Baby, everything is alright, uptight, out of sight.

The immortal words of Stevie Wonder’s Uptight, a number featured in the smash hit musical The Commitments, would actually go some way to describing my West End stage debut.

Trust me, I never thought I would be saying that but I was offered the opportunity to take on the challenging role of ‘pub punter’ in The Commitments at the Palace Theatre.

I say challenging but to anyone with even a drop of acting nous, I am sure it would be a walk in the park – for me, the only total novice on stage, it was a little more taxing.

Saturday night, a sold out theatre and the stage was set – fight or flight, hero or zero, a career in theatre or a career in journalism, these questions were all about to be decided.

Waiting in the wings, ready to enter stage right, I considered if this was the start of something great – were doors about to be flung open for me left, right and centre?

I arrived at the theatre in good time, met Ashley from the PR agency who set this bizarre experience up for me, and was introduced to Duncan from wardrobe.

Duncan took it upon himself to style me so that I would fit in to 1980s Dublin without raising any eyebrows.

I was given bleached denim jeans, a baggy shirt and, in all fairness, a none-too-shabby beige bomber jacket before being told my hair was just right – no need for a silly wig, phew.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Richmond and Twickenham Times reporter Tom Ambrose prepares for his debut

My part simply involved walking on and throwing a few darts in the pub scene. Easy enough, right?

So I had a little practice with the arrows and was told, in quite vague detail, where to stand and what to do.

I was told to follow the charming (and obviously, very patient) Hollie O’Donoghue out on to the stage and I would be invited to take part in a game of darts.

So came the big moment, career defining some may call it.

I was sat backstage with my fellow actors before the curtain came up and the opening chords of The Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On began reverberating around the old theatre.

One thing I learned, if nothing else, was that stage actors have a filthy, wicked sense of humour but that was possibly what I needed to get into my 1980s Dublin ‘pub punter’ role.

A few songs in and I get the call to go on.

I weave in and out, up and down, around the theatre and there I am, on the edge of the stage and before I know it Hollie is talking me through it and wishing me luck.

She strolls on, I follow her and there I am, in the middle of a West End stage. What sort of maniac allowed this to happen?

The set was shifting while I staggered around trying not to bump into anyone and before I knew it, there I was, playing round the clock, just like any other Saturday night pub punter.

I was not warned that halfway through the scene, a bloke would playing his saxophone and the darts game would stop while we all look on in admiration – I like to think my subtle improvisation might lead to me playing darts in the Rovers Return or the Woolpack.

And then it was over, I clumsily followed Hollie off stage and that was the end of my theatre debut, my ten minutes of fame, my crowning glory.

In all seriousness, it was a great musical to be part of and, as I discovered from the stalls for the rest of it, is full of great soul tune after great soul tune.

It was an experience I will not forget in a hurry and it is arguably one better than my colleague George appearing in Spamalot at Richmond Theatre – sorry, mate – but I think I will stick with journalism for the time being.

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