Our very own Richard Hannay, Hugh Raine gives us an account of his moustache during our most recent main house production, The 39 Steps.
6pm – Just had my first full shave since Sweet Charity. That is, it would be a full shave had I not left a little bit on my top lip to play Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps. I convince myself it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to look…
9pm – Kat Arkless has voiced concerns that the make-up used to darken my moustache is wiping off onto her face in our romantic scenes. A quick look at Roger’s photographs (who was in tonight, snapping) puts her mind at ease. I take my moustache backstage where it can’t upset anybody else.
10:30pm – I take my moustache to the pub where we enjoy a glass of water together. I introduce my moustache to my wife, which is sensible since they will be living under the same roof/nose for the next two weeks.
My first full day with a moustache.
8:45am – I take my moustache to work. I dare not look anyone in the eye on my journey there.
5:30pm – I leave work after heroically staying behind for an hour, relieved that only one person asked me about my moustache all day. Realise that means everyone else thinks I grew it because I think it’s a good look. Since it’s raining, I can hide under my umbrella but I’m so distracted thinking about my moustache that I keep the brolly open for a full eleven seconds inside Asda. Get a funny look from a bloke. Don’t know if it’s the umbrella thing or my moustache… Or both.
2:53pm – Have to take my moustache into one of the other studios at work in order to pay the Christmas bash deposit. My moustache suffers much scrutiny from the girls as I stand in the middle of the room. Leave with a bright red face, moustache twitching. I hear a distant ‘good luck!’ I wonder if she means for the play or with the moustache.
8:52am – Received a prolonged look from a man in Asda as I bought my Asda pasta (or “pasda”). On closer inspection, I notice he has on his face the exact same pencil moustache as me. I lower my head again, immediately. Makes me wonder if there are many pencil moustaches out there already and I just hadn’t noticed them before.
10:25am – On the way to the vending machine for a KitKat Dark I see a colleague I’d rather not speak to. In anticipation of another tedious conversation about my moustache, I veer off down a different corridor. Realise this is like some sort of crap Pac Man (or “Pap Man”).
10:35pm – Opening night for The 39 Steps! It went pretty well and comments of, ‘I think we got away with it’, were emanating from the lighting box from either director Brooky or lighting Steve, but probably both. Take my moustache for a ginger ale at The Bath Hotel where someone tells me I look French. In french, moustache is “le moustache”.
9:55pm – Had a particularly enjoyable show tonight. Audience was great. To celebrate, I treated my moustache to its first pint (I don’t usually drink a drop during a run to keep a clear head but my moustache has Sunday off in which to recover). It liked it so much it had six more throughout the night.
11:50pm – Pizzas at the theatre finished, I take my moustache to my local where a lad tells me – while staring at my upper lip, agog – that my moustache is the best he’s ever seen. I wonder how many he’s seen?
8:45am – On the walk to work, a lad shouts, ‘TASH!’ at me. I think about marching back and having it out but realise there’s literally no comeback to that.
9:08am – Trendy girl at work enquires, ‘did you just fancy a change, then?’ I explain for the ninth time that I’m in a play but when she asks for the title, I’m pretty sure she’s never even heard of it.
9:47am – Go to the printer for a printout of some artwork with a big moustache on it. Hide it on the way back to the studio in case anyone thinks I’m just obsessed.
12:59pm – Decided to start embracing the moustache and proudly hold my philtrum aloft as I go about my daily business, including fish ‘n’ chips in the canteen.
10pm – Closing night. Best audience by far (Jackie Fletcher and Vicky Glover providing the most guffaws). Was saying to Ben Telford last night that you don’t feel like you’ll miss a show so much when there are no tender moments in the script, but after a few moments, the realisation that the costume and the tash won’t get another outing makes me begin to lament…
But I have learned to embrace my moustache. Gone are my anxieties. I am proud to wear this pencil-thin symbol of English stoicism and gentlemanliness. Chivalry, courteousness, honour! These are the ways of the moustache! Long live this symbol of hairy-lipped valour… And long live The 39 Steps!
10:01pm – Shave it off.