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I just had the weirdest dream.
There was a group of us in a recording studio doing a Live broadcast of a radio play. For some reason I was playing the role of James Robertson-Justice, playing a character and I was floundering badly with a very long speech. My accent wavered horribly in-and-out, so badly as to be totally obvious. So badly that at one point i could feel I had no faith or support from my fellow artistes.
I had been preceded in the dialogue by an actress equally unable to do a passable facsimile of two famous female voices.
It was just the two of us ‘doing voices’ in this straight drama, but the whole thing was careering badly all over the place. Eventually, less than 30 minutes into this live 2hr broadcast I stopped midway through this unviable dialogue, saying “it’s no good, I can’t do this” bringing the whole production to a violent halt with no support from the wholly absent Producer. I could picture a tiny swathe of listeners across the land boggling at this sudden jolting halt as I continued voicing the ridiculousness of even attempting a 2hr live broadcast with Voices. What were my employers Thinking?!!
I’d never even stated I could do a James Robertson-Justice voice. Sure, I could, but only a few brief sentences, this thing was paragraphs of difficult hard-to-say dialogue. I was uncomfortably aware that in order to avoid a monotone that I would need to use inflection of my voice and this was what was dragging me out of the accent despite my attempts to remain there.
As the play ended horribly I was being harangued by another castmember, Harry Enfield, who too was ‘doing a voice’, but just the one and not of anybody recogniseable. He had it easy. He was known for his ability to do people, having had years on Spitting Image as well as playing many unique voices throughout his television career.
He refused to admit that it was an impossibly difficult bit of wordage despite me challenging him to try it himself. It was obvious he knew I was right but he was not going to admit it!
My fellow castmembers were individually arguing loudly (not as a group rounding on one member) and eventually after a protracted shouting match… I woke up.