Monday, January 23, 2012

Louise Dearman - Up Close

Louise played the role of Glinda in the London production of Wicked until December last year for those who don't recognise the name. She did a series of small solo gigs in the autumn but she was ill for one of the dates (the one I had a ticket for) so it had been rescheduled for 21st January. I am aware that for those hardcore Louise Dearman fans this account of the events may feel very general so apologies in advance. I saw Louise perform in Wicked once and only met her very briefly in October before this gig. Perhaps you enjoy reading about the rise of a new Dearman fan.
(Please note: Quotes are from memory so they are approximate. Just to give the people who did not have the chance to attend an idea of what was going on :) )

I don't usually go to gigs so I was quite proud that I was actually going to one (where it was not a friend performing or something) out of my own initiative. My friend could not make the rescheduled date so I ended up going on my own. I was not too worried though. I had survived Mark Evans's album launch party just going there and chatting to people. Everyone would be in the same boat in the sense that they all will have come to see Louise perform. Everyone would be there to support her together. 

When I arrived I recognised some people from Twitter and couple of others from Mark's album launch. I debated for a long while as to whether I should go and talk to them or not but I decided against it. I was not brave enough. The Alleycat Bar and Club where the gig took place was a small one close to Tottenham Court Road tube station and there were not seats for everyone. I got a drink at the bar in order to get more time to decide where I would position myself and glanced around. I could see some of the key members of 'Team Dearman' right by the small stage. As Louise later pointed out: "These guys have been waiting outside from one in the afternoon. That's why they are at the front." I seriously did not doubt that. Commitment!

I retreated towards the back of the small space, sipping my coke, and ended up standing around awkwardly by the door, keeping an eye out for any spare seats. A girl with dark brown, curly hair walked past me looking around. She and I clearly shared the same mission. We started going on about how there really should be enough seats to bring out. She had also come on her own. We ended up chatting for the duration of the interval and after the gig. She happened to be Dutch so we talked endlessly about the Dutch Wicked. We were joined by a guy with bleach blonde hair whose favourite musical ever was Cats (I didn't find out the name of either of these people). They both had seen Louise as Glinda of course. As had just about every other person present.

A perfect-sized guy was standing in front of me: the top of his shoulder was level with my chin leaving me an excellent view of the stage. We began applauding for Louise to come on stage and I peered to the right of the stage expecting her to make an entrance. I felt someone take hold of my arms from behind and shift me gently to the left. I looked around, confused, and realised it had been Louise who had dashed past me having entered from the back instead.

She was incredible. I had originally fallen in love with her voice listening to her album but that was nothing compared to hearing her sing live. There is this extraordinary power in her voice that one does not exactly expect to come out of a small woman like her. It is also not a distinctly musical theatre kind of voice (even though she easily pulls that off as well) but very suitable for popular music styles. She sang Katy Perry, Rihanna, Adele, Justin Timberlake (Louise quote: "Well, I love Justin Timberlake. He sings very high. I can sing his songs in his key! I think that's impressive. Don't you?")...
I cannot even describe how much I wanted to start a proper rave but most people were sitting down so that would have been a little awkward. Louise expressed her astonishment at the fairly quiet audience. There was cheering and applause of course but not to an explosive extent.

When Louise finished for the interval, she made her way through the audience again and greeted me and the Dutch girl exactly as if she had remembered us from before. It made me smile even though I knew that it was simply not possible. She was the sweetest thing. Suddenly I could understand perfectly well why she had a group of loyal fans who went around following her. Louise did not only recognise her fans but she gave something back to them. Instead of acting like she was miles above them, she was with them.

Afterwards, Louise was kind enough to sign album covers for both me and my Finnish friend Saskia.

She is currently working on a second album which is due to be released in May and she is planning on having an album launch party (which I will make a massive effort to attend because it is promising to be epic...).

I have to give a mention to Louise's hilarious between-songs babbles. She had a box ("This is my box. [...] Even if this is an 18 event, I am not having anything inappropriate.") with her on stage. The audience had been given the opportunity to write some questions for her beforehand to put in there. She picked out and answered some of them:

Q: What question would you most like to ask your fans?
A: Where do you get all the money from?!

Q: What is your most embarrassing childhood memory?
A: Hmm... that's hard... I have a really disgusting one... please put the cameras away...
That eventually lead to Louise telling us stories about her and her friend skating down the road playing Starlight Express and fighting over who got to be Pearl and about her always being third in BMX racing - out of three girls.

Q: How many sugars do you have in your tea?
A: I have one sweetener. Unless I'm having a particularly naughty day. Then I'll have one sugar. Because you can't drink tea without sugar. And you definitely can't drink coffee without sugar...

*Louise unfolds one of the questions*: "I'm NOT answering that! We'll talk later. You know who you are!"
Cont. after the interval: "I showed the question everyone in my dressing room. They laughed. They said I should've answered it." (I am still in the dark as to what the question was.)

Other jewels:
"I'm coming out!"
"I mean, Louise, seriously. Stop talking! I think the band just needs to start playing because otherwise I will never shut up..."
*talks for a long time* "I am making an absolute tit of myself here."

Finally, a sample song by Louise (from a gig last year):

Summary: I had an absolutely brilliant time, Louise was amazing, I am hoping to meet some more of the Team Dearman people in the future and I cannot wait to see Louise perform again. 

1 comment:

  1. I love this!! Last night was amazing!! Glad you had a good time hun Xx