All great comedies start with a hundred-mile detour for a whortleberry cream tea.
At least, there is no clear evidence that Oscar Wilde didn’t start writing The Importance of Being Earnest after a hundred-mile detour for a whortleberry cream tea. Is there?
Propitious omens indeed for Beth and I as we tuck into a jammy scone on Exmoor before we tuck into the writing of a proper, full-length stage show edition of Foiled, our immortal comedy, set in a Welsh hair salon.
Foiled, incredibly, is entering its second decade. There are some who would bandy around such equine idioms as ‘flogging a dead horse’ and ‘one trick ponies’ to describe mine and Beth’s continued relationship with Sabrina, Tanisha, Richie and the hapless clients of Bleach For The Stars.
But the reality is that, even after two plays and four radio serieses, there are still over 7.9 billion people yet to be balayaged by the staffs of Clipadvisor’s highest ranked salon and spa (thanks, dad).
And even those who already have seen, heard and/or enjoyed Foiled, miraculously, come back for more.
So give the people what they want!
That hundred-mile detour ended me up in Cardiff: the first time since 2017 that Beth and I have lived in the same city.
Last night I ate non-fish and chips at her clifftop manor, before jumping on the bike and whooshing down the hill to a rented room in Splott. Even when we did both live in London, with its galactic dimensions expanding into infinity, we couldn’t really do things like that.
I’ll be here for a whole month, osmosising the rhythms and dithums of Wales and photosynthesising them into words on the pages of a script.
By the end of October, we’ll have… more than we have today. The idea is to set the play on its feet sometime late next year, an immersive theatrical experience in a found space with barebrick walls, full length mirrors, running water and live bottles of bleach.
First we must breathe life into its bones and reanimate the salon with an incantation of words.
We have stockpiled hundreds of pages of Foiled scripts from the last decade so, tonight, we’re gathering around the kitchen table to read our Collected Works.
We’ll mark pages and make notes, then steal our own best jokes before weaving together the strands of the story that will become Foiled 2022.
And we’ll never forget that it all started with a hundred-mile detour for a whortleberry cream tea.