriage was over anyway.
It's not like that.
I don't want to know.
Ah, you're back with us. Can you follow my finger?
Can you untie him?
What idiot tied his hands together?
That would be me.
-It was an acting exercise.
-It was a what?
I wanted him to experience misery and fear.
-You wanted him to experience power, which I'm guessing is what you are all about.
-I refute that!
I wanted him to know what it feels to be a man on the edge of an abyss,
to have nothing to look forward to but death!
Do you think I don't know how it feels to lose everything?
To love someone, and to know you'll never have them because they've found someone else?
And actually, I might as well be dead,
because I've lost the one thing that made life worth living.
-Has he gone?
-That was a bit intense.
I've never seen him like that.
Um...if you don't mind me asking,
do you have any, you know, feelings for him?
David? Well, he's funny and sweet and kind.
But it's a long time since I've been with anyone.
Um...are you saying that you're single?
Right. And you two have never...?
Only on stage.
Sometimes I've thought... hang on, this is real,
but you don't cross that line, do you, because...
what if he's just acting?
Oh, believe me, he's not acting. He meant every word.
You need to let him know how you feel.
Letherbridge Life said they will come back another evening.
-At least we didn't end up with Letherbridge Death.
Honestly, I don't know how today could get any worse.
-Um...right. I was just wondering, could I do my song now?
The pianist has gone home.
Hit me, Hezza!
Now, I'm not looking for anything nice.
I want something raw...
I want something to make my eyes water.
# A wandering minstrel I
# A thing of shreds and patches
# Of ballads, songs and snatches
# And dreamy lullaby! #
KNOCK AT DOOR
Well...thanks for abandoning me(!)
Things are just a bit difficult.
Is it to do with me?
What did you mean about finding someone only they'd found someone else?
Well, you have. I heard you on the phone at work.
I was on the phone to my mum.
She wants me to stay over to keep an eye on Dad.
He's got Parkinson's.
Oh! That's wonderful!
I mean, not about your dad, obviously.
I get a bit fed up, actually. I'm always having to look after me dad.
Me mum never asks me sister, who's married, but...
-because I'm single...
I spent ten years looking after my mum.
Everyone thinks, oh, you can do it -
you're young, you're single.
And, before you know it, we'll be middle-aged and single.
Story of my life!
Look... do you fancy doing something...?
Something that doesn't involve singing, or putting on a costume?
-What do you mean, like, getting a life?
-I'd like that very much.
-Oh. That's great.
I don't think I've ever been out with you without a script.
..we'll just have to improvise.
Ooh! How did it go?
-I didn't get it.
He said my voice had a visceral quality but too much intensity.
-Oh, I'm sorry, Heston.
-I did get another part though.
-Mmm. That's great! Is there much singing in that?
Mainly standing around looking pompous.
Well, that'll be a challenge.
'I wish I'd told you, but you are such a wonderful person, you know,
'I knew as soon as I did, that it would be the end.
'And maybe we should end it... but my marriage is over.
'Look, I know it's wrong. But you have to admit,
'we really do go well tog...'
I hate you! Hate you!
A massage parlour?
Just open it.
Don't worry, your mummy does have an ounce of compassion somewhere!
He's not seeing prostitutes. Well, actually, he is... One.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd 2011
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Julia tries to help an actor who has been hiding behind the roles he plays to finally face up to his feelings. Elaine gets a wake-up call when she goes on a date with Harrison.