The Crown

The Crown
Hansard, from 22 August at the National Theatre!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Alex!


Anonymous said...

Hello and thank you for this site! I went to see AJ on 10th May at the Duchess and met him afterwards, would you like a report?
He is totally unbelievable:)

jolande said...

We'd love a report!

Anonymous said...

Here you go!
= How I met Alex Jennings and didn't faint = PART1

Well, I was in London on holidays and went to see Alex Jennings in Alan Bennett's "Untold Stories". I'm a great fan of AB and I love Alex, so it was a perfect combination. 10th May was also AJ's birthday, so I brought him a postcard from St Petersburg, Russia (it's where I'm from). I also wanted to buy him flowers, but it's a bugger to find them in Covent Garden (!), so I ran around a lot and finally found a bunch of decently looking tulips in M&S (a bit cheap I know, but it was the only place!). I was almost late for the theatre because of that, but was rather pleased to find the bloody flowers.
I've seen "Hymn" already at the National, so no surprises there, but "Cocktail Sticks" (2nd act) was very good, sad and funny as a lot of AB's work is. I was lucky to be in row B, so I have seen all the little things Alex do with his face (and he does AB perfectly, body language and all. I have reservations about the voice, but all the physical stuff is top notch!). Great to watch and I wanted it to last forever.
But as all good things, this one came to an end too and I came out onto the dark street determined to wait and give him flowers and my card. I wasn't alone: two little old ladies stood there already. We didn't have to wait for long, the actors started coming out one by one (I saw Jeff Rawle, who played "Dad" and really wanted to speak to him, but I was a bit nervous waiting for AJ, so I couldn't really think about anything else).
Finally it was a rattle of the stage door, old ladies started making little excited movements and there he was - tall, blond (funny colour!), scarfed, warm and immensely attractive. He obviously knows those little old ladies, as he started talking to them straight away. He told him they were having cake and champange inside, because of his birthday. I stood behind thу old ladies speechless, listening to his wonderful voice. They gave him a present and a card and he thanked them million times in million loveliest ways and kissed them both on the cheeks! Then he asked how they liked the performance tonight. "Five stars!" - I said loudly, and he finally notices me and says hello. We started talking together. He showed us new shoes his children bought him. We talked about Alan Bennett and his recent interview on BBC4. Alex asked did we know it was AB's birthday yesterday and I said yes, I know, I gave him flowers yesterday (which is true). Then I said - "Let's talk about you a bit more, it's your birthday, not Alan's". He was a bit embarrased/confused by that, he obviously doesn't like to talk about himself much. But I gave him flowers (which I was holding behind my back) and my card and said it was from St Petersburg. He was surprised, well, he would be, wouldn't he? Not every day you get visited by fans from Russia (I probably the only fan here). He
told me he was going to do My Fair Lady in St P in 2011, but then they did it with Russian cast. Now he's doing it in Paris soon.
I asked him if I can get a kiss on the cheek as well and he said of course and kissed me and it was the most wonderful sensation! I tell him to come to St P and he says "I'd love to!".

Anonymous said...

= How I met Alex Jennings and didn't faint= PART2

I could talk to him forever, but it wouldn't be polite, so we let him go thanking him and he thanking us back. He went in the direction of Aldwich, clutching my flowers, and disappeared in the dark. Chilly London night suddenly seemed very warm.
Then we talked a bit with old ladies (I got the impression they follow him around a lot! Real fan club!) but not really about anything much and then I remembered that I forgot to ask him to sign my programme! It was upsetting, because when you come from so far away you really want to get as much as you can, but I was totally lost in those eyes and voice, I forgot almost everything.
I even forgot to thank him for recording the audiobook of "The Truth" by Michael Palin (probably my favourite person on this planet and an ultimate hero). I forgot to tell him how much I enjoyed watching the recording of "The Habit Of Art" at the NT Archive earlier that day. I forgot to tell him he's got the most attractive voice.
But at least I didn't make a fool of myself! And he is unbelievably wonderful and humble and charming and totaly gorgeous and doesn't look 56 at all.
He seems to me an introverted person, not really at ease with people he doesn't know, but he doesn't show it one bit. He's got a natural warmth about him, but detachment as well. It's hard to explain, but it is very English I think.
I agonised about not getting an autograph all evening and decided to go the next day (it
was lickily a Saturday so there was a matinee). And it was a fantastic coincidence that I decided to go before the matinee and we bumped into each other at the stage door at exactly 2 o'clock! It was such a luck! I didn't want to delay him going into the theatre he had to prepare for the show after all) so I just said that in all the excitement yesterday I forgot the autograph, he asked for my name, signed "to Kate best wishes,Alex Jennings", I kissed him (could't resist, he was startled a bit but laughed:), he wished me a nice day and went inside.
Mission complete. Gestalt closed. Phew!
I've met quite a number of English actors, they were all nice and friendly and charming, but this one is exceptional. I knew I would enjoy meeting him, but I didn't know I would enjoy it THAT much.
I will definitely come to see him again. One day.
And it's so great to know that he's got my card.


(Sorry for my clumsy English, it's not as good as I want it to be, but hopefully you get the picture of what's happened:)

Flowers and programme:

Also, thank you SO MUCH for this blog! The only AJ blog on the planet:)
Best wishes,
St P, Russia

jolande said...

Thank you for your story, Kate, that is lovely!

pennyforyourdreams said...

That's a great story Kate! So glad you got to meet him.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you liked it, ladies. Sorry it is a bit fangirlish, but he provokes that by being so wonderful.