As you already know, Rachel was phenomenal. Anyone unaware it was her opening night could have been forgiven for thinking she had been in the role for months. I sat with hands clasped in silent prayer throughout 'No-one But You' willing Rachel to be perfect. And it obviously worked. Or maybe just maybe she would have been perfect anyway.
So a short account of my experience that day. I travelled from Belfast with my brother-in-law who knows absolutely nothing about Rachel, IDA or WWRY. He just fancied a couple of days in London and I'm very glad I brought him as I haven't been in the city since well, quite a few years shall we say. We flew into Stansted and travelled by train to Liverpool Street. I was immediately stumped by the underground system and those mysterious Oyster cards people were waving about. Fortunately my brother-in-law was clued in and in no time at all we were all aboard the sardine tin, sorry tube and en route to Tottenham Court Road to check out the theatre. We arrived outside at 9.10am a mere ten hours early. Still it was an ideal opportunity to plan the route to the stage door.
Following an extortionately expensive breakfast in Oxford Street, we headed off to see the sights -- Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street all that stuff. Having located our Travel Lodge in Southwark, we parted ways. I met up with three delightful members of the Buckley Brigade for lunch and a very relaxing afternoon while my brother-in-law met up with a friend elsewhere.
At 6pm we arrived at the Dominion to try to guess who everyone was. Several other BB members had arrived, as well as Chris and Jo. Jo had been lucky enough to snap up Chris's spare ticket that very day and was even luckier to be sitting front row circle with the two most famous bloggers in the theatre. Talking of famous bloggers, where the heck was Andy? The guy had my tickets so I was rather hoping he would show up.
Several people came over to chat. They turned out to be Rachel's family and had some very nice things to say about the blog. Shucks.
Rosie and Eleanor arrived. I recognised Rosie immediately as we have exchanged enough Facebook messages to crash the average hard-drive. But just as I was about to go over for a chat, some bloke asked if I was David. I concurred and shook his hand asking him who he was. 'I'm Andy.' Ooops. I blame beer.
Andy was of course a great guy and we got on really well the entire evening.
We all went inside and headed to the bar. Well they called it a bar -- it looked more like a hole in a wall to me. But then they probably haven't been to Belfast where bars are done properly. Karen arrived with her hubby Richard, who turned out to be a really top guy with a great sense of humour. Team Tucker were understandably entranced to be in such close proximity to close friends of Rachel's and hung on their every word. Which is fair enough as I did too.
Then Jodie and Ashley wandered into the foyer. Several of us in TT had been wondering for weeks if any of the IDA girls would attend and if so who they might be. I honestly don't think anyone guessed correctly. Jodie was really down-to-earth and happy to chat and pose for photos with Rosie, Eleanor and Hannah amongst others.
Soon it was time for the performance and we found our seats. Being front row circle, we had a super view and the show started immediately. The first twenty minutes were entertaining but we needed something more. Then suddenly there was that classic Belfast accent wafting across the auditorium! Yes!!!! We were in the right place.
Rachel commanded the stage -- that's the only word for it. Her duet with Brit of 'I Want It All' was impressive but OMG -- 'No-One But You (Only The Good Die Young)' was something else. Far and away the highlight of the show, Rachel pulled this demanding number off effortlessly. I clapped till my hands were sore. Everything I had ever hoped for Rachel was encapsulated in that moment. Bliss.
The interval was welcome as someone had drunk a little too much. So after the joy of the queue for the loo (more toilets in the Dominion please thank you) I rejoined a stunned TT in the foyer. Karen looked close to tears. Everyone was just raving about Rachel.
Second half and there just wasn't enough Rachel. It was a great show and a lot of fun with super music, but we wanted more Rachel and we wanted it now. Every time she took the stage it was like she owned the place. Talk about a vocation. I've now seen Rachel perform six times in five different productions and every time she has exceeded my already huge expectations. Sorry I'm raving again. If you're a fan of Rachel you NEED to see WWRY. Several times.
Following the final curtain, we made our way out to the foyer and Andy and I met Rachel's sister Margaret and Aunt Susan. They were both just lovely and so appreciative of our efforts for Rachel. We had some photos taken and then a photo op with TT and Karen outside.
At this point Karen & Richard headed off to Rachel's family's hotel and the rest of us went to the stage door which I had checked out that morning. There were quite a few waiting, including Jodie & Ashley who once again posed for photos, including one with that lucky dog Chris Hawley. Nice one!
After a few false alarms, the stage door opened and there was Rachel with Guy -- a bloke who looked fit to burst with pride. Poor Rachel must have got a 'quer gunk' as we say in Belfast to be greeted by dozens of camera and a huge cheer. Bless her she had the patience of a saint, posing for photos (in some cases a second time -- you know who you are Rosie and Andy lol), signing autographs and chatting away. As always she couldn't have been nicer and finally left with Guy to meet her family and friends. TT parted ways and my brother-in-law confessed to being impressed with her performance, probably the ultimate accolade.
The next day we did more of the London thing -- I had to be abandoned in a cafe due to my legs ceasing to work -- hey Karen DID say London was tiring and she wasn't joking. I was also propositioned by a lady of the night during the day which was interesting but I politely declined. All part of the London experience I'm sure.
Back at the airport, we met Rachel's family in the departure lounge and as before they were just lovely people, rounding off an absolutely fabulous two days.
Before the flight I checked out the blog and was delighted with Rosie's and Karen's reviews, not to mention the ITN interview and stage footage.
So a few words for Team Tucker. I met so many people who I'd only previously corresponded with by email or Facebook, including of course Andy himself! You were ALL brilliant and so great to meet you all at last. Inevitably with so many people, I wasn't able to talk to everyone as much as I might have liked. But I do have some news about a possible second TT night VERY SOON. Let's just use one word -- Scaramouche -- and I'll let you work it out.
I was absolutely delighted that everyone got to meet Rachel at the stage door.
I also want to say a special thank you to Rachel's family who were incredibly nice to me. It's very easy to see where Rachel gets her lovely nature from.
If you have photos or memories of the night you'd like to share, please let us know.